Interactive Q&A sessions can be created in Backstage to encourage app user interaction during sessions and raise discussion points.
Questions are posted by the app users before or during a session, and then addressed live by a speaker during the session, while being broadcasted on a large screen for all attendees to see. The questions received from the app users can be moderated and approved prior to being passed on to the speaker.
Install the Q&A module free from the Marketplace in order to start configuring it in your workspaces in Backstage.
Once installed and configured on your workspace, app users will have direct access to a Q&A section in the app menu, where any Q&A sessions will be listed.
Up to four parties/roles can be involved in an interactive Q&A session. These roles would typically intervene in the following order:
- App users: They are the session attendees asking the questions via the app.
- A moderator: This person receives the questions, reviews/moderates them, then potentially passes them on to the chair person to be addressed during the session.
- A chair person: This person is often the speaker, and actually addresses the question live during the session.
- An AV specialist: This person manages the live view, or large screen, by broadcasting the questions to the large screen as the chair person addresses them.
Below, we'll go through the basic steps of a Q&A session that uses a moderator, a chair person, and an AV specialist.
Note: Other set-ups can be used for a Q&A session, depending on the needs. More information on this is available in the Alternatives for smaller Q&A sessions section below.
How does a Q&A session work?
1 - The app user
When the Q&A session begins, the app user accesses it via the app, either through the Q&A module in the app menu, or an agenda session with a linked Q&A session (as seen below):
When entering their questions, app users can toggle a button to choose to remain anonymous if they want to.
When the app user taps Send, their question is sent on to the Q&A moderator.
2 - The moderator
The moderator, having accessed the moderator view through their previously configured device, receives the question from the app user. Moderators will see all new questions arrive in the New tab:
By selecting the received question, the moderator can take one of the following actions:
- Mark for discussion: This passes on the question to the chairperson, in view of it being discussed live.
- Mark as discussed: If the topic has already been discussed during the session or if the question has already been asked (the question will not be passed on to be discussed by the speaker).
- Archive, moves the question to the archives (the question will not be discussed by the speaker).
The moderator can also edit the question, if needed, before taking on of the above actions, by selecting the pencil icon:
Questions that are Marked for discussion by the moderator will now appear in the For Discussion tab, and will become visible to the chair person.
3 - The chair person
The chair person, having accessed the chair person view through their previously configured device, receives the questions that have been passed on (marked as For discussion) by the moderator:
They can now address the question live during the session, and once it has been addressed they can select it and mark it as Discussed:
Note: At any time, the moderator or the chairperson can select questions and change their status to New to For Discussion, to Live, to Discussed, or to Archived.
4 - The AV specialist
While the moderator is busy moderating new questions received from the app users, and the chair person is addressing the questions that have been passed on by the moderator, a third person will potentially need to broadcast the questions on the live screen.
To do so, this person (referred to here as the AV specialist) will need access to the Moderator view and to the Live view of the Q&A session.
- In the Moderator view, they can select the questions marked as For Discussion and then select Go live:
This will move the questions to the live screen, however they will not be visible yet on the live screen.
- In the Live view, the question will still need to approved, using the Approve button in the top right corner:
This will then display the question on the big screen itself:
Alternatives for smaller Q&A sessions
For smaller Q&A sessions, with less participants or a lower volume of questions, having a moderator and a chair person, as well an AV specialist, may not be entirely necessary.
It is possible to configure a Q&A session so that it requires only two people set up as moderators:
- One person who does the actual moderation of questions.
- Another person (the speaker) who addresses the questions and broadcasts them on the live view/large screen.
In this case, the speaker would access the moderator view in order to and receive the questions, broadcast them, and then answer them.
Note: A chair person does not have the moderator access required to publish questions to the live screen.
How is a Q&A session configured?
Once you have installed the Q&A module, go to the Live category in the workspace menu, and select Q&A.
There are two things that need to be set-up to create a Q&A session:
- The interactive (Q&A) session.
- The moderator and/or chair person permalink(s)
1. Creating the interactive session
Select the Interactive sessions tab, and then click on New interactive session.
Follow the below steps to create the interactive session and configure Q&A:
Title & Subtitle
Enter a title and a subtitle for the Q&A session title. This will determine what is visible to the app users on the session page, for example:
Enter a description for the Q&A session. This will only be visible in Backstage and will help you distinguish this session from any others you create.
Starts at / Ends at
Enter a start and end time and date. These will determine when the Q&A session will begin and start, and when app users will be able to start asking their questions.
Show in app
Select whether you wish the interactive session to be visible in the app Q&A module or not.
Show live header
Select this to display a live header (below) in the live screen.
Enter the text to be displayed as the header on the Live screen. In the example above, this corresponds to the "QUESTION" text.
Select Q&A. Word cloud and Voting session are used for other types of interactive sessions.
This is not used for Q&A, it is only used for the Voting live sessions.
Click Save to finish creating the Q&A session. The interactive session now appears in the list in the Interactive sessions tab
2. Moderator / Chair person / Live view
Now that the Q&A session is created, the next step in the configuration is to ensure that the moderator(s) and chair person(s), and also the person managing the large screen (AV specialist), can access the Q&A session.
Please note that if your workspace is running on Wi-Fi, then you'll need to create permalinks for this. More information on this is available below in the Accessing the Q&A through permalinks section.
If your event is on a local network, you do not need to create permalinks, and can use the Launch buttons in the Interactive session. More information on this is available in the Accessing the Q&A through Backstage section.
Accessing the Q&A through Backstage
Backstage provides buttons in the interactive session, that can be used to directly access the Moderator view, Chair person view, and the Live view.
If the moderator / chair person / AV specialist has access to Backstage, they can directly use these buttons to access and control the Q&A session, as explained in the How does a Q&A session work section above.
If the moderator / chair person / AV specialist does not have access to Backstage, you can create permalinks and share them.
Accessing the Q&A through permalinks
Permalinks can be created in Backstage and shared with the moderator / chairperson / AV specialist to give them access to the Q&A session directly via their device browser.
Go to the Permalinks tab and click on New permalink:
Setting up the moderator's permalink:
- Enter the name of the permalink, for example: Q&A moderator.
- In Live header, enter the text to be displayed as the live header (only visible to the moderator).
- In the Question cluster to display field, select New (this means that questions from app user will go straight to the New tab in the Moderator view).
- Ignore the Force live mode / Hide header / Project resolution options.
- In the Interactive session, select the previously created interactive session in the dropdown list.
- Select the Theme. You can create a new theme here using the default one and by adding a name to it, and then saving it.
- Click on Save to finish creating the permalink.
If needed, you can repeat the above steps now to create the permalink for the chair person, the only difference is that you would enter the name of the permalink as "Q&A chair" instead of "Q&A moderator".
Once the permalinks are created, you can see them listed in the Permalinks tab:
Here, you can now copy the URLs for the chair person or moderator Q&A accesses, and share them with people who do not have access to Backstage.
Note: If needed you can shorten the URLs by creating shortlinks.
3. Linking the Q&A to an agenda session (optional)
If needed, you can link an interactive Q&A session to a standard agenda session. To do so:
- Go to the Sessions module, and select the session you wish to link the Q&A session with.
- On the Session view page, select the Interactive session in the list:
App users will now be able to access the live Q&A session via the session page in the app.