16 May 2022

Poster sessions for your course

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When I was on the Lecture Breakers podcast (episode 121), I talked to Barbi Honeycutt about how to use posters in a higher education  I wanted to follow up and talk a little more about how to pull together a poster session for a course.

Like a successful course, a successful poster session does require a little planning in advance.

Pick a place

Key to a good poster session is where you hold the session. There are few options.


There may be enough space to hang posters within a classroom if it is small. The main advantage of trying to have a poster session in your regular classroom is that you already have a space. You don’t have to ask anyone else to use it.

Another advantage is that of having it the classroom is that you may be able to display posters on blackboards or whiteboards, which are less likely to be damaged by having posters attached.


Compared to a classroom, moving a course poster session into a hallway means you get:more space and more visibility. Visibility in particular is helpful because one of the main reasons to do a poster session is that the work can be shared more readily.

Potential drawbacks are that hallways on campuses attract all kinds of fliers and ads and posts from students, organizations, and other faculty, so there may not be enough clear space for course posters.

Another issue is how to display the posters. If the wall is painted, tacks or adhesives could damage the paint and not endear you to physical plant. You might be able to procure some poster boards from the campus physical plant or some administrative office, but if you’re going to do that, you might want to pack up and move...


Poster session going on in university atrium
There may be some big open space on campus. There might be an atrium in your building, a campus ballroom or meeting space for events, or even a basketball court. 

You would need to plan ahead.for this option, because large rooms like this tend to get booked quite far in advance. Plus, as mentioned above, you would probably need to get someone to bring poster boards. 

Some campuses may not have poster boards, but some might have easels.

If your campus has neither, you might be able to make a case to buy some as teaching supplies. Because these could be used for so many purposes, you might be able to make a good justification to a college Dean’s office or university event planning, not just your department.


You can have a course poster session that is seen only by the instructors and students in the class, but this seems like such a waste of an opportunity for students to get more feedback.

If you are holding your poster session in a hallway, you automatically have some visibility. Some people, both students and faculty, might stop and chat just out of curiosity. 

Email colleagues in your department. Invite them to come and ask students questions. You might want to be selective about asking faculty colleagues, though. You might want to ask people whose research interests are closest to the class. You might want to ask people you are friendly with that you can count on to ask not to rip through students.

Give students explicit permission to invite their friends.

Some campuses may have a campus wide email blast about daily events. Ask them to put your poster session in for a couple of days before you hold it.

And you can use the graphic design skills you used for full sized posters to make fliers before the event!


No campus event for students is complete without free food!

And don’t skimp on munchies! Trust me, I speak from experience.

At one class poster session, a colleague of mine had brought boxes of donut holes. I was interested (because hey, poster session) and showed up with a couple of boxes of full donuts.

In mere minutes, the donut holes had been hardly touched, but all the donuts were gone.

Do you have more tips for a course poster session? Encountered more pitfalls? I’d love to hear about any experiences you have holding a class poster session!

Related posts

External links 

Atrium picture from University of Rochester website.

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