Frequently Asked Questions

Can anybody attend UDLS?

Yes! While the core audience is UBC CS graduate students, students, staff and faculty from all departments are welcome to attend. If you do not have access to the X836 boardroom, just ask someone or knock on the door.

Can anybody just sign up to give a UDLS talk?

Yes and no. It is no coincidence that the schedule sheet is public and that signing up is as simple as putting your name into the list. We encourage all UBC graduate students from any departments to sign up, no need to have a long-running UDLS experience or to ask anybody for permission.

If this description is not matching you, for example because you're not a graduate student or from a different university, you should contact the UDLS organizer first.

Can multiple people give a joint UDLS talk?

Yes. We had talks done by at least two persons multiple times in the past and they worked nicely. Make sure that you find a fitting and natural way to split your time and content however. This is not a group presentation assignment.

What type of topic makes a good UDLS talk?

Anything that you are passionate about or that you have some extended knowledge about makes a great talk. Great recent talks featured topics as mundane as Screws, as exotic as Pinball, or even very personal ones like Stories from Volunteering at the Olympics.

There is an unwritten rule not to give talks about your own research. That being said, if you think that your research has an interesting or unexpected facet that a general audience would appreciate and that you would never be able to talk about in a different setting, feel free to try it out!

What if my favourite topic (or a very similar one) has already been done in the past?

Just talk about it again! Naturally, there are only so many hobbies and interests to talk about, and many students tend to be passionate about similar things. But even if someone has already talked about the same topic as you would like to, everyone has a different take on things. Also remember that the list goes back over 10 years, so especially older talks were done in a time that even the most established students in the departments wouldn't have witnessed.

What's the expected length/format of a UDLS talk?

Ideally, UDLS talks should be somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes long. In practice we had both shorter and longer talks, and as long as a talk is interesting, it is unlikely that anyone will take away your metaphorical mic.

Most UDLS talks are slide-based since we have a projector available in the boardroom. However, we had multiple free-form talks in the past, including interactive ones, so feel free to experiment. If you need special equipment that you cannot bring yourself, please contact the UDLS organizer in advance and we'll see what we can do.

I'm not sure if I can commit to a certain date in advance. What if I need to cancel/move my UDLS after signing up?

While we expect a minimum level of commitment when putting your name on the UDLS schedule, we know that plans can change and that grad student life can be hard to predict sometimes. If you find our that you have to change/cancel your talk, please do so as soon as possible by updating the schedule and potentially moving to another free spot.