EPD - Best Practices - Web Conferencing Best Practices
Conferencing Tips & Techniques for Attendees and Presenters
Web Conferencing Tips & Techniques for Everyone
1. Complete a system and web browser check at least 24-48 hours prior to the web conference.
This allows time to make any necessary changes (with the help of the IT department, if necessary).
For troubleshooting help, review the following resources depending on which web conferencing tool you'll be using:
- Blackboard Ultra (Primary web conferencing tool)
2. Participate from a location with a strong and stable internet connection.
Particularly when presenting, any dropped connections from the web conferencing system can be very disruptive to a meeting. Close all other applications on the computer that are not necessary for the presentation. This will help the software operate more efficiently, and will help to conserve the individual network bandwidth.
3. Participate from a quiet location.
To avoid disruption, post a note on your door, notify staff and/or family that you're in a web conference.
4. Be on-time.
It can take a while to get logged in and setup for a web conference, so plan to arrive a little early (~5 minutes prior to the conference start time).
5. If using VoIP for audio, use a headset with a microphone.
It provides better sound quality, and helps reduce background noise.
6. Mute your phone/microphone when not speaking.
Every noise that is made, including paper shuffling, pencil tapping, typing, coughing, and chatting with others, will be heard by everyone else in the conference.
7. Engage in the web conference.
Follow the expectations and etiquette established by the presenter. For example, the presenter may ask to be interrupted with questions or comments on audio at any time, raise hands, or post in the Chat.
8. Identify yourself by name when verbally asking a question or making a comment.
Additional Tips and Techniques for Presenters & Moderators
1. Remind participants how to access the web conference and perform a systems/browser check, and to enter the web conference early.2. Create a "Welcome" slide for the start of the conference and a "Thank You" slide for the end.
This will help signal the beginning and the end of the presentation. Include the course name on the Welcome slide.3. Prior to the conference start, upload any documents or slides to verify that they display correctly.4. Start the recording. This is a manual process. If you don't start the recording, there will not be an archive. Consider including a reminder within the start of your slides.
5. At the beginning of the conference, establish expectations and etiquette for the Participants to engage.
For example, should they interrupt with questions or comments at any time, hold them until an appointed time, or use the Chat?
6. Monitor the Participants panel.
The Participants panel provides the list of names, their status, audio, connectivity, and raised hands.
7. Monitor and Manage the Chat (backchannel).
The Chat tool provides an opportunity for real-time conversation at the same time as the primary presentation or activity. Often times, students will post in the Chat in order to share their thoughts and questions, without interrupting the Instructor. It is important that the Instructor frequently pause during their presentation in order to review, synthesize, and/or respond to what's been posted in the Chat. Also, the text posted in the Chat tool is not captured in the recording, so the Presenter should repeat the question or provide a general summary of what's being posted in the Chat in order to provide context to those who view the archived recording.
The Chat tool can be used to:
- Ask questions
- Answer questions
- Brainstorm ideas
- Provide feedback
- Make comments
- Respond to peers
- Share links to websites/resources
- Post written instructions to underscore verbal instructions during an activity8. Manage Raised HandsParticipants can raise their hand to verbally ask a question or make a comment.9. Practice, practice, practice.
10. In addition to joining the web conference as the Moderator, consider joining the conference as a Participant as well, using the conference Guest Link in another browser window or on another device. Viewing the conference from the Participant's perspective can ensure that what you intend to present is what the students actually see.Make sure you understand the capabilities of the software, so you can effectively moderate the web conference session. It will help you be more confident with the application, and concentrate on the content during the web conference.
See How to Access a Guest Link in Ultra to join as a Participant.
11. Review archived recordings to critique yourself and to identify potential opportunities for improvement.