Web conferencing Skills To Boost Employability in the 21st Century
Web conferencing to boost employability in the 21st C: ‘Student4WebES’
‘Students for Webinar Employability Skills was a Jisc funded project which ran at
Abingdon and Witney College with L3 (equivalent to A levels) students from October
2012-April 2013. But first, can we check that you are happy with the definition of
web conferencing? (Next slide)
Why are we checking that you are happy with the term, Web conferencing/webinar? Our initial assessment of
256 L3 students showed that only 4% of them could define what a webinar was!
[Activity: What experience do you have of
webinars [video conferencing] ?
1 None or very few
2 I have participated in a
number of webinars
3 I have presented in a
Circle the number and hold up your
A brief definition might be that it is an online session which can be used for meetings or teaching and done
through a platform which generally has the ability, along with video and audio, to
display information on a whiteboard, allow ‘chat’, application and websharing and
audience response for 3-300 people depending on the platform. Recording the
session is a key feature of a good webinar platform.
What were our aims for this project?
The rationale for this project was to recognise that today’s students will need some
different skills to be fit for work in the 21st C.
The aim of the project is to develop employability skills for L3 students in relation to
using video conferencing and webinars.
1. Students were trained to use a webinar platform (Blackboard Collaborate and
Cisco WebEx) and how to set up to run a webinar.
2. We ran and recorded 8 short 10 minute webinars with local employers around
the theme of ‘What does an employer want from an employee?”
3. In addition, we produced:
• A student created poster of the ‘top tips’ around running a webinar
• A student created ‘top tips’ from the employers on key skills for getting
an interview and job
• A student led conference, supported by the JISC RSC SE, on the theme of
employability skills using video conferencing and webinars.
Student webinar skills equals employability
Sometimes simple ideas work well. We hope that we can demonstrate what a
professionally valuable skill running a webinar is in the 21st century – from
interviews skills through to work meetings and in all levels of education. (Exam
boards are now using webinars instead of asking staff to travel long distances for a
There were a range of ‘soft’ employment skills gained/reinforced through working on
the project- Reliability, time management, team work and working with a range of
Evolution of our recognition of employability skills for the 21st century
We want to comment briefly on this because it is important to remember that
education and training is about teaching people what they will find useful and not
assuming that they will learn it by themselves or with their ‘mates’. If a skill is
important, it needs to be recognised and taught. I’m sure everyone here can reflect
on their own education and where it might have been improved if someone taught
them how to write an essay and how to take an exam instead of assuming that these
skills could be picked up.
As a normal FE college with 5 sites and we offer a broad range of courses – SLDD,
BTEC, Community Education, A level and Foundation degrees. This is the digital age,
and we have a responsibility to make sure that our students have digital
employability skills for the 21st century. Research (I can give details if anyone is
interested later) shows that many students use technology well but they are very
dependent on their tutors and institutions to be shown how to use it appropriately
in educational and work settings. We put in place an online Digital induction for all
new students 4 years ago, covering all the college IT systems, and ‘obvious’ things
like backing up your work; we wanted to make our systems and processes explicit to
new students. We learned not to assume that young students knew more than we
did about technology and how it would be used in the college. What are the
important digital employability skills was the next question and the result was the
Just for your information, here is a list of the employers who participated in a
webinar with the students:
Abingdon and Witney College (HR)
Active Nation (Leisure)
Morgan Cole (Solicitors)
National Union of Students
Puma Hotels (Spa Manager)
Wenn Townsend (Accountancy)
This was a small, short project but we learned that having the webinar skills:
• Made a difference to the student and employer participants
• Was a skill that was desirable and would make a job application stand out
• That a structured course would help deliver the skills
• Teachers need training in webinar skills to deliver it and to design good online
• Most of the skills needed are generic (not linked to a single platform) and the soft
skills (i.e. communication and working together) were just as important as the
Mamps Makuku was a student on the project. He is going to join us via Skype and
will briefly tell you:
Who he is
What he is studying?
Why did he joined the project?
What did he get out of it?
Do you think that students like yourself should be taught how to run a webinar as
part of your course?
Any other points from a student’s view?
Embedding what we learned
• Highlight the key employability skills identified in webinars by the employers who
took part in our first project & create easy to use video clips.
• Produce a well structured and resourced blended learning course to teach
students the skills of setting up and running a webinar as a 21st century digital
• On Moodle
• Free to download
• Validated – hopefully
• Pilots in September 2014
Course on Moodle 2.4 or above, downloadable and available to be used locally.
Blended course suitable for L3 – 16-19 or adults with F2F delivery plus online
independent learning element
Assessed, certificated possibly validated for funding
How many of you can make use of a Moodle course?
Link to blog post with survey to find out, ‘How many of you have access to Moodle?’
How you can help:
• Follow our progress (blog and website are on the last slide)
• Help us evaluate the webinar skills training course that we create (L3)
• Consider piloting the course
Do you have any questions, or comments to share?
For more information:
Google Site: https://sites.google.com/site/students4webes/
Project Leader: Ellen.Lessner@Abingdon-witney.ac.uk