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Running a Webinar 
Best Practices 
DRAFT 
@peterskillen 
peterskillen.org
Disclaimer! 
This slideshow is… 
Platform agnostic! 
* also breaking all layout rules for slideshows 
by text loading! :-)
What is a Webinar? 
● a Web-based seminar 
● presentation, lecture, workshop, seminar 
conducted over the Web
Styles 
Traditional 
● a lecture online. Presenter presenting. 
Participants watching & listening. 
Participatory 
● interactive—conversation & participation 
among all participants & presenters
Have Two People! 
Many roles: 
● Moderator/host 
● Technical Support 
● Subject-matter expert or facilitator 
● Chat manager/question fielder (emcee) 
● Coach
Planning - Use Multimedia 
● livens things up 
● accommodates diversity 
o try to get closed captioned video 
Decide on audio 
● VOIP (computer mic & speakers) or telephone 
● tell people well in advance 
● set concurrent # of audio connections to that desired
Planning - Test EVERYTHING! 
● Login, test audio, video, replicate the 
presentation, practise screen sharing 
and all software features you plan to use 
● Send invited participants a link to test 
their software E.g., Adobe Connect test 
site 
o this ensures their software is up to date (like 
Java)
During —> Setup 
● run a second computer under a fake 
participant’s account 
o to see things from participant’s perspective 
● use wired connection rather than wireless 
o faster & more reliable 
● have Welcome Screen advising participants 
(as they log in) to check audio settings
Introduction 
● Teach registrants how they are going 
to participate 
● Review the tools & how to use them 
o Script how to give instructions that prompt 
participants to use the tools. 
Chat Raising Hand 
Microphone Clicking a checkmark 
Whiteboard Polling
Introduce Yourselves 
● Introduce yourselves with microphone 
o If small group - participants can do the same 
o If large group, they can use the chat window and/or 
have them place themselves on a prepared map 
Eg., “Please introduce yourselves in the Chat. Tell us your name, where you 
teach, and what you hope to get out of this session.”
Teach about the ‘back channel’ 
● Participants can add value in the Chat 
o adding relevant URLs 
o extrapolating 
o giving application examples 
o adding questions to deepen conversation 
o adding questions for clarification 
● Backchannel not rude? 
o unless responses are rude 
o ‘off-topic’ side chats may be rude but sometimes are 
seen as building community
Private Messaging 
● Teach people about the Private Chat 
o warn them that moderators may see all messages 
 this depends on software platform
Engage Your Audience 
● Have participants use: 
o polls 
o whiteboard 
o chat 
o voice
Effective Participation 
● Build regular participation into your plan 
● Use varied techniques 
o Open-ended questions 
o Use a timer 
 “I’m setting the timer for 2 minutes. Please 
type your responses in the chat.” 
 “Let’s have a ‘collective wondering’. I’m setting 
the timer for 2 minutes. Tell us how this might 
best be used in…”
Effective Participation (cont’d) 
● “Tell me about a time when the 
techniques was successful…” 
● “Please respond by typing in the Chat 
or feel free just to grab the mic.” 
● Some can talk. Some can type.
Honour the Chat 
● After people have responded, ask something 
like… 
o “Now, please scroll back through the chat and see 
whose response resonates with you. Please grab 
the mic and share. Or type your feedback in the 
chat. Mention the person’s name in your response.”
Second Moderator Role 
● can model effective responses to chat 
contributions 
o call on them to share 
● can glean the chat for issues or 
questions & bring them up to the 
moderator who is busy speaking 
● can deal with technical glitches on an 
individual basis
Polling 
● Use the polling tool to get simple 
feedback for questions like… 
o “Put a checkmark or X to let us know if you 
agree or disagree.”
Large Group? Breakout Rooms! 
● Use breakout rooms to have small 
group conversations 
o assign a leader in each group or let them 
decide
In Closing and After 
● Let participants know how to: 
o save whiteboard slides 
o save the chat 
o access the archive after you post it
That’s it! 
Hope you find this draft useful! 
It is indeed a ‘work in progress’!

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Running a webinar - best practices

  • 1. Running a Webinar Best Practices DRAFT @peterskillen peterskillen.org
  • 2. Disclaimer! This slideshow is… Platform agnostic! * also breaking all layout rules for slideshows by text loading! :-)
  • 3. What is a Webinar? ● a Web-based seminar ● presentation, lecture, workshop, seminar conducted over the Web
  • 4. Styles Traditional ● a lecture online. Presenter presenting. Participants watching & listening. Participatory ● interactive—conversation & participation among all participants & presenters
  • 5. Have Two People! Many roles: ● Moderator/host ● Technical Support ● Subject-matter expert or facilitator ● Chat manager/question fielder (emcee) ● Coach
  • 6. Planning - Use Multimedia ● livens things up ● accommodates diversity o try to get closed captioned video Decide on audio ● VOIP (computer mic & speakers) or telephone ● tell people well in advance ● set concurrent # of audio connections to that desired
  • 7. Planning - Test EVERYTHING! ● Login, test audio, video, replicate the presentation, practise screen sharing and all software features you plan to use ● Send invited participants a link to test their software E.g., Adobe Connect test site o this ensures their software is up to date (like Java)
  • 8. During —> Setup ● run a second computer under a fake participant’s account o to see things from participant’s perspective ● use wired connection rather than wireless o faster & more reliable ● have Welcome Screen advising participants (as they log in) to check audio settings
  • 9. Introduction ● Teach registrants how they are going to participate ● Review the tools & how to use them o Script how to give instructions that prompt participants to use the tools. Chat Raising Hand Microphone Clicking a checkmark Whiteboard Polling
  • 10. Introduce Yourselves ● Introduce yourselves with microphone o If small group - participants can do the same o If large group, they can use the chat window and/or have them place themselves on a prepared map Eg., “Please introduce yourselves in the Chat. Tell us your name, where you teach, and what you hope to get out of this session.”
  • 11. Teach about the ‘back channel’ ● Participants can add value in the Chat o adding relevant URLs o extrapolating o giving application examples o adding questions to deepen conversation o adding questions for clarification ● Backchannel not rude? o unless responses are rude o ‘off-topic’ side chats may be rude but sometimes are seen as building community
  • 12. Private Messaging ● Teach people about the Private Chat o warn them that moderators may see all messages  this depends on software platform
  • 13. Engage Your Audience ● Have participants use: o polls o whiteboard o chat o voice
  • 14. Effective Participation ● Build regular participation into your plan ● Use varied techniques o Open-ended questions o Use a timer  “I’m setting the timer for 2 minutes. Please type your responses in the chat.”  “Let’s have a ‘collective wondering’. I’m setting the timer for 2 minutes. Tell us how this might best be used in…”
  • 15. Effective Participation (cont’d) ● “Tell me about a time when the techniques was successful…” ● “Please respond by typing in the Chat or feel free just to grab the mic.” ● Some can talk. Some can type.
  • 16. Honour the Chat ● After people have responded, ask something like… o “Now, please scroll back through the chat and see whose response resonates with you. Please grab the mic and share. Or type your feedback in the chat. Mention the person’s name in your response.”
  • 17. Second Moderator Role ● can model effective responses to chat contributions o call on them to share ● can glean the chat for issues or questions & bring them up to the moderator who is busy speaking ● can deal with technical glitches on an individual basis
  • 18. Polling ● Use the polling tool to get simple feedback for questions like… o “Put a checkmark or X to let us know if you agree or disagree.”
  • 19. Large Group? Breakout Rooms! ● Use breakout rooms to have small group conversations o assign a leader in each group or let them decide
  • 20. In Closing and After ● Let participants know how to: o save whiteboard slides o save the chat o access the archive after you post it
  • 21. That’s it! Hope you find this draft useful! It is indeed a ‘work in progress’!

Editor's Notes

  1. This presentation will not focus on any particular webinar platform such as WebEx, Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect or Lync. It is a general guide for running webinars regardless of platform.
  2. Webinars can be in many styles. For sake of simplicity, we can think of a: · traditional webinar as being a lecture online. The presenter is presenting and the participants are listening and watching. · participatory webinar as being interactive—involving conversation and participation both between the participant and the presenter but also among the participants (backchanneling in the Chat for example).
  3. It is often best to have at least two people running a webinar. Sometimes, this can be a host/technical support/emcee and a subject-matter or content presenter. Other times, it may be two content presenters who switch up the host/technical/emcee roles between them. There are many roles: · Moderator/host · Technical support · Subject-matter expert or facilitator · Chat manager/fielding questions (emcee) · Coach
  4. Don’t shy away from multimedia. It livens up the session and accommodates diverse learners. Try to get video that is closed captioned. Decide on your audio. Are you having people telephone in, or using VOIP (mic and speakers on computer), or a combination of the two Ensure that people know to have a headset with microphone (a phone headset works well) Set the concurrent number of audio connections to one, two, or three – depending on your purposes. If more than two or three, people might talk over one another – especially with bandwidth differences.
  5. Test everything well in advance. Login, test audio, test video, replicate the presentation, practise application sharing and the software features that you are going to use. When you send out the invitation to participate, include a URL that takes them to a testing site for the software being used – e.g., Adobe Connect or WebEx, etc. This ensures that they have the correct software on their computer to participate: e.g., updated Java
  6. Setup Have a second computer running (if possible) and login with a participant’s account. At the least, login and check things from the participant’s perspective Use a wired connection (Ethernet) rather than wireless if possible. It is higher bandwidth. As people are logging in, have a welcome screen with some technical information available for people to check: example, go to Audio Setup Wizard to check their sound and microphone
  7. Introduce the session, and teach registrants how they are going to participate. At the start of each session, review the tools and how to use them – ESPECIALLY the tools you plan to use during the session Chat Microphone Whiteboard Polling Raising hand Clicking a ‘checkmark’ Script how to give instructions that prompt learners to use tools.
  8. · Introduce yourselves with the microphone. If small group, participants can do the same. If large group they can use the chat window or use a whiteboard space or have people place themselves on a map E,g., “Please introduce yourselves in the Chat. Tell us your name, where you teach, and what you hope to get out of this session.”
  9. Teach people about the use of ‘backchannel’ People can ‘add value’ to the message of the presenter by: Adding relevant urls Adding relevant information/extrapolation Suggesting application of mentioned ideas Adding questions to deepen the conversation Adding questions for clarification Suggest it’s not being ‘rude’ to participate in the backchannel Unless, of course, the responses are rude Perhaps off topic side-conversations are inappropriate – but sometimes they are seen to be building community
  10. Teach people about ‘private messaging’ – but warn them that the moderators may see ALL messages (this depends on the software)
  11. Try to engage the audience as much as possible through: Polls Whiteboard Chat Voice
  12. Encourage Effective Participation · Plan to have the audience respond in different ways, sometimes with the chat and/or voice. Build this into your plan at regular intervals. o Use open-ended questions to invite participants to share ideas, concerns or experiences. § Use a timer. § “I’m setting the timer for 2 minutes. Please type your responses in the chat.” § “Let’s have a collective wondering. I’m setting the timer for 2 minutes. Tell us how this might best be used in….”
  13. “Tell me about a time when the technique was successful…” “Please respond by typing in the Chat” or “Feel free just to grab the mic” Some can talk. Some can type.
  14. After people have responded, ask something like, “Now, please scroll back through the chat and see whose response resonates with you. Please grab the mic and share. Or type your feedback in the chat. Mention the person’s name in your response.”
  15. The second moderator can often model this effectively by participating as a participant – call on them. The second moderator can also glean the chat for issues or questions to bring them up to the current moderator who is busy speaking If audio cuts out or there are other technical glitches, you or your co-presenter need to solve it. Two moderators makes this much easier.
  16. o Make use of the polling (checkmark or X icons) to get simple feedback for questions like, “Put a checkmark or an X to let us know if you able to hear me?” and “Put a checkmark or an X to let us know if you agree or disagree?” Use it also for deeper surveys of the content at hand.
  17. · If a large group, use ‘breakout rooms’ (not available in all software) Assign a leader in each group or let them decide
  18. Let people know how to: · save the whiteboard slides · save the chat · access the archive after you post it