Here at Missouri State University, Adobe Connect is the preferred tool for web conferencing. Adobe Connect can be used for multiple situations such as:
- For faculty evaluation of student learning
- Interview for job positions
- Course Discussions
- Presentations (webinars)
- Negotiation exercises
- Tutorials and problem-solving
- Software Demonstrations, and
As with all web-based presentations, there are preliminary arrangements that presenters and host of these meetings must put in place towards having a successful and meaningful meeting. Here are some ideas and guidelines that I believe will help faculty and staff as they develop their own web conferences and webinars.
- Do a trial run before the actual presentation. Helps to reduce surprises. Also log into your session as a participant and see the presentation from your students’ perspective to gauge the presentation. Load your slides and click through them, testing any add-on features, like animations, video clips, and links. Test the desktop sharing, and play with the various options: full-screen browse, allow participants to browse separately, and so on. Know how to change the poll format and how to activate and clear the polls. Learn how to turn the audio on and off, and how to lock the audio on for long periods of time. Take a screenshot of the interior of the platform so that you can annotate it later and use it to give participants directions at the beginning of the event. Learn how to turn the webcam feed on and off. See if there is any noticeable lag when the webcam feed is on when you are clicking through slides or sharing the desktop.
- Provide screenshots of the application and point out the important features useful to the running of the meeting. Show them the different ways you will want them to ask questions. If there are questions during the presentation, I ask participants to use the text chat. Send the screenshots to participants before the meeting so that they can familiarize themselves with Adobe Connect. At the end of the presentation, I take audio questions.
- Encourage all participants to enter room at least 15 minutes before start to test connection and audio. Arrive early to your room before participants so that you can immediately address any concerns and potential technical problems.
- Introduce yourself and identify the main features of the software and meeting room that will be useful for the running of the webinar. Go through a lesson objective for the webinar ( stating what we are going to do and what we aim to accomplish). Consider sending a copy of your lesson objective before the start of the webinar.
- If sharing an application (PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, or Flash video) have the documents already open and available for quick viewing. Do not use long slide presentations. Reduce text heavy slide. Use visual examples. Use video sparingly. Watch out for lag time using the media rich objects. Go slowly to ensure all participants will be able to see the presentations. Any other documents to be used for sharing must be done through desktop sharing. Load all files early so that they can be easily accessed.
- Remind users of netequitte of online collaboration and discussion. You could ask for example, “Give me an example of how you could use this in your professional life.” Give participants sufficient time to respond, summarize, or discuss one or two responses, and then move on. Speak slowly and delibrately. Having a fellow faculty act as a host to your presentation allows for another set of eyes to watch for participants wanting to ask questions via chat.
- The chat function is available for all but the host or presenter should, if needed, type applicable materials relevant to the presentation. All notes typed in the notes section are available to participants. This feature cannot be separate for the participants.
- Run your webinar no more than 60 minutes. If recording the webinar, ensure you have a short script to start before starting the recording. Ensure that all participants are aware the webinar will be recorded, so that if there are objections these can be addressed.
- Prepare to ask participants questions to keep them engaged and involved in the learning. Design a poll (if applicable) to get feedback and responses from participants (using multiple choice or true/false questions).
- Use webcam sparingly, at the beginning and at the end. This can be distracting if you are using document and application sharing. This will also affect the bandwidth and timing of the presentation.
- At the end of the webinar, prepare a short email message:
- thanking them for attending,
- reminding them about the main points (no more than three), and
- giving them another copy of the hyperlinks that you shared in your presentation.
- sending the link to the recorded session for later viewing
As with all presentations, practice, practice, and practice. By using the above suggestions and guidelines, this will afford you the opportunity to making your presentation real for your participants as if it were a face-to-face meeting.