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  • Tips for using web conferencing
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Feedback and participation

  • Check all participants can hear and see the material correctly before proceeding
  • Use this participant feedback to engage participants in the conversation
  • Ask participants to ask all questions they may have in the chat - any that aren't answered in the session can be addressed afterwards 
  • Copy and paste the chat text into a document at the end of the session and answer using a Moodle forum or record audio feedback to send to participants afterwards
  • Use polls, drawing tools, emoticons, instant chat and breakout rooms to engage participants and have them actively participate in the conversation. E.g. Ask them:
    • their opinion on a topic (they can respond using the multiple choice voting tools)
    • to use the emoticons to display emotions such as agreement, understanding, confusion etc. (emoticons appear beside participant names and can be switched on and off)
    • to plot their location on a map (using the stamp tool on to the PowerPoint presentation / whiteboard)
    • to contribute to a brain-storming session by writing down their ideas on the whiteboard using the text tool
    • to place their questions in the instant chat window and have a moderator on hand to deal with these, either answering themselves or highlighting key questions to the presenter
    • to share links to relevant materials in the chat window
    • to break out in to rooms to discuss a topic and then come back to the main room to deliver the group's main points to the wider cohort

Technical considerations

  • Make sure you close any other telephony or video conferencing software (such as Skype) before using Blackboard Collaborate, as it might interfere with the settings.
  • The moderators should log in 15 minutes early to allow time to get sound and video working properly.
  • It generally takes 5 minutes to get sound and video working correctly - ask participants to log in 5 minutes early if time is tight

Planning and timing

  • Have a clear agenda/lesson plan and make sure you stick to timings
  • After each agenda point has been discussed asked everyone to show a tick or smiley to indicate they are happy to proceed to the next item
  • As well as the lecturer/chairperson you should have 1 other person who is responsible for assisting with technical issues and flagging important questions to the presenter (this can be a student)

Group work

  • You can break participants into breakout rooms either randomly assigning them to a room or allowing them to choose one to join themselves.
  • If you want to notify participants in breakout rooms that it is time to re-join the main room you can click on the menu to the top right of the Chat window and Send Announcement… checking the Send to all rooms option.
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