Webinars - UniConnect

Explanation:

Adobe Connect is the tool for which the University of Huddersfield has a current licence arrangement for and we have branded it as UniConnect, it can be accessed from within UniLearn, UniConnect is a tool for synchronous communication over a network (i.e. people need to be logged on at the same time) It is a web conferencing tool that can be used for Web Meetings, eLearning and Webinars, it allows users to:

  • Hear one another.

  • See one another.

  • Share a white board.

  • Share an application (eg Word, Excel, IE)

However the range of tools needs careful planning to ensure that they function effectively and make an effective teaching and learning experience.    

UniConnect

 

Benefits of Using Webinars:  

This type of software is useful for joining together students who are geographically separated and allows a class to take place synchronously, which has the benefit of instant questions and answers and discussion, webinars have the advantage of audio and video to communicate rather than just text.

General Tips on Adobe Connect (UniConnect)

  • Test your Computer before attending a meeting.

  • Familiarise yourself with the Connect screens/functionality prior.

  • Prepare your documents and presentations in advance.

  • Make use of the Prepare mode when arranging layouts before the meeting begins.

  • Have a second computer/laptop running during your session if possible and log into that one as a participant, then you can see the screens that the student sees – this helps you see what the students are experiencing which is really useful especially with application sharing.

  • When using something like application share, showing something like scrolling up and down a page or clicking between different pages may be problematical, practice with two computers so you can see the effect and what works well and what doesn’t.

  • Have a few notes on what you want to say not a script but just things not to forget to mention as it is really easy to forget things once you are in a session.

  • Accept that there will be some silences and don’t rush in to fill them.

  • Consider not using video as it could use too much bandwidth and slow everything down, if they don't know you consider putting the video on at the start of the session and introduce yourself so they could see what you look like but then switch it off (and explain why)

  • Try not to talk for more than 10 minutes without inviting questions or building in some sort of interaction.

  • When inviting questions – ask the participants to use the Raise Hand facility and allow them to use either the microphone or to type their question into the chat space.

  • If you have any animation or transitions in your presentation – these won’t work your slides are uploaded as static images, if that is important to you then use the share my screen feature to show your presentation/animation.

  • It also really helps to have a second Host in the session if at all possible as they can welcome any late-comers and check they can hear ok, plus sort any little problems out whilst you are presenting.

  • Use a head-set for microphone/audio as you get an echo if you rely on a computer’s in-built microphone.

  • If you are going to be recording the session – don’t forget to select the record meeting option in the meeting menu when you officially start and then turn it off when you have finished the session.

  • Make the start time clear to the students and ask them to log in 15 minutes early to check that they can access the session ok and ask them to run the audio set up, allow students to mill around before the start time.

  • Log in about 30 minutes before the official start time this should give you time to check access, update all the settings and check your presentation before the students start appearing about 15 minutes before the session.

How to check your computer will run Connect ok - this link takes you to the Adobe website where you can check the system requirements to run Connect. 
 

Checklist for when you log in:

Preparing for a meeting (Before the day of the Meeting)

  1. Test all your devices such as microphone, webcam etc. Insure that they are connected before running the set up.

  2. Run Meeting>audio set up wizard if prompted install the Add-ins.

  3. Arrange your layouts to suit the meeting by adding new pods or hiding or deleting unused pods.

  4. Prepare your documents and presentations in advance.

  5. Upload any documents or presentation files.

  6. Load any websites/programs you intend to share.

  7. Check through presentation and set screen to first one.

  8. You may want to create some notes in the notes pod for yourself and the attendees to insure that you have covered everything that you had wanted to talk about.

  9. If you are using polls, you can set up a number of Polls before the meeting starts by going to Pods>Poll>Add New Poll, this gives you the option of multiple choice or multiple answer Poll you may want to create a new layout for this.

On the day of the Meeting

  1. Log in about 30 minutes before the official start time this should give you time to check access, update all the settings and check your presentation before the students start appearing about 15 minutes before the session.

  2. It may be useful log into the session as a participant on a seperate device (rather than Host)

  3. Close all other programs that you are not going to use for example email, web browsers etc.

  4. Turn off msn, skype, twitter etc silence your phone/mobile but keep it to hand just in case!

  5. Have some paper/pen handy (just in case)

  6. If you would like to record the meeting go to Meeting>Record>Meeting, ask for the participants permission before recording the meeting.

  7. As the first few people join – welcome them and check they can hear you (if they can then the rest should be ok)

  8. When participants join the meeting they don't by default have the ability to enable their audio or video, if you want to give them access to audio go to Audio>Microphone rights for participants for video go to the webcam icon and select the arrow>Enable webcam for participants. 
     

Examples of How to use Webinars in Education

Due to the slight lag in the audio Connect is best for presentational style teaching but break the presentation into short chunks and include interactive elements e.g. polls or invite questions regularly, don’t feel uncomfortable about silences. Limit the session to 30 to 45 minutes as it is hard to keep listening for longer than this you could ask students to prepare a contribution in advance, here you need to be very specific about what you will expect students to do/contribute. You can also use the breakout room function to organise the students into groups and each group has its own whiteboard and chat facility, the tutor/Host can view each of the rooms therefore group activities can take place..    
 

Training Guides

Other Webinar Products

Above we have concentrated on Adobe Connect, but there are other products available, some commercial:
Note the University of Huddersfield does not support these products.

Useful Links to Websites or Resources: 

15 Tips for Webinars: How to Add Impact When You Present Online
http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=best_practices&article=56-1

Collecting tips and tricks for using Adobe Connect for international conferences
http://sarah-stewart.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/collecting-tips-and-tricks-for-using.html

Great references on synchronous online learning (webconferencing)
http://sjannie.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/great-references-on-synchronous-online-learning-webconferencing/

'Webinar' method of learning could change the university experience for ever
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/higher/webinar-method-of-learning-could-change-the-university-experience-for-ever-2252370.html
 

References to Scholarly Articles:  

Bower, M. (2006). Virtual classroom pedagogy. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin (ACM Digital Library), 38(1), 148-152.  Grant, M. M., & Cheon, J. (2007). The Value of Using Synchronous Conferencing for Instruction and Students. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 6(3), 211-226.      

Carlson, E. A. (2009). Podcasts, Blogs, and Webinars. Orthopaedic Nursing, 28(1), 25.

Flatley, M. E. (2007). Teaching The Virtual Presentation. Business Communication Quarterly, 70(3), 301.

Grant, M. M., & Cheon, J. (2007). The Value of Using Synchronous Conferencing for Instruction and Students. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 6(3), 211-226

Mayorga, E. P., Bekerman, J. G., & Palis, A. G. (2014). Webinar software: A tool for developing more effective lectures (online or in-person). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology, 21(2), 123-127.

Mihai, A. (2014). The virtual classroom: Teaching european studies through webinars. European Political Science, 13(1), 4-11.

 

If you have any feedback, suggestions for improvement or spot any errors on this page, please email further details to: ipark@hud.ac.uk, thank you.