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What is Web Conferencing?
Web conferencing, via WebEx, allows you to have classes online, without using specialized video conference hardware. You and your students will meet using your own computers connected to the internet. With web conferencing, you and your students will communicate as if you are all on walkie-talkies: you have to press an on-screen button to speak. Users can engage in audio, video (optional) and text chat, share what is displayed on their computer desktops as well as display and annotate documents or a virtual whiteboard. Session leaders can take attendance and record the session for playback later.
View a sample Web Conference
- Windows or Mac computer with:
- Internet access (broadband preferred)
- Internet Explorer / Firefox / Safari
- Headset with microphone
- Webcam (if transmitting video)
Inform your class before hand
Your students will not know which tool you will be using in advance. If you use WebEx, you have to inform them what to expect. For example: The tutorial/seminar will take place at the usual time. Students should expect an email in advance to inform them of the session and the login details.
Choose a quiet place
In order not to pick up unnecessary background noise during your online class, choose a quiet place to conduct the session. Make sure you advise your students to do this too!
Test audio levels
If you have time before your session, do make sure that your students can hear you and vice-versa.
Silence your electronic devices and place them far away
Your mobile phone or other electronic devices might interrupt your session if they ring, beep or vibrate, so put them to silent mode (vibrate mode still makes noise), and place them away from your computer. If possible, switch them off during the session to prevent interference..
Enable chat between participants
While you may want to control the session by disabling text chat between participants, it is vital to enable chat. This is important if they encounter technical problems. Their classmates can try to assist each other instead of asking you. You should remain free to focus on your session.
If possible, get an assistant
You will be busy conducting the class. Try to get someone to assist you with the session. The assistant (or panelist in WebEx lingo) can handle attendance, technical issues and watch out for questions and respond to text chat messages.
Reduce your screen resolution before starting
Ideally, you should reduce your screen resolution to 1024 x 768 pixels maximum, particularly if you are sharing your screen. If a student has a smaller screen resolution than your desktop, the student will have to scroll around to view your screen.