Given the changes we are all experiencing given the Covid 19 pandemic, MethodSpace is also offering guidance and resources about online instruction and research. This post contains a link to a detailed how-to guide for leading videoconferences for educational and professional purposes. Find more help here.
Make Videoconferencing Work
You’ve probably participated in webinars or online meetings that used videoconferencing technologies. Now, you need to organize, plan, and offer a class or event using these tools. The steps you take to prepare will make the difference between an engaging and productive opportunity, for a frustrating and boring experience.
Let’s look at the what, why, and how of video conferencing in professional and academic contexts:
- Why videoconference?
- What hardware do you need?
- How can you use videoconferencing when participants lack access to communication tools?
- How should you prepare for a videoconference?
Download our How to Lead a Videoconference guide, with updated Zoom security information.
Suggestions for Planning and Conducting Videoconference Presentations or Meetings
- Create and share an agenda and background material to participants, with adequate time to read so they come prepared.
- ·Survey students or meeting attendees to determine whether they have access and hardware necessary for full participation, and adapt plans as needed.
- Create or select slides, images, media, or applications you plan to share. Generate handouts to post during the event.
- Upload slides and other materials, or arrange on shared desktop.
- If you have general information to post in the chat area, or questions to pose, write them out so you can cut and paste quickly during the videoconference.
- Carefully review speaking points so you can minimize the need to look down at notes. If possible, position notes so you do not need to look away or look down. If you must shift from the camera, take the time, before looking down to read notes, to make the best “virtual eye contact” possible.
- If it is a presentation or large meeting, recruit someone to help manage the videoconference interface, including watching the text chat for questions or problems.
- Identify technical support available for people with problems accessing or using the videoconference and post a link or phone number.
- Test microphone and audio.
- Adjust the webcam to allow for close-up, straight-on view.
- Check security settings for the platform. If possible, set a password to avoid entry by others.
- Avoid saving recordings on the cloud; select local recording option.
- If people log in before the event starts, initiate conversation in the chat area, or point to any pre-event materials.
- Introduce yourself and your role, and others who are presenting or facilitating.
- Review videoconference purpose, process, and agenda.
- Establish expectations, including how and when participants can contribute or ask questions.
- Stick with agreed-on purpose and time frame.
- Vary tone and visuals to keep audience attention.
- Try to keep eye contact, with minimum time spent reading notes.
- Allow time for questions and discussion.
- Consider including some Q & A time at a mid-point, rather than leaving all to the end. This is of particular importance if the chat area is going off-topic or people are text-chatting questions.
- Establish and agree to ground rules for participation.
- Call on people who might be too shy to jump into the conversation, or use a round-robin so everyone shares their comments.
- Establish and agree to timing and system for letting speakers know they need to wrap-up.
- Allow time for questions in larger groups, and interaction in smaller groups. Use breakout rooms for small-group discussions.
- Highlight important points or decisions from the videoconference.
- Point to suggested readings or relevant resources.
- Signal last question so participants know you are ready to close the event.
- Reiterate any follow-up steps or action items.
Use videoconference tools in research or research-oriented learning activities!
Find books on the SAGE Publications site or from your favorite bookseller!