Web Conferencing

Overview

A web conference, also known as a webinar, refers to meetings or live presentations over the Internet. In a web conference each participant is connected to the other participants in real-time via the Internet. Most webinars also include audio communication through audio conferencing or voice over IP and can sometimes include text chat. Other features of a webinar can include slide presentations, file sharing, video, and surveys.

Web conferencing is generally sold as a hosted fee-based or membership-based service. The University of Florida has web conferencing capabilities through the tools available in the LMS.

Application to All Courses

Synchronous Presentations

  • Can replace lectures in distance education classes or augment activities in face to face classes.
  • Instructor and students can participate in synchronous discussions and web presentations.
  • Allows for dynamic distance presentations that allow audio, video, and student participation.
  • The quick paced medium can allow for greater information sharing.
  • Allows users to give greater context to information in a rich environment.

Examples

Getting Started

Web Conferencing through a Hosted Service

  • Web Conferencing hosts will require a username and password.
  • Many sites will require that you schedule your meeting in advance, however some sites will allow for spontaneous meetings.
  • To start an online meeting set the date and time of the meeting and enter the email addresses of the attendees in the “schedule a meeting” section of the site. An email will be sent to the attendees with a link to the meeting.
  • To join the meeting the attendees click on a link in the email that they were sent. Most sites will also allow users to join a meeting by logging in to the site.
  • After the attendees are present the instructor can proceed with the meeting.
  • Some hosted services may require a telephone connection for audio during the web conference.
  • This can be as simple as a speakerphone on a telephone or can involve users connecting via the Internet to transmit audio data between sites. This can be done with software programs such as Skype.
  • Other sites, simply require users to connect via a microphone and audio input in the computer in order to use audio.

Video Conferencing at the University of Florida

  • Conference rooms are available for rent and reservation.
  • Portable units and videoconferencing carts are available for rent and reservation. Most classrooms and other spaces on campus with high-quality network connections can be used for videoconferencing. VCS will bring the equipment, set it up, and show you how to use it. If you’re not sure a room will work, VCS will come and test it for you.
  • Those on the “other side” of the conference must also have access to video and audio equipment in order to participate in the conference. This may be as simple as a microphone and webcam or as complicated as a video conference meeting room and equipment on another campus.
  • After a meeting room is reserved the instructors and students can meet at the assigned time for videoconferencing.
  • For more detailed information on videoconferencing at the University of Florida visit the Academic Technology Video and Collaboration Services website.

Additional Resources

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