Web conferencing

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A number of requests for sessions on web conferencing came in last month through our professional development request form. This post is a collection of resources on web conferencing, to support the monthly sessions of professional development. If you’d like to attend sessions on web conferencing, see our up coming professional development events and register.

What is it?

Web conferencing is primarily a synchronous form of online communication, typically used to give presentations to small to large audiences, and to take questions and feedback from that audience. But there are lots of other ways to use web conferencing. For project meetings, panel discussions, break out rooms, collaborating on documents, screen sharing, and more.

Collaborate Ultra is the quickest way for RMIT folks

You might need two people to run a web conference. One to do the talking, the other to answer the chat

It is easy to set up a web conference in Canvas, using Collaborate Ultra, and the way it has been set up enables you to invite people outside your Canvas course, even outside RMIT! Which is great for those of us trying to work with industry or bring in guests. But while its easy to set up, it can be difficult to run a web conference. A key piece of advice, especially for those starting out, it’s a two person job. One to do the talking, the other to answer the chat and help people get in.

Alternatives for when you’re out in the world

Outside Canvas and RMITs licensed software, you might consider using methods that are transferable and usable if and when you’re not at RMIT. Google Hangouts and Youtube Live are one way that just about anyone can pickup and use. We have looked at Hangouts and Youtube Live quite a bit in the past.

Scholarship on web conferencing in educational practice

We’re endeavoring to supplement all our resources for the professional development sessions with annotated links to reputable and academic publications relating to the topic. This is to aid teachers who are interested in developing a scholarly approach to their teaching work (SoTL). Below are some works we thought relevant to this topic:

Michael Wesch, in the more hopeful time of 2008, talked about user generated content, organisation and distribution in his address to the Library of Congress – An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube. It’s a good foundation perspective from which to establish awareness of the broad context around Internet culture and the relationship (or lack thereof) that formal online education has to it, including methods like web conferencing.

The invisible work of distributed medical education: exploring the contributions of audiovisual professionals, administrative professionals and faculty teachers. By Anna MacLeod, Olga Kits, Karen Mann, Jonathan Tummons and Keith W. Wilson in 2017. This paper takes a reasonably long term look at everyone involved in the delivery of online education, based on a three-year ethnographic study in medical education. They point out that online delivery changes the context of a course significantly, not only for learners, but also for other people involved such as audiovisual professionals, administrative professionals and faculty teachers.

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