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WebEx Best Practices for Instructors and Hosts

Following best practices to host a WebEx session will promote and facilitate a successful event.

Plan and Prepare

Plan your session first to ensure a successful session.  Use a storyboard or simply outline your presentation to include instructor notes and the general flow of your presentation.

1. Know your audience

  • Prior to your first session, ask participants if they have assistive needs so that a plan can be in place to accommodate them.

2. Communicate connection details

  • Prior to your first session, inform participants to use a computer with speakers and standalone or built in microphone or headset with microphone in order to participate in a WebEx meeting using VOIP.  If you wish to view your participants, they will be required to have a standalone or built-in Webcam.
  • Send a WebEx invitation to your participants that includes the session URL and login steps prior to the session.  To conveniently connect to the session, send the invitation to yourself.  If you are using Blackboard for your online course, copy and paste the invitation into your Bb course.

3. Practice and test

Practice and test several days before your event.

  • Ensure that your presentation loads as expected and you become familiar with the flow of your session within the console.
  • When prompted, install drivers necessary to host your session.
  • Practice using the tools that you will use within your session such as annotation tools.
  • Before you host your session, schedule at least one test session with your students to ensure that they can access, hear, and participate.

Have a backup plan

  • Send your presentation (such as PowerPoint) and supporting materials to your participants before the event in case a situation arises precluding them from participating in the live session.
  • If you have problems authenticating to, please contact the Help Desk at 215-204-8000 or WebEx at 866-229-3239.  The phone numbers can also be added to your WebEx invitations to be sent to your participants should they experience connectivity issues.
  • If possible, plan to have another computer in the room with you that will be logged into your session so that you can see what our participants are viewing.

Choose the Right Tool to Display Content

Sharing dynamic content in real time breaks up the monotony of slide pushing.  Tools can be used and shared among your audience to enable them to interact with you and other members of your event.

1.  Use annotation tools to add energy to your session

  • Highlight key points and information as you talk about them
  • Give participants the ability to use Annotation tools (be careful not to give everyone annotating privileges as this can add confusion to your session).

2.  Display a PowerPoint Presentation

  • Open a PowerPoint presentation (File, Open and Share) on the fly and use annotation tools to display your class agenda or presentation.

3.  Share an application, website, or your desktop

  • Share your entire desktop (Share, Desktop) to demonstrate multiple applications simultaneously as part of your presentation and easily move among them.
  • Share a spreadsheet, word processing, presentation document, or PDF,
  • (Share, File) for everyone to view and mark up changes in real time, edit save and print.
  • Share an application (Share, Application) such as Excel to demonstrate its use and to enable participants see the changes that you make (your computer desktop will not be visible). 
  • Share Web Content (Share, Web Content) to share a web site to enable students to interact with it independently of you and each other.
  • Share your Web Browser (Share, Web Browser) to share your default web browser where you control the navigation.  Good for demonstrating Blackboard
  • Use the Whiteboard (Share, Whiteboard) as a convenient flip chart for you and your participants to brainstorm and take notes.
  • Use My Session Window to share your WebEx session window exactly you as the Host sees it (participants will not have Presenter capabilities unless you enable them).

4.  Move among applications with ease

  • Application sharing uses more network bandwidth – be aware that there may be lag time between your movements and what your audience will view.
  • Move slowly between applications to allow for a smooth transition of content for your participants to view.

5.  Resources

  • More on sharing content is located at WebEx 

Host an Effective Session

Organizing your presentation, working out potential technical glitches, and knowing how to manage your online class activities prior to your session will enable you to present with ease and will make way for a successful learning experience among your audience.

1.  Best practices before your session begins

  • Enter the WebEx session at least 15 minutes early to prepare your event.
  • Plug in your webcam, microphone and/or headset.
  • Enable your microphone and audio preferences.
  • Open documents that you want to share.
  • Enable the Record feature (to give participants who are absent and those who run into audio issues during the live session the opportunity to view the session at another time. Making recorded sessions available to your audience will enable them to review your presentation for self-study)

2.  Practice with your participants before your session starts

  • Allow your participants to join the session 15 minutes early so that they can verify that they can connect to the session and that their computers and speakers are working.
  • Introduce your students to the interface and explain what the different microphone icons mean.
  • When using VoIP, individually pass the microphone to each participant in your session to make sure their audio and microphones are working properly (If you cannot hear them or if they cannot hear you, instruct them to leave the audio conference and run the Audio Setup Wizard.

3.  Manage your online class/session

  • Set a protocol for how students should ask to speak or alert the instructor that they are finished commenting so that passing the microphone is easier in large groups
  • Ask participants to use the “raise hand” feature when they wish to speak.
  • Keep e-mail running in the background in case participants need to contact you when having technical difficulties
  • Schedule a 5 to 10 minute break midway through a session, if possible.
  • Appoint a TA or a student as a presenter so they can help pass the microphone and answer questions using the Chat feature.

4.  Learn how to use the tools to host an effective session

Engage your Students

There are a number of techniques that can be used to keep your participants focused on your presentation and involved as well as ways to collect valuable information from them in a non-face-to face environment.

1.  Interact with your attendees

  • Keep them involved and focused on your presentation. 
  • Plan to engage students by making certain that student feedback or student interactions are required every few minutes (through chat, raising hands, questions and answers, participation in polls, or something similar).

2.  Poll your audience

  • Use the Poll feature and create poll questions in advance and insert them into your presentation to provide your audience with a chance to share ideas and allows you to collect valuable information from them

3.  Use Chat

  • Tap into your audience by asking questions through chat.  It's a more informal way than Polling to ask participants for feedback.  Use the “yes/no” buttons periodically to keep people on-task and to be sure they still hear you.

4.  Explore Breakout Rooms

  • Use breakout sessions to foster more collaboration and communication amongst attendees.

5.  Pass the Microphone

  • Pass the microphone to attendees during the session to encourage participation and help to keep attendees focused on information shared during the session. 

Note:   Only 9 people can have microphones assigned to them at once, including the Host (only 9 people can speak at any given time).   This should not be a problem as it is a Best Practice to not have everyone talk at once and to use the raising of hands by participants to ask for permission to speak.

6.  Place your participants in the drivers' seat

  • The rest of the class can use the chat window to comment on the presentation as it happens so more class time doesn’t need to be taken for peer feedback after each presentation.