02. Social Media and Open Education

Open Teaching becomes possible when you take the synchronous conferencing application you are using and open it up to visitors from across the internet.

Below are some of the things used in a webinar. All of them aren't necessary and will depend upon the purpose of the webinar you are holding

What Can You Do in a Webinar?

Here is a list of suggestions from Squidoo on web conferencing (see also this list).
  • Slide presentations (often created through PowerPoint)
  • Live video (via webcam or digital video camera)
  • VoIP (Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers)
  • Telephone w/ Bridge Line (This can sometimes be used instead of VoIP, in conjunction with live video)
  • Web tours - where URL's, form data, cookies, scripts and session data can be pushed to other participants enabling them to be pushed though web based logins, clicks, etc. This feature works well for demonstrations that allow users to also participate.
  • Recording (for viewing at a later time by anyone using a unique web address - most web conferencing services include this feature)
  • Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)
  • Text chat (for live question and answer sessions)
  • Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)
  • Screen sharing/desktop sharing/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen. Some screen sharing applications allow for remote desktop control, allowing participants to manipulate the presenters screen, although this is not widely used.)

Open Synchronous Conferencing Platforms

- UStream - http://www.ustream.tv/
- Livestream - http://www.livestream.com/

Commercial Synchronous Conferencing

- WizIQ - http://www.wiziq.com/  ($19 - $30 a month)

Tips for Synchronous Conferencing

With LiveStream you can broadcast anything - camera, webcam, desktop and games. So you can set up a conference using a smaller conferencing tool and make it available to a wider audience. Here are some smaller conferencing platforms:
- Skype
- Google Hangout

Online conferencing is about the conversation, not about the presentation Try to bring experts and guests and have a discussion with them, get them to think on their feet.

See also: Gower White Paper on Synchronous Conferencing