Web Based Delivery (WEBEX/Zoom/MyRoom) Best Practices

Hi Everyone!

The following are Web Based Delivery (WBD) Best Practices that we have collected over the years from various sources as well as edited ourselves.  Please make sure you refer to this often, especially before you provide a Webex, HP Rooms, or Zoom delivery.  Sometimes many weeks can go by and we forget what we have to do for these types of deliveries.  No matter what anyone says, Web Based Delivery is quite different from Instructor Led Training (ILT).  We must work extra hard to be “inclusionary” in our approach to teaching over the Web.  Apart from that very difficult approach, you must also as an instructor try to keep students focused and attentive.  Again, this is very difficult but we must try nonetheless.

Being prepared and having a solid plan and consistent practices will help build a foundation of success.

Meeting Preparation – What You Need to Know Before the Meeting/Event/Training

Usually our clients will provide us scheduling information, or we will create it and the instructors/presenters will receive emails with all the information they need to access the web based delivery system.  The following are the items you will likely receive in emails:

  • The link to the meeting with dates and times
    • Check the dates and times for these. We have found a number of errors in the past. We have to let Cisco know as they control these sessions until you successfully reclaim the host role.

  • Host Key information that will be required for you to control the meeting and attend as a host.
  • You may receive attendance lists (more on this later)

It is vital that you properly save these materials as they may be sent months in advance.  It is strongly recommended that you have a good folder system established in your email so you can quickly locate appropriate information.

Webex has several different types of services.  Sometimes we get to pick, but usually our clients select the environment. 

  • Meeting Center: Provides an interactive environment for online business meetings, instant collaboration and presentations.
  • Event Center: Is the multimedia communications solution for large-scale, online events.
  • Training Center: Provides an online classroom that enables cost-conscious organizations to deliver engaging and effective instructor-led training—to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
We always want to have all the contents for the session in advance.  If you need a Webex or Mikogo session scheduled to prepare these items, please request them to Andy Walding.  You should have all the following items prepared in advance:
  • Any presentation materials you are going to use.  Make sure you have tested your presentations.  Beware of custom animation.  Custom Animation in PowerPoint is heavy on bandwidth and is best avoided.  Animation of some things does not even work!
  • Any student polls
  • Any pre-drawn Whiteboards
  • Any special instructions you want to provide attendees.  This is critical, as we often use the CellStream Online School to provide reference materials, quizzes, and much more.  Things like links, Enrollment Keys, and any pre-class instructions should be readily available so you can pull them up on screen or paste information into the the Chat area.
Create Polls and Whiteboards in Advance
  • The Polling tool in WebEx lets you create a Poll in advance and save it to your desktop.
    1. Open a WebEx Meeting
    2. Create a poll
    3. Click the Save button in the toolbar on the polling panel
    4. Choose a location to save your file
    5. To load the poll file during a meeting, click the Open button in the polling panel toolbar and locate your saved file. It will open automatically in the polling panel
  • You can create and save a poll in any WebEx meeting and use it in subsequent meeting
  • The Whiteboard works in a similar fashion.
 

Meeting/Event/Training Set Up – What You Need to Know on the Day

On the day of your meeting/event/training, as the host/trainer it is important to log in 30 minutes before the attendees are scheduled to join and the session is scheduled to start.  We ask all our clients to make sure when they set everything up that this 30 minute window is provided at a minimum.

There are a number of tasks that must be performed in the first 15 minutes.  Here are the items and procedures:

  • Ensure the meeting settings are correct.
  • Upload the presentations/files and make sure navigation is properly working.
    • A meeting starts as soon as someone logs in. To ensure participants can upload files prior to the scheduled meeting time, check the option in WebEx Settings to allow them to enter the meeting 10-15 minutes early.
    • Once the meeting has started, anyone can load presentations or documents using the Share menu
    • The presentation will be visible as a tab on the WebEx Quick Start screen.
    • Multiple presenters can “pass the ball” to annotate the document. Note that the annotation tools does not edit the document. To edit a document, share your desktop and open the document there.
      • To upload a file, On the Quick Start screen, click on the Present a Document option.
      • Browse and select the document you want to share.
      • You will notice that WebEx creates a tab visible on the Quick Start page for each presentation you upload. Click the tab for the document or presentation you want to share.
  • Upload Whiteboard and Poll files.
  • Upload any special student instruction files.
Important Note:  Do not close the meeting window or your meeting will end—attendees will not be able to log in to it.  

  • If you enter a meeting early and then close the meeting window, the meeting will be over and participants will not be able to join.
  • If you are going to leave the meeting once it has started, you can designate another person to host. In Meeting Manager, right click another participant’s name and change their role to host.

Create Alternate Hosts

  • To ensure that a meeting can continue in the event that you are unavoidably detained or there is a technical issue, you should create an alternate host. On the Resources tab in WebEx Settings, check the box next to the name of the person you are nominating for this role.
  • For TelePresence meetings or Video Conferences, nominate an alternate host who is familiar with the conferencing equipment in each location. 

Allow Attendees to Join a Meeting before it Starts

  • Check the option for Attendees can join meeting __ minutes before starting time and select the minutes.
  • If you want them to be able to join the teleconference before the starting time, check the Attendees can also join teleconference before starting time item on the Audio and Tracking tab.

Starting TelePresence Meetings

  • Check the TelePresence Calendars the day of your meeting to make sure they are listed in the appropriate rooms.
  • Go into the TelePresence room before the attendees are scheduled to arrive and make sure the meeting is listed on the console
  • Go into the WebEx web link before the attendees are scheduled to arrive and load any presentations that will be shared.
  • Remember that once you start your meeting, you must stay in the meeting.  If you log out, that ends your meeting and your participants will not be able to join at the appropriate time.

WebEx Conferencing for Audio-Only Meetings:

  • If document or application sharing is not required for your meeting, WebEx can still be used for audio-only teleconferencing provided that at least one participant (host OR attendee) is able to also log into the web session. The WebEx teleconferencing (audio) function will not be activated unless this occurs. Note: Either host or attendee can initiate the audio function within a WebEx session, but only the host or alternate host can initiate the other functions such as Video, Sharing & White boarding.
  • If you anticipate that none of your participants (including host) will have network access or be able to log into a web session at the time of your meeting, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace is recommended as a better alternative for audio-only calls.

Using WebEx with Video Conference Units:

  • If all meeting attendees are participating from within the Cisco network, each can dial directly into the assigned Video-Bridge-8100xxxx number from a Cisco IP phone, Tandberg or Video Conferencing unit to be connected to the audio and video portions of the meeting. WebEx can then be used for presentation sharing only.  All audio will be provided through the video bridge connection and not through WebEx.  Therefore, participants should cancel out of the call-back option once they’ve logged into the WebEx session by selecting Cancel when the “Join Teleconference” dialogue box is presented.
  • Unlike with MeetingPlace, WebEx audio cannot yet be “bridged” to the audio from a Video Conference (VC) session.  Therefore, if more than one participant will be dialing in from an external/non-Cisco-IP phone (ie. mobile or home #), you should consider using Cisco Unified MeetingPlace in place of WebEx to more effectively connect all participants.

Using WebEx with Telepresence:

  • Video through TelePresence & WebEx is not yet fully integrated.  Therefore WebEx-only participants are not able to see those participating via TelePresence.
  • It is possible however to connect TelePresence audio with a WebEx audio teleconference through the conferencing capabilities in TelePresence.

To do this, follow these steps.

  • The Host or Alternate Host must first log in to the WebEx web conferencing session using the meeting credentials.
  • The Host or Alternate Host must Cancel out of the Call Back dialog box to close it – the teleconferencing bridge will be opened for audio-only callers once the WebEx session is started.
  • Join the TP session by selecting your meeting on the TelePresence Call Manager display.
  • Press Confrn, enter your local dial in number including the digit to access an outside line (Example: 9 +1 866 432-9903), and press Dial.
  • Press Tones, enter 3, and press Send.
  • Enter the WebEx Meeting number followed by#, and press Send.
  • Speak your name and any additional information, press # and then Send.
  • Press Exit and then Cnfr/Join to join your meeting.
  1. When your meeting ends, press EndCall to end both the audio bridge and TelePresence call.
 

Best Practices During the Meeting/Event/Training

The following tips and best practices should be followed during the session.
 

Always have a “Who are the Students Poll” and Query the Students from Time to Time

This is vitally important and should be run during the first 30 minutes of any Web Based delivery class.  It gives the instructor a chance to learn a little about the students and the make up of the class.
 
Also, during the class regularly ask for a “show of hands” (Students can use the Hands Up tool in most Web Delivery tools) to ask impromptu questions and engage the students throughout the course.

Use the Annotation and Participant Panel tools in the Application!  

This is very important.  We are trying to engage students.  Any web-based meeting/training has to meet the challenge of maintaining attention and interest of the students.  WebEx has an attention tracking capability where next to attendee names, a little exclamation point is displayed when they are clicked on another item on the desktop.  But don’t be fooled, many students/attendees have multiple monitors, so they are likely still engaged even though WebEx says they are not.

Here are some suggestions:

  • When presenting slides, use the pointers, use the highlighter, and use the drawing tools to check off,, or underline key points.  This annotation helps the students follow you.
  • Ask questions.  Ask students to respond using the icons and emoticons in the participant panel such as raising their hand, clikcing the check or the X.
  • When on break use the emoticons yourself – select the coffee cup
  • After breaks or labs, have students raise their hand to indicate they are complete or back and present

Use the Polling System

This is a great way to control attention.  You must have these polls prepared.  The polls we suggest are as follows:

  • A poll for “Who are the students?”  This allows you to learn who the students are, their level of knowledge, etc..  A sample you can edit and customize can be found here.
  • A poll at the end of each major topic top check on knowledge gained as well as drive key points home.  Think of this as a little quiz, but do not call it that.   A sample of such a quiz can be found here.

Monitoring Chat and the Q&A

  • If you are presenting, you will find it helpful to nominate someone else in the meeting, with the expertise to respond to questions, to monitor and respond to chat.

Second or Third Day Start – Inclusion Exercise

Beginning on the second or consecutive days of a Web Based training, always start by opening a Whiteboard.  Type in at the top of the white board “Something I Learned during yesterday’s training:”  Tell the students you are looking for at least 12-15 items. 

Then ask the students to contribute one item by speaking up.  It takes a little monitoring.  Type in each item the students offer, essentially as they say it.  Use paraphrasing only to shorten their point.

Muting

Some of our clients set up meeting/training where all attendees are muted when they enter.  I do not like this.  Change the meeting settings to alter this.  The problem with the default muting thing is that you must unmute everyone at some point.  Then the attendees can control this themselves.  

While experience has found that even people who attend these sessions regularly are prone to ignoring the general need to control background noise.  As the leader, you must properly mute people as needed.  Always apologize for having to do so.  One thing to avoid is getting repetitive here.  So once you have done it twice, just mute without saying anything.

  • Sometimes a host or presenter will want to mute participants. 
  • On the Participant menu, choose Mute All. 
  • To unmute an individual, select them in the Participant panel and then choose Unmute
  • Choose Unmute All to remove muting from all participants 

Roster

The instructor must update the roster by indicating who attended.  This is not easy.  It is recommended that you ask all attendees to sign in using their full name on the Webex.  You can also find the students who signed in to the CellStream online school by clicking on participants.

 
 

Note:

  • Only one TP room should dial into a WebEx bridge. Echo and poor sound quality will result if more than one room is dialed into WebEx.
  • The Host should log in to the WebEx Conference before the TelePresence call connects to the session to ensure the audio bridge is established.
  • The audio bridge in WebEx is the number any audio-only participants will use to connect. Otherwise audio-only callers must be conferenced in from the TelePresence IP phone.
  • Join TelePresence WebEx conferences up to 10 minutes before they begin. Be sure to join the TelePresence meeting before adding audio-only participants.

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