Campus options include three licensed video-conferencing tools: WebEx, MS Teams, and Skype for Business. WebEx integrates directly with Blackboard which can be beneficial. Decide on platform before initiating contact with attendees as different tools may work better for different circumstances.
Take time before the meeting to familiarize yourself with your chosen platform and any other equipment you will need. Workshops, documentation, and other resources are available. This includes:
If you are the host of the meeting, provide documentation and instructions to students/attendees prior to first session and identify where the MUTE and MUTE ALL buttons are.
If you are an attendee, make sure you have downloaded the app to your computer. You can do this by trying to join the meeting when you get the invitation. You will be prompted to download the app.
Prior to a meeting:
Above all, create a backup communication plan in case you have trouble connecting with remote participants.
Arrive early to the meeting and make sure your audio and video are working.
Often, but not always, the person who called the meeting is the facilitator. If you are giving a lecture, it may be beneficial to have a student, or an alternate host, monitor the chat to alert you to questions to help you maintain your focus.
If you plan to record a meeting, be sure to let everyone know ahead of time and announce when the recording starts.
Be sure to provide attendees with access to the recording after the meeting.
Make sure that you avoid distractions for both you and your students/attendees.
Noise can be a large issue. The use of a headset is recommended for all participants to ensure better audio quality and limiting background noise and interference.
If in a public environment, make sure that there are no distractions from other people, and that you do not distract them. Friends and family should be made aware that you are attending a web conference.
If you are on a call with more than two participants and you’re not using a headset it is advisable to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. This will significantly reduce background noise for everyone on the call.
Think about your computer screen as a frame, you want to be front and center, ideally sitting up straight with your upper body showing.
The closer to eye-level and front-facing, the more it will look like you are talking directly to the person on the end of the call. If you’re using your mobile device for a video call, keep it as steady as possible and hold it out in front of you at eye level.
Make sure your room is bright and position a light towards your face so that you are clearly seen. Do not sit in front of a window or light yourself from behind.
When you join a video conference, your fellow participants/students will be able to see everything behind you. Choose a plain background to sit in front of or make sure that the background that your students see looks professional.
If your computer is able, Teams has the option to blur your background or to add a new background in your video. It is best to use something unobtrusive, overly relaxed backdrops should be reserved for casual chats with friends and family outside of work.
A video meeting is usually more casual than an in-person meeting, however, you should look professional. If you would normally wear a suit, go ahead put on your suit jacket, if your work attire is casual that’s fine but attire that would not be worn to work (i.e., tank tops, pajamas) should not be worn in a video meeting
To appear your best on video, wear light, neutral earth tones or solid, pastel colors. Light blue is an excellent color. Avoid wearing any fabrics with distracting patterns, such as stripes or polka dots, the colors red or white, or any bright color.
If you plan to share a file or your desktop during a meeting close everything on your desktop and then open only the tabs or files you plan to share. It is a good idea to even change laptop settings so that files are not visible on your desktop. We live our lives on our computers these days, be very careful not to share things you don’t mean to.
Look receptive and attentive during the meeting just as you would in an in-person meeting/class. Mute other technology and focus on the meeting.
If you are hosting the meeting, make sure that you thank the students/attendees for attending and letting them know that the session is completed. As an attendee, be sure to say “goodbye” when you leave the video call.
By now, we’re sure you’ve seen or heard of viral videos, tweets, and images about people carrying their devices into the bathroom or other embarrassing locations, thinking they’ve turned off their video calling app when they haven’t… don’t be a meme! Disconnect from your meeting when you’re done.