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Tips for Effective Webinars

By Maria H. Andersen / January 2010

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  • Sat, 04 Jul 2015
    Post by Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss)

    Sorry, I reposted the old link by mistake!

    This is the link to the 10 webinar tips:

  • Sat, 04 Jul 2015
    Post by Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss)

    You mentioned checking for lag (in the Desktop Sharing section). To do that, I recommend setting up another computer on your desk and logging as an attendee.

    In fact you might like these 10 tips for webinars, which I just published:

  • Tue, 22 Oct 2013
    Post by Craig Hadden

    Wow! Thanks for such a comprehensive article. Theres lots of great advice here.

    I especially like your tip about not just asking Are there any questions? (Few phrases are more likely to be met with stony silence!)

    Heres an idea for a polling question I think is one of the best. Id love to hear your ideas for others: The best webinar polling question ever?

    (If you prefer not to click obscure links, you can copy and paste it into the box at to decode it.)

  • Tue, 01 Jun 2010
    Post by Nicky Hockly

    Thanks for your very useful webinar tips, Maria. I agree that it's not a good idea to try and share video in the web conferencing platform (sound rarely works either) but I have given webinars in which I've sent participantsout to look at a short video clip of no more than about two minutes. That seems to work fine, and by asking everybody to type 'Back' in the chat window when they have finished and come back into the conference, it's easy to then focus the participants and move the talk along again.

    You might be interested in my blog posts on this very topic from last November: one post has tips for webinar moderators ( and the other has tips for webinar presenters ( There are also some additional tips from readers in the comments on these two posts. The comment about presenters not wearing stripey shirts made me smile :-)

    Nicky Hockly, Barcelona

  • Sun, 28 Feb 2010
    Post by Sara Fuller

    I have a background in technology and education. I had to give a webinar for the very first time recently and noticed the differences between in person presentations and online presentations. The advice about engaging the audience was very useful. Thanks for taking the time to write the article. I am sure that it will help me improve my webinar presentation skills.

  • Tue, 26 Jan 2010
    Post by Andreas

    Hello Maria, we posted a link to your article in our weekly news survey. It contains very valuable recommandations. In our e-teacher community in Switzerland we found that the most difficult part of webinars is engaging your participants. We have therefore collected some advices which are partly similar to yours. But anyhow, perhaps this adds some ideas:

  • Thu, 21 Jan 2010
    Post by Carol Cooper-Taylor

    Great advice Maria. I can't emphasise the turn up early enough. I have supported a number of e-presenters who don't try out the software before and then expect it all to work well on the day. I now do a 30 "rehearsal" with speakers and go through all the "buttons" of the platform a few days before the event. Makes life much easier.

  • Thu, 21 Jan 2010
    Post by Nancy Sattler

    I appreciated all of the tips that you gave Maria. I hope that faculty who are considering creating webinars take the time to read your tips! Nancy

  • Thu, 21 Jan 2010
    Post by Robert Foth

    Thanks for this article Maria.

  • Thu, 21 Jan 2010
    Post by Mary Beth Orrange

    This set of Tips For Effective Webinars will be very useful to me and others who are planning webinars in the near future. They are organized, well-thought out, and show us how to avoid many problems associated with webinars. The ideas in this article will assist us to smoothly make the transition from teachable moments in the classroom to professional presentations to webinars.

    Thank you Maria.

  • Fri, 11 Dec 2009
    Post by Colleen

    Great story, with so many important themes running through. Most interesting to me is that the writer went to a traditional brick and mortar school for an online degree, hoping this would make sense somehow. So far, stories I've heard seem similar...traditional faculty struggling with the concept, but teaching online anyway. Haphazard course development, little support in design or making use of technology for learner-centered use.

    I think this will change and a number of institutions will step up and excel at online programs. I think it's happening now, but the traditional/public/state government schools are doing what they can to stop students from noticing. It won't be long before the combination of engagement+excellent content+design+flexibility+good teachers+cost will drive new learner decisions about the HE experience desired. Times change, so do markets.

  • Sat, 16 May 2009
    Post by Eileen Callejas

    I hold advanced degrees and certifications in education, but was working outside of the industry for about 10 years when I decided to attend a preseigious brick and mortar school to work on an MBA degree. The experience helped me more with getting back up to speed with the use of technology in education than it has with business management... so far. (I taught students in middle school how to use Powerpoint 97, in 1999 to make "gameshow" presentations, as one of my many assigned subjects at the time.) The Private MBA school used a hybrid format, providing notebook computers for each student at the beginning of the program, in addition to the required texts - which many students then re-purchased in audio format. Classes consisted of teacher lectures and powerpoint presentations or computer application demonstrations, and discussions, and could have easily been presented online with voice-over. Students who were absent would "Skype-in" via a classmate to listen in and follow along with the slideshows. Tests were taken in class, and professors had the option to use hard-copy or paperless formats for exams. Students were required to meet and present many group projects, and while some chose to work together in person, other groups met and worked almost exclusively using skype video conferencing technology. The group work often accounted for a good portion of the grade, and the "problem solving" nature of many of the tests in class would have made cheating difficult, I would think. I took a leave from the degree program for pragmatic reasons -to study independently in finance and stock market trading, charting my own course using seminars and online presentations provided by some of the leading commercial instructional companies. It was there that I experienced what e-learning could really be... webinars and virtual trade shows held in virtual reality conference centers with avitars and video conferencing, chats and information sharing... all the bells and whistles that kept me wanting to learn more, read more, and purchase more up-to-the-minute books, keynote speaker sessions, and whitepapers to continue my own "research" with my favorite "mentors" in that field. I am still working on my real-life exam, with my goldleaf edged "Stock Trading Academy" certificate already in hand- the reality of whether I succeed or fail based on my own financial goals in the stock market, and with the expansions I am currently implementing in my management consulting business. I think e-learning is clearly here to stay, and will, most importantly, transform what and how academia "tests" students, or whether students begin to learn for the sake of learning, and are tested by their ability to apply new learning to the real world instead. Regardless, I am enjoying the journey.

  • Wed, 17 Dec 2008
    Post by Scott Delman

    Just testing the system

  • Tue, 25 Nov 2008
    Post by Niall Watts

    I was disappointed to read about the professor''s reaction to plagiarism. There are tools such as Turnitin and Safe Assignment which can detect plagiarised content

  • Sun, 26 Oct 2008
    Post by MC

    I''ve recently moved into online teaching from a conventional classroom. I more or less designed the courses on my own around Blackboard''s technology. After some thought, I decided to have open-book exams that are available for a number of days. Yes, the students can look up the answers, but the advantage is that they then learn the answers. Of course, this works best if the questions are at a high level of Bloom''s taxonomy. The essay questions are rather specific to the course, so it is not usually that easy to plagiarize answers from the web. I deal with any cases of plagiarism the way I would in a regular class. Not many students get 100% on the exams. I don''t quite understand why all that proctoring is necessary. What do others think?

  • Sun, 27 Jul 2008
    Post by Ada Kemp

    my area of major concentration is instructional technology and distance education with minor in adult ed. I specifically decided on being a completely virtual student so that I could experience everything from a student''s point of view since I intend to be an instructor in a distance education situation once I''ve earned the degree. I am participating in this RSS feed as an assignment for my current class and came across your article. It never occurred to me that other students would copy fellow students discussion text and try to pass it off as their own ---- yeesh! Thanks for sharing your experiences. They have opened my eyes to some additional aspects ---- however, this delivery mode is pretty well here to stay so what I''d like to do is make it the best it can be.