Webinar

Interactive lesson where students 'attend' online.

Introduction

A webinar (as the name suggests, a “web” “seminar” ) is a lesson that takes place online, where students “attend”, view, and participate via the internet. When conducted using a platform that supports meaningful audience participation, the format can be very interactive.

Example

Ageing in Society, Program Introduction Webinar (recorded), Massive Open Online Course, University of Melbourne 2017

When introducing new, wholly online graduate programmes of study, the MSPACE team chose live broadcast webinars using a panel discussion format to answer student-submitted questions.

What the research says

Webinars have shown to be as effective as classroom teaching in some contexts (Joshi et al. 2013), and have the added advantage of being more accessible as students can attend from anywhere they have an internet connection. Compared to other types of educational videos, webinars allow for much more interaction, and create the potential for question-answer activities and immediate feedback.

Production tips

  • Webinars are designed around synchronous interaction – but like lectures, they are frequently recorded and reused as asynchronous teaching material.
  • Don’t expect viewing a pre-recorded webinar to have the same effectiveness as participating in a live discussion.
  • There are a range of web conferencing platforms available, offering a range of features to support audience interaction. Test out a few to find the one that best supports the needs of your webinar.
  • Just like a regular seminar or tutorial, scaling up the size of a webinar group while maintaining meaningful interactivity is challenging – you may need to develop a new set of online classroom management tricks and skills.
  • As with all video formats, good audio quality is critical – invest in an external microphone, and pay attention to the audio environment around you. The quieter, the better.

Further resources

University of Melbourne offers free access to the Zoom online conferencing platform

Guide to the Zoom user interface for students

Further reading

Joshi, P., Thukral, A., Joshi, M., Deorari, A. K., & Vatsa, M. (2013). Comparing the Effectiveness of Webinars and Participatory learning on essential newborn care (ENBC) in the class room in terms of acquisition of knowledge and skills of student nurses: a randomized controlled trial. Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 80(2), 168–170.

This page was last updated on 20 Dec 2018.

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