Strategies for the Virtual Seminar

Hosting an Adobe Connect session is like assuming the role of the talk show host: it requires a flow of activity, conversation, lecture, and presentation that should be seamless and engaging. Despite geographic separation, creating a dynamic exchange in the third space is not so different from the traditional classroom space. The following suggestions will help to gain mastery of the medium.

By: Randall Packer |

  • Audio-Visual Check – It is important that all participants, including guest speakers are well versed in the audio-visual components of Adobe Connect. Allocate time at the beginning of each session to be sure everyone goes through the Audio Setup Wizard, and that participant tests audio and video.Be sure everyone’s sound levels are equal in volume, and should anyone have feedback issues, they are prepared beforehand to use headphones or earbuds.
  • Guest Speakers – In the case of guest speakers, it is advisable to have a 10 minute technical rehearsal before the session begins to be sure everything is working properly. At all costs, avoid troubleshooting technical issues in the middle of a class or event.
  • Camera Use – Use the technical session at the beginning to bring everyone up on camera one at a time, which helps the class see each other before begnning, particularly if you there is a group larger than six, in which case it is NOT advisable to have everyone on camera at the same time.
  • Microphones – Be sure everyone has their microphone switched off, and turns it on ONLY when they are speaking, otherwise there will be unnecessary noise.
  • Full Screen Presentation – When presenting a Powerpoint, switch back and forth between normal and full screen when it is useful to see the image enlarged. Remember that when going full screen with any pod, that no one can chat, which takes away an important dynamic of the classroom. However, it does help stimulate the flow of a presentation by occasionally enlarging the image to full screen.
  • Student Engagement – It is easy for students to become distracted in class, due to the fact that they are generally at home on their own computers, with easy access to email, etc. In order to draw them into the session, try whenever possible to bring them up on camera, asking questions, keeping the conversation flowing. I also encourage students to make extensive use of the chat room in order to post related comments, questions, links, etc.
  • Web Links – When storing links in the Web links pod, they will launch on the browser of all participants. This is the best way to look at Web pages during class, although it is also possible to paste them into the chat. Check to be sure that links are launching for everyone, because in some cases, it might not work. Using Web links is the best way to watch video, although remember the videos won’t be synchronized. When students are watching a video, give them a cue as to when to start and stop, reminding them to return to Adobe Connect from their browser. Note that YouTube videos will start automatically, while Vimeo generally needs to be started manually.
  • Recording – Adobe Connect sessions can be recorded and accessed later for those who are unable to attend, or for archival purposes. In the “Meeting” menu can be found the “Record Meeting” function. Remember to turn it on when beginning a session, and then stop recording when finished.
  • Chat Transcript – The transcript of the chat session is sometimes useful for archival purposes as well, or an often interesting account of dialogue, links, etc. In the Chat Pod’s contextual menu, the “Email Chat History” is selected in order to send the transcript to your email as a text document.