Documentation:Online Workshops/Tips for Facilitators

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This page will walk you through all the steps for planning and facilitating a workshop using Wimba Classroom.

Before Your Event

  • Get Admin access for your Wimba Classroom by sending an email to [Joe Zerdin] with your request and the name of the classroom you want access to.If you don't have a classroom, ask him to set one up for you. If you are presenting a workshop that is part of the Online Workshop Series, the classroom is: Learning Commons Workshops.
  • Make sure that you have a quiet place to present your workshop. If you do not have a quiet place with a secure (preferably wired) internet connection, you can contact Classroom Services to book one although be warned that this will likely mean that you need to bring your own laptop and ethernet cable. If you choose to use Classroom Services, make sure to submit your request over two weeks prior to the event to guarantee that you'll get a room.
  • Run the setup wizard and test the computer and headset that you plan to use at least 24 hours prior to the event. It is helpful to run through your presentation with a colleague prior to the workshop to detect any potential glitches and adjust for them.
  • If you are preparing to deliver a workshop in a Wimba Classroom that has already been set up for you with pre-uploaded content, you may still like to have a PowerPoint Slide prepared introducing yourself as the facilitator. Make sure to have this prepared so that it can be uploaded separately at the start of your presentation.
  • If you are preparing a new workshop, you'll need to prepare and upload you content. Review the steps on the Planning page to learn how to do this.

Communicating With Participants

It is helpful to communicate with registered participants prior to the workshop to remind them of the session. Here are a few things you may want to include:

On the Day of Your Event

  • Log on to the Learning Commons Workshops classroom fifteen minutes prior to your workshop. Don't be nervous if there are already students waiting. You can chat with them or tell them that the workshop is beginning at the specified time. If you are not your unit's administrator, they will have to be logged on to promote you to Presenter status.
  • Make sure that you have download links for any file or hyperlink that you want to use during your presentation. We recommend using clean download link services like FluffyApp (PC) or CloudApp (Mac) although these require some software installation on your computer to generate the link. You can also upload files to the UBC Wiki and give the URL to the participants.
  • Select your presentation folder and load it or upload your own presentation file.
  • You may want to activate the door chime (available under the options menu) to keep track of people entering the session in the first few minutes. A person will appear logged on but will be unable to hear you or read text chat until after you hear the door chime. New participants have no record of earlier chat so if you've pushed any important handouts, you may want to have your co-presenter push the download link again.

Starting Your Presentation

  • Run a sound check to start. It is important to run a brief sound check and orient your participants to the Wimba interface (briefly) before you start. You may also want to explain how you will run the session (use of audio or chat features for participants, etc.)

You can upload these slides to your classroom to help guide your check in process if you like - or integrate them directly into your presentation.


Download the file for use in your Wimba Classroom.

  • Lock the Talk button under options.
  • Introduce your workshop and any guidelines for the session. Some useful guidelines to introduce are:
    • Only use first names or pseudonyms. You may in fact want to announce this one constantly prior to the presentation since it involves the participant logging off of the Wimba classroom and logging back in.
    • Only the presenter should use the Talk button. This reduces distortion and confusion.
    • Use the chat box to ask questions. If a question is private, use the direct message function to discuss with the co-facilitator. Refrain from sending direct messages to the presenter as they will be unable to answer privately during the presentation.
    • For large groups, you may ask them to hold their own questions until you've had a chance to answer questions already in the text chat box. It is recommended that you announce this to start and again when you get a lot of questions.
  • Discuss video archiving early on. It is recommended that you archive every presentation because you never know when you'll get the perfect one. It is important that students understand that this is happening. The video archive copy will not record their text chat or polls, but it will record any voices and questions that you repeat back to the class. Make sure that you address any privacy issues that participants may have and stress the benefit that the archive has for others. You may also want to mention that you will occasionally address issues for the archive viewer such as their inability to see class polls or text chat.
  • Develop good video archive practices. Make sure you have a definitive moment after you click on the archiving button when you introduce the workshop. This is a good time to mention that it is a recording of a live session and that you will be addressing participants during the course of the presentation.

During Your Presentation

  • Ensure the archiving is turned on.
  • Allow extra time for all activities and insert more pauses into your presentation, particularly when switching slides. Slides will lag a bit for participant viewers with slow internet connection so it's best to be sure they are fully loaded. It is also good to present at a slower speed because it will take 2-3 times longer for a student to type a question or comment and you don't want to be on a new topic before they have the opportunity to ask it. Make sure you repeat the question back before you answer it since archive viewers will have no knowledge of it.
  • When undertaking polls, it is a good practice to read or paraphrase the questions and then narrate or summarize back the answers once you've published them. This will have a double benefit of eliminating awkward silence and of keeping archive viewers apace of class events that they cannot see.
  • You may be unable to address all the questions in comments in the text chat. Your co-facilitator should feel free to answer questions in chat that you can't promote to class discussion. An example of this is when you've already begun a new discussion but a question has arrived about a previous slide or discussion point.

Concluding Your Presentation

  • Make sure to send a link to the Online Workshop Series survey. (Who is going to maintain this assessment?)
  • At the end of your presentation make sure to have a definitive moment where you stop archiving. It is recommended that you do this before you open up to unstructured post-workshop discussion since you will not want this archived.
  • Unlock the Talk button
  • Hang around in the online room to see if there are any questions that participants did not want to raise during the session

After Your Presentation

  • Send out a post-workshop e-mail to participants thanking them and reminding them about the survey if they did not have time to fill it out. You will need to send this to update name here since they will be the only one to have access to workshop registration list.
  • If you feel that you had a good session, e-mail CTLT to have the video uploaded to the Learning Commons Online Workshop Kaltura video feed.