Recommended class size: up to and exceeding 250+
Recommended length: up to 90 minutes
There may be situations that require large group sessions, such as one-off set piece lectures with a guest lecturer, where it is not feasible to create a smaller series of asynchronous learning objects.
You may wish to arrange and set up a “set piece lecture” where students and your guest join one another in a session for a lecture-style presentation.
If you are going to have large sessions above 250 participants, please note that:
- Microsoft Teams Meetings have a recommended participant limit of 300, after which call quality may degrade. See Microsoft best practices for running a large meeting using Teams. You can also speak with DTS if you intend to run a large session.
- Blackboard Collaborate has a participant limit of 250, but can accommodate up to 500 in “Webinar Mode”, this setting must be applied 72 hours before the start time of the session. Please note that attendees will not be able to use their microphones or webcams in a session above 250 participants. Guidance: Large scale sessions
What interactions should I use?
Your guest may have interactions planned where they ask questions to their audiences or wish to use polls or other quizzing applications. Work out at the planning stage how these interactions can be implemented in their presentation. It is likely that online webinars of this format will be less active than your usual webinars, however.
- Chat – Think about how you wish to use the chat in a session like this. Your guest may not be used to answering questions or following chat during a webinar as a live exercise and may prefer to answer questions towards the end.
- Let your students know how you’d like them to use the chat facility and when it is appropriate for them to ask questions or make comments. You may decide that you want to disable the chat functionality until the end of the presentation for the lecturer to take questions, or take on the role of a moderator yourself to ‘collect’ questions to feed to the presenter at a particular time.
- Audio / Video – Good quality audio for your presenter is essential, a set piece lecture will likely be heavier on presentation than an active learning based webinar. Video is also good for building a connection with the attendees and letting them see who is presenting. You may want to consider disabling these features for attendees, only enabling microphones during questions, for example. Retain control of this interaction by asking students to raise their hands to be invited to speak.
- Polls – these can be a quick and effective way of getting audience responses and feedback. Can you make use of the built in polling tool in Blackboard Collaborate or perhaps you want to share a Mentimeter or Padlet with your students to collate questions during the presentation. Plan in advance who will be charge of setting them up and whether the presenter needs someone to moderate these activities for them. Guidance: Polls in Blackboard Collaborate | Polls in Microsoft Teams
Practice with your guest
Guest lecturers or speakers may not be familiar with your online platform or may not have taught in this way at all before. Let them know in advance what to expect by sending them resources to read about how the tool works and, if possible, arrange a short practice session with them so that they can become familiar with the environment before their presentation.
- Ask them to use a supported browser, such as Google Chrome, when joining your session, or to download the Teams app if they can.
- Show them how to use the audio and video features – ask them if they have a microphone available, and recommend the use of a headset
- Check that you can hear one another
- Check that their presentation functions as intended. Some platforms will convert a PowerPoint into a PDF which sometimes can have odd effects on images and text – ask them to save their presentation as a PDF in advance to avoid these complications
- Do they have essential animations in their presentation, or do they use another platform like Prezi? Show them how they can share their screen so that they can present effectively
- Seek support if you’re experiencing issues to see if there is a solution for you – email@example.com