Web-Based Videoconferencing

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Seeing Face to Face: Web-Based Video Conferencing

Sustained relationships are essential for effective faith formation yet it is increasingly difficult to find time to meet physically. Improvements in Internet connection speeds and lightweight browser plug-ins are making reliable, affordable web conferencing available like never before. Churches and schools are getting in on the action, facilitating face-to-face connections for small groups, distance learning students, and even guests who want to see what your church is up to. Survey the video-conferencing landscape including Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and Adobe Connect, and find the tool that’s right for you.


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Consider the Range of WEBINARS and WEB CONFERENCES

 2009_WRITE_2 Web conference – Participants only
 DL2011cohort_AnnMarieBunnyEars3 Web conference – Participants, attendee list, chat, notes
 2008_Chapel Webinar – Presenter only 
 2009_AbsolomJones_WilGafney Webinar – Presenter primary, attendees, PowerPoint, chat, files
 InnovatorsWebcall_Apr5_2013_Tom Webinar – Presentation primary, presenter, attendees


How do you choose between them?
Message (Content), Method (Process), then Media 

  • Do you want to develop a community of practice or distribute/share information?
  • What is your preferred style/process for engaging others: presentation <-> interaction
  • Who is available to assist? (There are three primary roles that may be done by an individual for each or multiple responsibilities assigned to the same person)
    • MC – hosts the conversation, encourages banter and introductions during pre-session, provides formal introduction(s) at start time, sets contexts, monitors chat, raises questions, offers connections, etc.
    • Presenter – leads the introduction of material and engagement with it
    • Tech Support – monitors separate phone line for tech issues, records session, introduces netiquette and use of “tools” in the web space, monitors sound and mutes offenders, etc.
  • What do you expect from participants?
    • Pre-session homework?
    • Session activities?
    • Follow-up?
  • What resources do you want to use:
    • PowerPoint or other images
    • Documents shared onscreen (.pdf),
    • Files (upload/download)
    • Web links
    • Notes
    • Chat
    • White board
    • Polls
    • Break-out rooms


Presenters “Dress Rehearsal”/Dry run
This is particularly necessary for new presenters to ensure presentation material is uploaded properly, audio and video connections work, and roles are clarified. This can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on complexity of presentation. When orientation is offered near presentation date, orientation & dress rehearsal can be combined.


Sample Webinar Format (NOTE: Recommend “Dress Rehearsal” Prior to Gathering)

  • Presenter Pre-session – log in, test cameras and microphones, check room lighting/ camera placement/ potential distractions
  • Participant Pre-session – informal interaction/general banter – illicit hopes/expectations
  • Session:
    • Formal Welcome and Intro
    • Tech Introduction
      • netiquette – one speak at a time, name person to speak, mute if not talking
      • features that will be using
    • Participant Intro –  type location in chat (automatically connects with name) and/or show on map
    • Presentation
    • Q/A live and/or in chat
    • Formal Thank you/Close
  • Post-session Debrief


Tech  Demonstrations: Adobe Connect, Google+ Hangout, Skype Multi-user

  • Log In
  • Basic Features
    • Camera on/off
    • Audio on/off – microphone (VoIP)/phone
    • Mute/unmute
    • Raise hand or other indicators
  • Preset Formats
  • Recording
  • Polls
  • Third Party Apps – Map locations