Publication Date

August 2011


Web Conferencing and synchronous learning have a specific place in online learning. In fact, Web Conferencing is recognized as a highly collaborative and social learning environment. Web Conferencing can support effect online pedagogy in a number of ways. First, Web conferencing provides tools that support communication between the student and the instructor enabling presence to be established and/or maintained throughout the course. Second, web conferencing provides a didactic communication between two or more users. This provides opportunities to interact and offer feedback on topics relevant to the course. Thirdly, web conferencing allows students to talk through issues or questions they face in the learning process. Finally, the web conference sessions can be recorded for students to review as needed. In order to teach effectively using Web Conferencing tools, faculty members would benefit from learning more about the various Web Conferencing software programs currently available as well as the best teaching practices associated with teaching in virtual classrooms. They also may benefit from understanding the various roles they will fulfill in a virtual classroom including serving as the teacher, the moderator, a participant, as well as the tech support for students during the session. Web conferencing, also known as virtual classrooms, is growing in popularity and offers many tools or resources related to methods of communicating and teaching including: •two-way audio •video •text-based chat •interactive whiteboards •application sharing •presentation delivery, and •feedback tools (such as surveys, polls or self-check quizzes). With these new tools and resources, faculty members and students need to be introduced to effective methods of communicating in Web Conference meetings and also need to be aware of web etiquette. In this session, the presenters will share five best practices associated with effective teaching practices using Web Conferences. The various roles the teacher plays in the Web Conference will be addressed. In addition, a summary list of web etiquette will be distributed. The attendees will receive information from two faculty members who have used two different Web Conferencing software programs (one is paid and one is an open source software). Attendees will also receive a summary comparison of Web Conferencing software that is based on current 2010-2011 reports. Finally, the attendees of this session will be able to participate in a question and answer segment where additional Web Conferencing resources and experiences will be shared.

Journal Title

17th Annual Sloan Consortium: International Conference on Online Learning