Earlier this week, Mike Morrison and I ran the second of the #cipdlrn summer ‘play’ schools (read about the first one here). This session was quite different from last week’s session in that we had a lot more participants – ten this week compared with three last week.
That meant there was some more, and different, learning from this session.
As there were ten participants in total the event was more ‘push’ than the previous week. It had to be as we wanted to make sure everyone got what they wanted from it. This meant Mike talked through some of the functionality whilst I focussed on the text chat and tweeting.
It is important to be realistic about how interactive you can make an online event. As the numbers get bigger, the ‘interactivity’ changes. Under five participants and you can keep microphones on; more than that and text chat comes into its own.
This seemed to work and well and I’d recommend it as an approach for bigger groups. Enable the session host to run the event, bring people in on the microphone, screen share etc and have a colleague looking after the text chat, where participants can ‘talk’, ask questions etc. Mike also picked up on topics raised in chat to steer what he was saying and doing.
So, we started by asking, via chat, what participants wanted to get out of the session. Here are some of the responses:
- Looking at other virtual classroom technology
- To see what it’s like to operate as a host
- Just interested to find out what the session is all about
- Just testing this system as part of options
- Not absolutely sure if I’m honest!
We then went on to look at how to use polls and tests, how the chat function worked and how ‘hands-up’ worked too. Mike enabled everyone to become an organiser so we could take turns at screen sharing.
Prior to the session, Mike asked participants to create a slide to help introduce themselves, which was a good way of using the technology to provide a more visual introduction.
Here are some more learning points that came out of the session:
- Screen sharing and enabling all participants to doodle on a document or slide is a good, fun way to get things started (see ours above)
- In fact, Mike Collins suggested creating simple games such as ‘wacky races’ in which participants ‘drive’ around a course with their pen tool
- Text chat is a great way to keep the conversation and discussion going whilst other things are happening i.e. the host is sharing something.
- Polls and tests are a simple way to get more interactive. That said, you need to think about how to do these. They can be pre-loaded or created on the fly.
- Always have a chat buddy who monitors chat – I really value chat in online sessions as easier to manage than voice
- If numbers permit you can design your slides for interactive responses
- There were a couple of suggestions for free screen sharing technology – DimDim and Joinme.
Before we all signed off, one participant suggested it would be useful to run dummy 10-minute sessions with peers to test out the technology and to gather some peer feedback. That’s something we will aim to do in there future.
In the meantime we are aiming to run some more of these drop-in sessions. If you are interested in joining a future session then look out for updates on Twitter – on the #cipdlrn hashtag – or in the Linkedin CIPD members group.