What are the aspects you would recommend to pay attention to?

Specifically, we're organizing a seminar series, where we would also like to make the streams available online. It is not so important that the online observers are able to interact, so there could be some lag with the display online. In fact, having full chat interaction with observers like in "hangouts" could be risky, as someone from outside could interrupt the flow.

What are your recommendations on how to organize it? The aims of the stream is to allow people not attending to follow the discussions too and perhaps get more people interested through the shared link. It would be nice to know how many people are observing the link at the time. Otherwise, any ideas would be useful.

For example, we have been thinking about the balance of interaction and visibility of the online stream - it could be that if the stream is too comfortable, the participants might bother to show up, and just observe from home thus potentially unintentionally working against the seminar.

What are your recommendations in how to go about it?


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    At my previous University, the software TheRec is used. It was developed at the University of Osnabrueck (Germany). The homepage seems to be available in German only but the program is available in English language. Nov 21, 2016 at 13:16
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    Hello, for those close vote voters, please see the first part of my answer and give it some time for the OP to revise the question. Online delivery is an important part of our lives but this kind of questions are nearly always approached wrong and got closed. Let's give this one a chance. Nov 21, 2016 at 14:00
  • Hi, thanks for the help in writing. Indeed I hadn't read the instructions in detail and now realize it was partly a shopping question. I tried to write it for more general purpose guidelines of why and the how. On the other hand, the first "related" question to this is highly rated "What's the best way to share my presentation slides online?" and is quite similar in the question and my expected response, so I am partly confused about which questions are suitable after all. Or maybe the guidelines have developed in time? Thanks for your assistance, I will try to improve in the future!
    – puslet88
    Nov 23, 2016 at 9:30
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    @Penguin_Knight If I understand correctly the way SE works, ideally questions with this kind of flaws should get put on hold, edited until they are deemed appropriate, and then reopened. "Be kind and leave this opened while we change it" is not the way to go, in my view. For instance, it encourages answers to the "wrong" version of the question. Nov 23, 2016 at 9:34
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    @Penguin_Knight There's no need to allow time to revise the question before closing: the question can be revised after closing and that will automatically start a reopen vote, as has now happened. Indeed, this is exactly what should happen, to prevent answers to the bad version of the question and also to deal with the possibility that the asker might not bother to revise. It's not realistic to expect that people will remember to check back in a couple of days to see if the question has been edited. Nov 23, 2016 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


This kind of questions are often closed due to being a "shopping question." And yet, I do feel it's important in faculty's life. Perhaps you can reword your question so that it's asking for "What to consider" rather than "Which software to use."

Now onto the question. The answer is "I don't know." It's because the choice of platform can depend on a lot of criteria and not many were presented in the question. What I'd suggest is to identify the education media person and the instruction designer in your institute and schedule a meeting with him/her.

Prior to the meeting, prepare the followings. These are the general information the specialist will need to know:

  1. Is it synchronous (live with real time interaction) or asynchronous (not live or only partially live, with more lag time interaction.) For example, a live lecture that allows people to raise question at the same duration of time is closer to synchronous; an uploaded video of a past lecture with a discussion board for Q&A is more of an asynchronous design. The more details you can provide to the specialist, the more fitting the solution.

  2. Is it closed or open? Do people need to RSVP and log in with user name or password? Or is it just a link that anyone can access?

  3. How many participants are you expecting? Just a ballpark is fine.

  4. Do you need onsite AV and technical support? This has impact on your pricing. But if none of the speakers has experience with technical troubleshooting, I'd suggest get one at least for the first couple sessions.

These are just the works you need to do with the education media person. On your side, there are a lot to think about as well:

  1. Online course has very different design concepts. While some of us may think that it's just an extra camera in the lecture hall but it's a lot more complicated than that. You'd have to consider the pacing, consider if micro-lecture is a better alternative, figure out when to let participation or Q&A happen, and design online assessment and evaluation, etc. Resources are readily available on the Internet and in books. Consult the education media person for details.

  2. The management of the class is also different. For synchronous, I'd suggest have one person do the teaching and one extra person (could be a TA) to manage the chat, collect and curate questions for you. It's often disastrous for the speaker to try jumping between chatting and teaching.

  3. Test run, test run, test run, and test run more. If anything, this is the most important key to success. Find some friends and colleagues to join some test sessions. Collect information on their device and make sure there is a good diversity in operation systems, browsers used, microphone and camera models, desktops or tablets, etc. and make sure the system is as versatile and bullet proof as possible.

  4. Develop an etiquette/technical support guide and circulate it among the participants or make it available as a download prior to the event. The guide should contain i) time and date of the event and details on how to log in. Screenshots with captions are great; ii) explain how to raise question (through chat, e-mail, or bulletin board); iii) explain common etiquette such as mute your microphone when you're not speaking to avoid audio feedback, etc.

  • Thanks! This is a very thorough and thoughtful answer! For our specific case, we did talk to the media person at our uni, but we did not get much help, as they seemed to be not so up to date. The points to consider are really useful! We will definately do multiple test runs, and develop some etiquette of participation. Thanks for your help in formulating the question too!
    – puslet88
    Nov 23, 2016 at 9:32

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