Sunday, May 11, 2008

Creating Online Courses from Recorded Webinars

An increasing number of webinars are archived and made available to individuals who could not attend the live event. The recorded and archived webinars can have very high value as instructional material for asynchronous courses, and with good instructional design, can lead to a very effective online course.

A poorly planned and executed webinar can be pretty tedious. On the other hand, well-designed and executed webinars can create an outstanding library of useful information. In some cases, it could even constitute the core content of an online or hybrid course.

Elements of Effective Archived Webinars:

1. The objectives of the webinar are clearly stated;

2. The content is organized in a clear sequence, with a logical flow;

3. Audience participation is encouraged (even when recorded, seeing audience participation is engaging) with use of polls, surveys, and interaction;

4. Audio should be spontaneous, conversational, and related to the content. Avoid reading the powerpoints;

5. Use high-impact images that reinforce the objectives of the webinar;

6. Encourage participants to respond, not just with text messages, but also with audio questions;

7. Content is of high quality and relevant to the objectives of the webinar;

8. Content is aligned with the level and needs of the participants;

9. Quizzes, questionnaires, and other interactive elements are included;

10. If the webinar is a part of a series or a sequence, the place in the sequence should be clearly marked.

Screen shot from an Elluminate webinar

A number of webinar providers have targeted the education market and have made their products effective for classroom learning. Perhaps Adobe Connect, Elluminate, and Webex are the most widely used.

Attributes of the most effective webinar programs include:

1. Interactivity with multiple participants;

2. Interactivity includes polling, questionnaires, surveys, and quick quizzes;

3. Individuals can write, draw, doodle in whiteboard area;

4. Participants can chat with the group;

5. Participants can send messages to other partipants;

6. The interface supports audio and video demos;

7. The interface allows the presenter to move graphics and slides at own pace;

8. A log of presenters with contact information can be made available;

9. The interface allows for orderly interactivity (raise hands function, mute, etc.)

10. A moderator / administrator can archive the webinar.

When utilizing the archived webinars, it is very important to not simply create a "wraparound" shell to house the content. Instead, it is important to create a lesson plan that incorporates effective flow, and has learning objectives as well as clear outcomes assessment.

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