Skills day 2008: Elluminate

Maryse Fisher & Malcolm Bodley – RSC Eastern

Maryse: RSC Eastern has used online tools for a couple of years for smaller events – have used Instanter Presenter (IP) and trialled some others. Have a licence to try out Elluminate for this year and will run a pilot. Want it to be a collaboration with other RSCs. One of the features we are very interested in is the accessibility features and working with Techdis to really give this a trial.

Malcolm: used IP a few times but only had Elluminate for a short time. Have been asked to explain how the experiences we have with those two and the kind of pitfalls encountered with this kind of delivery.

Before the event
We have a pre-registration form we send out before the presentation which tells users how to set up their computers and ask for their contact details so if anything goes wrong we can phone them up and let them know. Users have our number in case of any problems. Often with online events can forget to get numbers but can be v useful. We send a link with the form which goes to the Elluminate website and checks the Java software and ensures that their computer is compatible. We suggest that ask people to log in 10-15mins before the event starts as a good time to test out the equipment, if they can hear you ok and if the text part of the tool is working. Can also use an interactive map where people add in where they are based.

Presenter advice
Don’t try to do this alone – get help from a colleague, especially to field questions that come in. Normally have two people doing this – one fields questions and the other presents online. Better if in same room. Generally as a presenter I would use two computers as often a time lag but make sure it is muted otherwise you get feedback. Can then see how the transition of the slides is going etc and if need to speed up or slide down. Camera position – think about the same rules you would use in a classroom eg don’t stand in front of a window. Don’t scratch your nose!
We try to position a banner behind the camera so get some marketing in as well. Take the participants around the interface and show them where the tools are, how they can raise attention etc.
As a presenter you can’t see your audience so hard to guauge how it’s going – or even if they are still there! So use the polling facility to help check there is life at the other end. Try not talk more than 15mins online – intersperse that with some questions, then give them an activity to do.

Some problems encountered
Make sure the pop up blocker is disabled. Some people can’t hear the sound if they have muted their machine by accident. Internet connection issues can cause intermittent sound problems. If have loss of connectivity useful to have someone on a different network who has the rights to take over and carry on. Think about these things beforehand – have a back up.

Malcolm then went on to demonstrate Elluminate.

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