Managing expectations is a key part of successful online interactions. Here are some guidelines for managing online sessions (including webinars) which should help them to run more smoothly. These have been adapted from:
- Treat all participants with respect. If you would not say something to someone's face, do not say it to them when online.
- Be careful when using humour or sarcasm as it can easily give offence, especially when you cannot see facial expressions.
- Use clear and concise language, remember participants can be based anywhere in the world and English may not be their first language.
- All communication should be academic in nature and include correct spelling and grammar and references where appropriate.
- Keep caps lock use to a minimum as IT CAN MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.
- Use standard fonts and font sizes such as Arial/Times New Roman, 11-14 font size.
- Avoid text speak and slang (e.g. LOL or besties).
- Only use emoticons when appropriate (some users can find them really annoying).
- Think about the use of attachments; are the files really relevant and are they suitable for use on any device? PDF's are device neutral so are an option if you really need to share something.
- Have you considered copyright on any images you share? If in doubt share a link to an image as this puts the copyright onus on the website owner, not you.
Guidelines for webinars
- Make sure everything works before the session begins; give yourself time before the session starts to do this.
- Use a headset; other participants do not want to hear themselves through your speakers.
- Do not talk over others; wait your turn.
- If using a webcam ensure you have appropriate lighting and dress and limit distractions; keep pets out of the room and tell children you are working and not to disturb you.
- If you are sharing your desktop ensure only relevant (and appropriate) windows are open.
- Do not use the whiteboard tools unless directed to do so by the webinar presenter or moderator.