Use of the WeBex Chat Window during student presentations

Editors Note: This week we welcome a guest Blogger Professor Wally Towner from the School of Business.  While Professor Towner was using a tool called WebEx his methodology can be applied to any web conferencing tool including Wimba Classroom, the WPI Supported Web Conferencing tool.  We here in the ATC were excited to hear of Professor Towner’s use of Web Conferencing to help students develop their presentation techniques in an online environment and we hope this helps to spark some ideas for you as well!

I have been getting more familiar with WebEx in my blended lectures for the B-School and I want to share a very simple idea about interacting with the class participants when they are presenting final project reports and the like.
During the first WebEx session where the students were presenting, I was interrupting them by speaking my questions and waiting for a response. This requires the student to first recognize what was asked or said and then formulate a response; both of these processes cause gaps in the presentation and makes the WebEx session longer than it needs to be.
So, during the last night of the course I used the chat feature to type out my questions while they were presenting and when the student who is presenting saw the question they could respond at a time that fits into their presentation thus avoid pausing while speaking to the class.
One of the valuable learning tools we can use during presentations is to get the student to answer questions that may not have been addressed in the project. This checks their thought process, allows them to think and respond in real time to potentially challenging questions and demonstrates the students overall mastery of the material in front of the class.
All of this is terrific stuff, but can it be annoying if I am interjecting and causing a subsequent catch-up from the students.
So, the live chat feature, which is viewed by the whole class, has not only my interrogatories for the presenters, but anecdotal comments that bear on the case or connect current events without having to stop the process flow.
The chat feature worked well for me and a side benefit is that the other students also responded to the chat window with their own comments, none of which stopped the presentation.
See you around!

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