From “webinarghghgh!” to “webinaaaaaah…”

Last week the Faculty Librarians presented 3 webinars via Zoom on trial e-resources, one for library staff and a further two for staff and students across all 4 faculties. The aim of the session was twofold: firstly to promote the vast number of resources we currently have on a temporary basis. And secondly, to use this as the first step in delivering a range of webinars across the coming months on other topics. Considering this was our first foray into webinar hosting there was a decent attendance and the feedback received was very encouraging. We also learned a fair bit about the do’s and don’ts of presenting a session like this via Zoom!

Some practical things we learned:

  • Practice your session beforehand. We were very pleased we had done this, as numerous things went wrong! In particular I’d recommend practicing sharing your screen and switching between different applications (e.g. moving from a PowerPoint to a web demo) as we found that you had to un-share and re-share your screen between switching applications, or it didn’t work!
  • All presenters using the same University background image looked good. We found one that made it look as if we were stood on the grass outside the Bill Bryson Library. Although it must be said that it did give one of the Faculty Librarians a ghost-like appearance. Think Obi-Wan returning from the grave to give Luke Skywalker sage advice. About e-resources.
Help me Faculty Librarian, you’re my only hope…
  • Practice switching between different presenters, and be sure to set up your fellow presenters as such when you arrange the webinar meeting initially. Otherwise they may not be able to assume control at the right time.
  • Make sure you are logged into Zoom as yourself, not a guest
  • It is best to have at least 2 presenters – one to take the questions that may come in via the chat box, and maintain the ‘flow’. It’s also nice to hear more than one voice and have a colleague there for support – both moral and technical!
  • If you get distracted by your own image, cover it up. A folded-up piece of paper over the screen works for me and stops me constantly looking at my own hair and grimacing.
  • Be sure to explain how Zoom works to the attendees, as not everyone will have used it before, or at least not very often. Also, you’ll have to tell them to mute their microphones more than once (and some still won’t do it!), so you may prefer to mute them yourself! If not, you may find that other attendees are irritated by constant interruptions/background noise, and it may prove a distraction to you as a presenter.
Richard Pears, Faculty Librarian for Arts and Humanities, demonstrates British Online Archives

The next webinar we will be running will be on eBooks – what we have, how to access them and how to make use of them. This will be running in July. For a list of upcoming online training, both internal and external, see our Online Training page.

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