Web based conferencing features
Many web based conferencing solutions are rich in applications that can make your meeting a dynamic, interactive experience. Here is an overview of commonly available features of web based conferencing:
For the presenter:
Screen sharing — "Desktop sharing" shows anything that appears on the presenter's computer, from a single chart or diagram to a complex application. "Application sharing" allows the presenter to select only one application so the audience cannot see other programs running on the presenter's computer. More advanced web conferencing applications enable users to define an isolated region of the screen so the presenter has full control over what the audience can view. All of these forms of screen sharing allow the session leader to pass control of the shared computer to other participants in the session. This feature is great shared moderator duties, collaborative projects, or student-controlled exercises.
Slide presentations — Instead of depending on screen sharing to show presentations, some solutions allow session organizers to upload PowerPoint or other presentations then advance through the slides in session. Not only does this consume less bandwidth, but it gives presenters confidence that the right slides are in place for each user.
White boarding — Easy-to-use annotation tools enable users to highlight specific elements on a slide, draw diagrams, and write notes live on screen to support brainstorming sessions. More advanced systems allow multiple users to annotate simultaneously to support a more collaborative environment.
Web touring — Display Web pages as you click your way through them. This can be significantly easier than verbal instructions such as "click on the third link from the top in the left hand side" to guide a person through a site.
File transfer — Send files to everyone at the conference at one time. Additionally, some web conferencing solutions allow participants to download the finalized version of a document that they were collaborating on and modifying during a session.
For the audience:
Live chat — Attendees talk amongst themselves and/or with the moderator through live person-to-person chat or group discussion. Most solutions offer both a "public" and "private" chat option, and the choice between the two options will depend on how collaborative the leader wants the session to be.
Q&A — Most commonly, a chat interface collects questions from attendees throughout the event for a Q&A session at the end of the meeting, allowing participants to play a more active role in the conference. More interactive events can do this informally, without a dedicated feature.
Polling — Gives the moderator instant feedback by providing attendees a set of questions with multiple-choice answers. You can view the results during the meeting and discuss the results, or analyze the data afterwards. Some tools also give the option of doing instant surveys or tests.
Help request — Attendees can quietly alert you that they don't understand something or need help with an application without disrupting the flow of your meeting.
Content Management — Part of holding a great online meeting is being able to easily access a library of stored content (commonly used PPTs, for example). Many web conferencing solutions allow users to have content associated with their company site or with a particular employee's meeting room to streamline meetings, especially spontaneous, un-scheduled ones.