Area of application
The area of application for online seminars is broad. A typical example of an online seminar is an exchange of experiences and know-how between representatives of different countries or different sectors on a specific topic. Online seminars can have an informative or an awareness-raising purpose. An online seminar can be a single event or a part of a larger online seminar series.
The target group for seminars can vary depending on the topic and the project. It is possible to reach a large audience as in terms of organization additional participants typically do not require any further effort (unless breakout groups are foreseen) and the interaction is not affected. Online seminars can be conducted with many participants (a hundred or even more) if the technical aspects allow it. Furthermore, the online seminar could be recorded and made available on PTB’s Youtube channel, Moodle or project homepages, thus reaching an even larger audience. Often online seminars are relatively short, not very technical and open to a very high number of participants. Therefore, additional people can be reached who normally do not participate in the project activities.
The number of input providers might vary depending on the length of the online seminar. Inputs should last 10-15 minutes, which allows for three to five speakers in case of a 60-90 min online seminar. Experience shows that shorter online seminars are more likely to attract participants’ interest to register and keep their interest during the online seminar.
One person is needed to moderate the online seminar and guide the audience through the different presentations and the Q&A session. Most direct interaction (communication and participation) occurs between the moderator and the speakers, whereas interaction with the audience is limited to the Q&A session and an occasional use of a chat or live polling tools, if appropriate.
To better tailor the content of the event and interact with the audience, relevant information (e.g. professional background, opinions, experiences, etc.) might be gathered before the event as part of the registration process or during the event by using the chat function or poll tools. In addition to longer Q&A sessions, short interaction with the audience (e.g. via poll tools or chat) are suited to get and keep them engaged.
At the end of the online seminar, the moderator can give the opportunity to the audience to ask questions, either by speaking directly (“raise hand”), or by writing in a chat or a Q&A tool. A time-saving and fun way to assess what has been captured by the audience is to set up a quiz to be answered after the presentations. Selected representatives of participant groups might be invited to the speakers room to provide feedback.
If more interaction is needed, the online seminar could be followed by a workshop session with separate breakout groups or participants might be invited to a group chat or an informal meeting.
Generally, no follow-up communication is required. However, the organizers could share the presentations with the audience before or after the event (see asynchronous working). It might also be helpful to draft a written Q&A document and to share it with the participants.