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I had the privilege of attending an instructor lead SAS Viya 3.3 administration course recently.  I have attended many in-person classroom based courses in the past, plus the odd webinar but this was my first Web Class or online course where participants could engage with the instructor and join from anywhere.

Adobe Connect was the weapon of choice for this course, my first time using this tool. This blog has a brief rundown of useful features for running an online course so that the attendees are all actively participating, in case you are considering something similar.

Interaction Features

There were many features available but as a class we heavily used these few to interact:

  • Raise Hand (if you had a question or wanted to speak)
  • Agree (agree and disagree were used for either polls or to answer the instructors questions)
  • Disagree
  • Step Away (for official and unofficial breaks)
  • Chat

Any good tool for running an online course should have the list of features above. Interestingly during the course nobody used the other options available like:

  • Speak louder
  • Speak softer
  • Speed up
  • Slow down
  • Laughter
  • Applause
Participant communication

Everyone had their microphone on mute except the instructor. You have to be very disciplined with this as multiple people trying to speak with time delays and internet lag is just a nightmare.

To enable the participants to comment or ask questions of each other the “Chat” function was used more and more as the course went on, almost like in a class room as we got to know each we started to chat with each other.  Occasional we used the Chat to talk to the instructor but most of the time it was for us to talk to each other and help each other during the exercises as it was not practical to do via audio.

When we wanted to ask the instructor a question we used the “hand raise” function. If you are running a course I would suggest you encourage participants to use the “chat” features for:

  • Used for side-line chats
  • Chatting when someone else was speaking

In summary

LTDatEHU / Pixabay

This method of attending a course went well for me, it meant I didn’t need to travel to a foreign country to attend the course I wanted so reduced the cost. It also meant I could interact with the instructor and other attendees as you would in person.

To get the most out of the online course experience the instructor needs to establish the communication rules up front and stick to them allowing a very smooth well run training course. This kind of technology makes training much more accessible and allows people to join from wherever they are in the world.

Shane out.

Lawrence Corr is returning to Wellington after two years away this November 19-21, 2018 to run his 3-day Agile Data Warehouse Design Masterclass.  Register now.


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