Online Events and Webinars

Slate provides the ability to host online events through its Share webinar platform. These types of events allow partner institutions to extend interactions with applicants or other constituencies who may not be able to attend an in-person event.  Its features include the ability to broadcast live streaming audio, video, and content from PowerPoint slide decks, PDF documents, URL video content, or image files. Share also offers open and moderated chat functionality.  

This platform is built using WebRTC, a free, open-source project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs. It is a project supported by Google, Mozilla, Opera and others.  

Share webinar sessions are created using the Events Tool. These events use a location type of Online.

Event Templates

Online events should be approached just like any other type of event (i.e. campus tours or visits). If you expect your online events to be recurring, or if you plan to host the same online event yearly, you will want to begin by creating a template. 

Event templates save time and effort by allowing you to configure event components for an event type in a central location.  

Event templates can be used to add events in a batch without the need for any additional configurations. All events that have an event template use that template’s registration form and communications. If you need to make changes to these items after your events have been created, those changes only need to be made to the event template. 

  1. Click Events in the top navigation bar.
  2. Click New Template.
  3. Enter the following Event configurations in the popup window:
    • Template Name - Give template a descriptive name. 
    • Status - Make template Active.
    • Timezone - Set the Timezone. Slate will not be able to "Autodetect from Location" since this event is online and will not have a designated location. If timezone is left to autodetect, it will default to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).
    • Registrant Limit- If this type of event has a registrant limit, set that at the template level. Events using this template will honor this limit unless a different registrant limit has been set on the individual event.
    • Privacy - Leave this setting unchecked.
    • User - This will default to user account
    • Admin Notify Email - Skip this setting at this time.
    • Online Event - Check the box to indicate that this will be an online event. Notice that the location selector is no longer available, as this event is online and has no physical location.
  4. Click Save.

The Template Management Screen

Once basic template configurations are saved, the Template Management screen will display. The Template Management screen contains resources to configure events, while also providing an at-a-glance view of existing events that use the template.  

  Tips

There are no enforced limits on attendees who can register and attend an online event. Partner schools have individually hosted webinars for 3,000+ participants.

Configure an Online Event

Once the location has been set to 'Online,' two new links will then display on the Template Management page: 'Settings' and 'Control'

Settings

Settings allow customization of the online experience.

Check the boxes to turn on specific functionality, allowing registrants to see and hear the following from the host computer:

  • Audio - This functionality allows for presenters to use their microphones/recording devices to capture and play audio over Share.
  • Audio via Bridge - Share Bridge allows for two-away audio via a conference bridge. In place of a separate phone line, audio from both presenters and participants can be utilized within Share and recorded for later use. Slate will generate the host code and the Manage Bridge link will provide access to the registrant list connected via the Share Bridge. 
  • Video - This functionality allows for multiple presenters to broadcast video, but attendees do not share their video. The interface updates based on the number of moderators to allow multiple simultaneous videos broadcasting (one for each moderator with video enabled).
  • Share Screen - This functionality allows the sharing of content on a primary or secondary monitor, useful for doing a live demonstration of particular functionality. Note that a specific Chrome browser extension is required and installation will be prompted during the first time the screen share is attempted during the webinar. We recommend testing and installing this extension well in advance of a scheduled live webinar
  • Record Audio/Video - Share Recording allows users to record the full content from any online webinar hosted via Slate’s Share platform. The recording combines all aspects of a Share broadcast including slides, multimedia, live screen sharing, and audio/video into one simple playback interface. Recorded webinars can be viewed in their entirety or one can simply skip through the recording to important moments.  
  • Chat - This allows participants to chat during the webinar. If "Chat" is enabled, "Moderated Chat" also becomes an option — see below for more information on this feature.
  • Slides - When moving through the slides, the green outline indicates the slide that participants are viewing. Uploaded slides may be rearranged, but not edited. PowerPoint or pdf or images are acceptable. A video or a URL may be included in the presentation. The "Slide Display" setting will allow attendees to see only the current, current and previous, or all slides, based on preference.
    • Upload Slides - Slides can be uploaded to the event from host computer.
    • URL/Video - Slides can be added to the event via a URL/video.
  • Slide Display  - Select whether participants can see only the current slide, past & current slides, or all slides.
  • Edit Leaders - The Edit Leaders function assigns the users that will be leading or working on the online event. 
Share Leaders

To add or change Share leaders:

  1. Click Settings.
  2. Click on Add or Change Share Leaders.
  3. Click Add Grantee and set the Type to User, Permission or Role based on the desired access to the event. 

  Tip

Users with Event Registration permission need to be granted 'Share' permission to the online event if they are not the 'user' of the event and will act as a moderator.

Looking to share presenting duties with a non-Slate user? When hosting a Share webinar, a User Token may be used as an alternative to creating an external user account within your database. User Tokens allow you to grant permission/access to the virtual event to a non-Slate user.

When adding a Grantee configure the following settings:

  • Type - Set the Type to User Token
  • User Name - This will display for the user within the chat. This might include their name and title, for instance.
  • Access URL - This link can be sent to the external user who you wish to administratively access the webinar’s broadcast functionality and any other designated permissions. 

Additional information about the chat function:

  • When using the chat function, the chat remains with the event and can be accessed even after the event has finished.
  • Clear the chat at the end of an event by clicking Clear Chat.
  • If Moderate Chat is not enabled, chat messages will be seen by all attendees and the presenter as they come in. When Moderate Chat is enabled, all questions from participants will appear in the Questions tab, where they will require moderator approval before being seen by all participants.
Control

The Control setting allows administrative access and additional settings adjustments to be made to the event. 

Click on 'Control', for the screen where the live webinar appears during the event. When administratively controlling the webinar, presenters can see who is attending the online event by clicking on the Guests tab.

Recording

If Record Audio/Video is turned on for an online event, the recording will be available for download from the event once it has been concluded. Two links will appear on the event page:

  • Recording - This link provides a web-based copy of the recorded webinar
  • Download Audio/Video - This link will download the recorded webinar when clicked, and will show as the date and time of the recording on the event page. Files download in .webm format. 

Note that the Windows "Movies & TV" application does not support .webm files, so another media player application will be necessary to view a downloaded file.

Communications

Participants must be registered for the event in order to access the online event. Each participant will receive a personalized link to the webinar. In order for participants to get this link,  event communications must be set up.

  • On the Event Template, click Edit Communications in the column on the right side of the screen. 
  • Click New Mailing.
  • Provide a Name and set a Trigger and Group.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Edit Message and include text in the body of the email and any other formatting. To provide the link to the online interview, include the merge field "Form-Share-Link." It appears as "Access Webinar" when dragged into the mailing. This will merge in the link to the Share Webinar and tie it to the registrant’s person ID.
  • In the “Recipient” field, be sure to insert the {{sys-email}} merge field from the list at right so the email will be sent to the registered person.
  • Click Save.

When the registrant accesses the webinar through the link, they will automatically be marked as attended.

  Tip

As a best practice, create a confirmation page and include the link so participants will be able to immediately access the online event even if they register slightly after the start time.

Sound Check

We recommend having additional staff log in as Leaders prior to the start of the event.  Staff users logging in with the Share permission on the event will not be bound by the time limits as normal attendees are. They will be able to view and hear the broadcast in advance to provide feedback about sound and video quality.

Students will not have access to the online event until the event has actually started and will see a landing/countdown page until the official event start time.

Troubleshooting Webinars
Is WebRTC supported in all browsers?

WebRTC is not currently supported by Microsoft Edge or Safari.

What if we see a lag time in the chat updates?

The Share platform, including the chat functionality, will typically work better on a wired network connection versus WiFi. For example, moderating a chat while connected via WiFi can create lag time on updates.

Can attendees access the online event on a mobile device?

Attendees for online events that only include chat and/or slides (slides only is recommended) should be able to access the event via a mobile device. If your event also includes audio or video, then this would not be supported for mobile users. The limited screen real estate on a mobile device typically precludes a good user experience of seeing video, chat, and slides all on the same screen.

What if attendees are having trouble with the audio?

There are a lot of reasons why someone might not be able to hear the audio, including what hardware they are using, their browser, their browser's security settings, and other IT permissions based on their school/work, etc. As an alternative, the Audio Bridge feature can be utilized to offer another means of "calling in" or listening to the webinar. 

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