Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WebEx Ideas

In this post I will share one approach I used recently that was pretty successful.  Please tell me what you think, experiences you have had,etc.  I will use this space to share other strategies that I try and how they worked.

The use of breakout groups
In this case I had WebEx automatically assign people into 4 groups, see below for the group assignments.  Before delivering a mini lecture I gave the groups their assignments.

After the mini lecture the groups were given a little time to formulate their answers and finish their discussions and then reported out.  The participants liked the ability to talk together in groups. They felt that they dug deeper into the content that way.

I have a little more to learn about how to manage the groups and other little nuances that they don't really explain in the documentation.  You need to "experience" it. :)

Team 1 = Questioners.  
Ask at least 2 questions about the material covered.
Team 2 = Agreers.
Tell which points you agree with or found helpful and explain why.
Team 3 = Nay-sayers.
Comment on which point you disagree with or found unhelpful  and explain why.
Team 4 = Example givers.
Give specific examples or applications of the material
This activity is from Silberman, M (1996). Active learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject. Boston, MA; Allyn and Bacon, p.72.


  1. If there was enough time, it might be cool to have the people then switch teams - to argue from each point of view...

  2. Hi Marc,

    I like your idea. I am thinking that a version of the multiple perspective activity that we used for the WLA training session would work. It could work like this. First persent the issue and then give each group a perpective from which to view the issue. In break out groups they could explore the issue from the perspective. This might be the tricky part. The next step would be to bring the groups together and go around the groups asking each group to share one idea and continue going around the groups until all the persepctives have been exhausted. I could be capturing the perspectives on the white board as they are contributed. The goal of the exercise would be to explore an issue from multiple perspectives. This would be fun to try. Beth

  3. I used a little different variation of the breakout groups during today's WebEx. I had people randomly assigned to groups. Before we started talking about the topic which was, hiring faculty, developed 4 different questions for them to explore in break out groups. The questions were:
    Group 1 & 2 Have you ever made a poor hiring decision? What happened?
    Group 3 & 4 Have you ever made a good/great hire?
    What happened?
    Group 5 & 6 What networking strategies have you found to be effective? What are the challenges you have faced?
    Group 7 & 8 What recruiting strategies have you found to be effective? What are the challenges you have faced?

    I discovered that WebEx does not assign group numbers so I had to give each group their assignment after I started the breakout sessions.

    This ended up being a great way for people to talk about a topic that many already have knowledge and experienece with. I then asked each group to share one highlight from their discussion. I could then get a sense of what the group already knew and use their examples as a spring board during the up-coming content.


  4. Great thoughts! The key with any jigsaw type group activity is to 1. ensure the groups are engaged in ALL the material and not just what they are delving deeper into and 2. ensure connections are being made between the different groups of material. No. 2 can help with no. 1.

    There are a variety of ways learners can become engaged. Asking them to critique, make their own connections, develop real life examples that pull all the material together are just a few ways to make sure they are engaged and see the connections. You could further visualize these connections as they're being made via a "living mindmap" that develops as the class elaborates.


  5. Good to hear from you Trey,

    I think the logistics of facilitating a true jig saw in a WebEx may be too cumbersome. I'll have to check into how tricky it would be to create new groups.

    A "living mindmap" that IS a cool idea. I tried writing down ideas on the white board during a group report out and found that pretty challenging. I might have to breakdown and learn how to type.

    Have you ever used Prezi?

    take care,