This stage involves helping participants get on board the webinar system and discover the features of the meeting room by socializing and discovering. It is vital for the teacher/moderator to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in the meeting room by welcoming participants individually if possible and encouraging interaction in the chat window.
Give participants some understanding of the community’s ability to work together; to contribute to their own and other’s learning and development through the webinar. Let them feel your interest in their knowledge and experience and make them feel at home online.
Interact – let them share some information about themselves via chat or poll pods.
Use status icons to let them vote (Agree / Disagree) on a statement.
Ask low-risk questions that everyone can answer (ice-breaking exercise):
- Why are you here today?
- Say hello – how is the weather
- Pin your location on a map
- What is your webinar experience?
- What’s your top-of-mind question today?
This enables all participants to make a comment in the chat in a safe setting. Having succeeded in contributing to this discussion it becomes more likely that they will contribute to the main discussion later on. At this early stage try not to distract the participants with too many activities at the same time. Focus on one interaction.