TECHNICAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES FOR ONLINE SEMINARS

U. Borgolte, M. Gerke, I. Masár

Fern Universität in Hagen (GERMANY)
In contrast to face-to-face seminars, the organization, preparation, and implementation of online seminars requires much more effort at the side of the university. On the side of the student, there is a reduction of travelling when participating in these seminars, but a higher degree of technical effort. This article will concentrate on the provider of the seminar, i.e. the university. Nevertheless, some aspects of the user’s view on this kind of events will be discussed.

While remotely accessible lectures (like MOOCs) may be organized with simple data streaming, both offline and online, online seminars need a direct feedback channel. Thus it is necessary to provide an environment where presentations can be distributed to all participants, where all of them can hear all others, and can talk to all others. It should be possible to replace hearing and talking by reading and writing, e.g. for disabled users. Presentations can be distributed in advance, but for real interaction it should be possible to present them at the time of the seminar and to be able to modify them on the fly. For larger groups, it is necessary to have a moderator who can actively control the right to speak of individual users.

This article will discuss challenges and solutions for online seminars based on the experiences FernUniversität in Hagen gained during the last decade.