Apart from video calls, Skype for Business has some useful tools that can be used to support online delivery sessions.
Within Skype for Business you can use the instant messaging feature as an area for students to ask questions – you can turn this feature on and off so that you only get questions at a particular point in the sessionand avoid distractions:
Step 1: To find the on/off function for the instant messaging (IM), click on the Participants icon on the top right and you will see this:
Step 2: click on the button Participant Actions and a dialogue box will open up with options to Turn On IM; Mute Audience and others. Do the same actions to turn the functions back on.
There is also a polling feature which you can use to check understanding at a mid-point or to get feedback on the session or to do a mini quiz.
You can create and launch polls on the fly, or create in advance ready to use during the session. Once you have created the calendar item with the Skype room link you can access the room straight away (even ahead of the meeting time on the calendar). This allows your students to check that they can access the room, and also gives you chance to add content ahead of time, if needed.
To create a poll, click the manage content button, then the ‘more …’ option.
A new set of options will appear, select ‘poll’.
If you intend to use a number of polls during the session, or you are pre-creating the poll, then it is good practice to give the poll a meaningful name, so that you can recognise the correct one at a later date.
Now add the question that your students will appear, and will vote on. You then need to add the options for them to choose. Only options with content in them will display – you don’t need to complete all fields! You can add simple ‘yes’ / ‘no’, numeric or more descriptive options.
When you click ‘create’ the poll will appear. If you are in a session with your students, then they will be able to vote straightaway.
A ‘poll actions’ button at the bottom-left of the screen allows you to open and close the poll, as well as showing or hiding the results.
You can also reset the poll, which could be useful if you are using the poll as a check of understanding during the session.
The survey results can be saved as a picture file (png), which you could potentially upload onto Blackboard following the session.
If you are creating the poll in advance of the session, click the ‘stop sharing’ option above the poll (this is also the way to close the poll during the live session.
To access the poll during the session, click the share content button, then ‘manage content’
Here you’ll see the poll(s) you’ve created. Use the ‘start sharing’ option (the left-hand icon) to access the poll and share with your students.
To start a new whiteboard session, click the manage content button, then the ‘more …’ option.
Then click ‘whiteboard’
A new whiteboard will appear.
If this is during a session, then students will be able to start using the drawing tools.
You will find additional options by clicking the three dots towards the bottom of the tools bar.
Click ‘stop sharing’ to hide the whiteboard
You (or you students) can add images or diagrams to annotate and discuss
Once you click ‘stop sharing’, the whiteboard will be saved in the ‘manage content’ area of the room.
As will polling, you can launch the saved whiteboard from here. You can also rename it, which can be useful when organising content
To start a new Q&A session, click the manage content button, then the ‘more …’ option.
Then select Q&A
You can ask questions for your students to answer, or vice-versa.
You can upload a PowerPoint directly to your room. Select ‘share PowerPoint files…’ and browse to locate your slides.
Once uploaded you presentation will appear on screen. You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard or click the arrows on screen, to more between slides.
You can also see the thumbnails, and any notes you have added.
Also, once you are running a session, you can share your desktop to engage your students in an activity using external tools such as Padlet or Mentimeter.
Select ‘Share your Desktop’
If you have more than one monitor, then you have a choice of what to share, otherwise only one monitor will be showing. A blue line will be around the monitor you are about to share, then click ‘Share’
You’ll then see an option to remind you that your desktop will be visible to others, click ‘OK’
A gold line will appear around the screen you are sharing
Click stop sharing on the black menu bar at the top of the screen when you have finished