Webinars 101

As a citizen of the world in 2016, you’ve probably at least heard the term “webinar” before. If you have a semester or two of college under your belt or have worked in a professional setting, there’s a good chance you’ve even been invited to one! Webinars, or web-based seminars, can provide great opportunities to learn new academic or professional skills. Best of all, you can participate in a webinar from anywhere in the world! However, if you’re new to webinars, you may not be entirely sure what they are or how they work. In this post, we’ll give you all the information you need to take advantage of the next useful or interesting webinar that comes your way!

  • Why Webinars?

A webinar is a great interactive way to learn from experts or connect with colleagues from any location or time zone. No commuting time is required; all you need is an internet connection! For example, Philadelphia Futures’ Office of College Retention and Success hosts webinars in order to convey useful information to our collegians all across the country.

  • Webinar Hosting Tools

There are many software companies that offer webinar hosting tools. Some popular tools are GoToWebinar, ClickWebinar, and Google+ Hangouts On Air.

  • How Does It Work?

Webinars are live events, in which a presenter speaks directly to the audience. However, recordings of live webinars are sometimes made available after the event (to watch recordings of OCRS’s past webinars, click here). Most webinars include both an audio and a visual component. Depending on the preference of the presenter and/or which hosting tool is being used, you can listen to a webinar through the speakers on your computer or other device, or by calling a provided phone number. The presenter will then typically share their desktop with participants and show slides or live examples from the web. Many webinars also have features that allow participants to interact with the presenter. For example, a presenter may allow you the opportunity to ask questions by typing them into a Q+A app or over the phone if you’ve dialed in for audio.

  • Finding a Webinar

In some instances, the host of a webinar (perhaps a professor or your supervisor) will invite you to participate via email. The specifics of registration will depend on which hosting tool is used, but generally you can do so easily by following a link in the invitation email. You may also find that organizations related to your academic field or professional interests will sometimes host webinars. For example, an Anthropology major might be interested in one of the upcoming webinars hosted by the Society for American Archaeology. There is sometimes a fee to register for these types of public webinars, but many are free, too!

This overview should be enough to get you ready to dive in to your first webinar. Remember to stay tuned to your email for invitations to webinars for Philadelphia Futures collegians!

Adapted from:



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