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Virtual Meetings & Web Conferencing

Overview of Virtual Meeting software.


Virtual meetings and web conferencing are umbrella terms that cover many types of synchronous web communication (usually text-based messages, voice and video chat) which are shared across geographically dispersed locations.

There are many software applications that can be used to facilitate meetings, training events, lectures, or presentations in a virtual environment (see comparison table below). In this guide we will cover three virtual meeting platforms:

  • Spalding faculty and staff can use the Pro version of Zoom (email to request an account) but there is also a free version that can be used by anyone.
  • Skype for Business is included in Spalding's Microsoft Office software, but Skype also offers a free version.
  • Google Hangouts is a completely free service.

Virtual Meeting Terms

Chat / Messaging - The ability to have a text-based conversation simultaneously with audio/video presentations or for participants without microphone access.

Host - The meeting organizer. The host sets up the meeting in the software and sends invitations or access meeting to all participants.

Mute - Turning off the microphones of participants who are not actively speaking in order to reduce background noise.

Presenter - The person who is actively presenting (speaking, sharing their screen, etc.) during the meeting. This may be may be informal, or may be a formal role in the system designated by the host/organizer.. The presenter is not always the meeting host, and there may be more than one presenter during a meeting. 

Raise Hand - A way to indicate that you would like to speak or answer a question without interrupting the presenter, often when muted.

Recording - The ability to record and archive the meeting. Useful for recordkeeping or to share with participants who are unable to attend some or all of the meeting. 

Screen Sharing - The ability to allow meeting participants to view your computer screen during the meeting.

Telephone Call-in / Dial-in - The ability for meeting participants to call in from a telephone if their computer does not have a microphone and/or speakers.