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Running public engagement events online: Advice for staff

Due to the Coronavirus lockdown, events which would normally take place in person have had to be re-configured to take place online. This has opened up positive opportunities and outcomes including the ability to reach International audiences and those with other barriers to access. These events include public engagement activities such as public talks, focus groups, and meetings.

These pages provide some advice for University staff on platforms that are available at the University, and hints and tips on how to use them.

Delivering online events to a wider public can seem daunting, but it also offers the possibility of engaging with wider and bigger audiences than might otherwise be possible, and it can be fun!

Available platforms

We are all now familiar with Zoom as a platform for conducting online meetings. The University also has licences for Zoom Webinar which incorporates extra functionality and control; this makes it a good option for hosting public engagement events such as public talks. Further information on Zoom is available here on the IT Services web pages and we have included some pros and cons on using both Zoom Meet and Zoom Webinar on our ‘choosing your platform’ pages.

As both versions of Zoom allow you to record event sessions, we have also included some information below on the use of YouTube premieres as a means of making your event available to a wider public.

Other online platforms and facilities are available to support events, some of which have been used to deliver University Open Days and Post-Offer Visit Days, for example, and schools engagement programmes. On the ‘choosing your platform’ pages, we shall focus on the use of Zoom and YouTube premiere, but a brief overview of some of these other platforms and tools, listed below, have also been included.

  • Pubble
  • Brightside
  • Moovly
  • Mentimeter
  • iVent

Managing events with Zoom Webinar

We have also included some detailed notes on how to manage events using Zoom Webinar. This includes the definitions of the roles for all participants, guidance notes for running an event, top tips and suggested answers to audience FAQs.