Lady taking part in a webinar at her computer.

What are webinars?

A webinar is short for web-based seminar. A webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop, or seminar that is transmitted over the web, instead of in person.

As a result each member of the webinar, from the presenter to the attendees, can be at a different location providing they have an internet connection.

This means you can present from your desk, your home or anywhere while your attendees can watch on their computers, tablets or even smartphones.


A webinar will typically transmit:

  • audio – from a microphone the presenter is using
  • the presenters' screen – showing a presentation, website, or file
  • webcam – showing a video of the presenter.

Unlike podcasts, webinars still facilitate interaction between you and your audience. Depending on the product you use, you’ll have several features available to you such as:

  • taking questions (text-based or verbal)
  • running polls and seeing responses
  • creating interactive whiteboards
  • changing presenter.

Logistical benefits

  • Location – presenters and attendees no longer have to be in the same room. Providing they have an internet connection they can be anywhere in the world.
  • Student numbers – you’ll be able to present to up to 500 attendees at once – larger cohorts than our lecture theatres can support.
  • Audience – your attendees or guest/joint presenters can be from other organisations such as the NHS or other institutions.
  • Recorded – you can record your session for those that can’t attend.
  • Green – by reducing travel, webinars are an environmentally friendly option.

Pedagogic benefits

  • Providing you record your webinar, students can watch the content again, make notes and study at their own pace.
  • Webinars cater for a variety of different learning styles.
  • Interactivity increases – as students can type questions, engagement typically increases as students don’t have to speak or be judged in front of their peers.
  • Attendees can learn in a familiar and comfortable setting as they choose where to watch from.
  • Time – students save valuable time from not having to travel that can be used for independent study.
  • Surveys, polls, and evaluations allow you to get instant feedback from your attendees to help confirm learning.

Which tools are available?

The University currently provides two tools for running webinars:

Zoom (recommended)
Great for simulating real world lectures of up to 500 participants. Equipped with chat, breakout rooms, polls and engaging features.

Microsoft Teams
Covering anything from small meetings and tutorials to seminars and lectures up to 250 participants. Equipped with chat and collaborative features.

Skype for Business part of Office 365
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