A web-based seminar or webinar is a conference or meeting hosted in near real-time online over the Internet. Webinars allow groups of people in remote and distant geographic locations to listen and participate in the same conference regardless of their geographic location. Webinars might also have interactive elements. Some of which are two-way audio (VoIP) and video that allows the participants to discuss the information with the presenters as it is presented.
The most common uses for webinars are meetings, workshops and even remote training. Webinars are commonly also recorded for later viewing or distribution. This removes the interactive elements for later viewers and in a sense, the recorded webinar then becomes a webcast – a presentation that includes one-way audio and video but without any interaction between speakers and listeners.
Generally, some type of software must be downloaded by the participants who want to join the webinar. Some webinars also provide for anonymous participation, while others identify the current speaker by some type of user ID. Both of these methods protect the identity of the participant.
Some Webinars might also include extra features, such as:
• Screen sharing: where all information displayed on the presenter’s computer is also displayed on all audience computer displays
• Shared control: where participants can control the presenter’s display
• Polling surveys: which allows presenters to query the participants with multiple choice questions