There are two two separate pods in Adobe Connect that enable participants to ask questions during a meeting, virtual classroom or webinar.
The Chat pod allows for completely open discussion among all participants and private discussion between two participants or a participant and a group (like the presenters). The Chat pod is unmoderated, which means anyone can post a question or comment and it will be seen immediately by everyone. Private chat appears in a separate tab in the chat pod.
The Q&A pod is similar in that anyone can post a question or comment to the pod, but unlike the chat pod, those posts are only seen by the presenters and hosts in a meeting. A presenter or host can choose to answer a question in the Q&A pod either publicly (in which case everyone will see the question and the answer) or privately (in which case only the questioner will see the question and answer). Questions from the Q&A pod can be assigned to a specific presenter.
So which pod should you use? Should you moderate your discussion or not? The answer of course depends on your web conference. As the host of a meeting, I usually ask myself a few questions when making this decision.
- Is the goal to enable participants to ask me questions – or am I looking to facilitate a conversation between participants?
- How do I feel about participants chatting privately? Will this be a distraction to the meeting or will it increase engagement?
- Are there questions I might not be comfortable answering in public?
- How many participants are attending? What kind of meeting is it?
In general, I prefer to use an open, un-moderated chat pod. I find it can increase interaction among all participants. The un-moderated chat pod is ideal for collaborative meetings and often works well for virtual classrooms.
I believe it’s important not only use meeting size as the only factor – but as a meeting grows, it makes sense to swap out the un-moderated chat pod for a moderated Q&A pod. At this point, it also helps to have someone else in the meeting helping to moderate the Q&A pod while you speak. The Q&A pod is ideal for webinars.
Of course, you can have the best of both worlds. I’ll often use an open chat pod in my webinar lobby that participants can use while they’re waiting for a webinar to begin, then switch to a moderated Q&A pod during the webinar itself.
Tips & Tricks
- Encourage users to change the color of their text when using the chat pod. It helps to differentiate the questions and makes everything more readable.
- The presenter view of the Q&A pod can be sent to the Presenter Only Area (POA). This enables the presenters to work with a much larger pod while they are facilitating the questions.
- You can add multiple chat pods to a single layout. This is helpful when you want to solicit feedback across a number of different topics. Simply double-click the title of a chat pod to rename it.
- You can export a Q&A log of all of the questions that were asked as a rich text file. You can also email the content of any Q&A or chat pod. Click the pod options menu to access these options.
- You can use an un-moderated chat pod and still disable private chat. This can be quickly disabled in the Preferences dialog.