The best way to ease faculty and participants into interaction is to begin with small, non-threatening techniques such as hand-raising, quick polling, and the use of emoticons.


Most frequently used to notify the host or presenter of questions, “hand-raising” can also be used for a quick poll, such as, “Raise your hand (i.e., click the hand-raising icon) if you have ever designed or hosted an educational webinar.”

Hand-raising is not anonymous, so try to ask value-neutral questions, or questions designed to increase confidence. Participants may worry about being seen to answer incorrectly, and so may not respond at all.

Caveat: Remind people to put their hands down again after the exercise.

Quick Polling:

Many platforms have simple ways to stage a quick yes/no poll (in WebEx Training Center, it’s a green check/red X). For example, “If you’ve ever navigated away from an educational webinar to check your e-mail, click the green check. If you haven’t, red X.”

Quick polling is great for doing an on-the-spot needs assessment, checking comprehension, and judging level and pace. For example: “If this level of discussion of ACL tears is right for you, click the green check. If you would like a quick review of anatomy before we move on, click the red X.”

Because quick polls are anonymous, at least to other participants, you can put participants on the spot a bit more to answer truthfully. In WebEx, these responses can be tabulated instantly into a bar graph, allowing you to see and share the results of the entire group, in graphic form.


Some platforms have ways to publish or share feelings via emoticons. For example, Training Center on WebEx features smiley faces, sleepy faces, confused faces, or “I’ve gone on a coffee break.” There are also “Go Faster” and “Slow Down” emoticons.

Caveat: Employ emoticons only if you are interested in seeing the participants’ responses.