Help! I’ve got a large class and want do a live session.

If you have a very large cohort >250 students, you might experience some challenges with getting student engagement and following the chat messages during live online sessions.

Here are some ideas which might help:

1. Creating a separate space to collect questions

If you use one of the web conferencing tools we have (Collaborate Ultra or Teams) in their broadcast mode (where there is a reduced ability for interaction). You still need a way to get questions from students, you could try –


GoSoapBox –  You will need to go into the Moderation Panel, then enable disable features. This is where you can then “turn on” Social Q&A, and adjust if students need to use their names (accounts) to ask questions.

Screen shot of Moderation PanelScreenshot of Settings in GoSoapBox


If you would like to see Go Soap Box in Action – Join my class using code – 415-552-108 at or use this link I have a discussion and Social Q&A active for my event so you can compare.


I have also seen this type of approach work with other tools – include Google forms, twitter hashtags, padlet and editable documents, some students have also tried to get it to work using the canvas discussion board.

This approach allows you to get feedback from students in just about real time. To make this work, you will need to remember to go over and check the place where questions are collecting. You might consider bringing in a tutor who can manage the questions – and interrupt you with the questions at transition points.


2. Upgrading some participants:

When you use a broadcast only mode, you don’t get any confirmation when you ask ‘can you hear me’, which can be a bit challenging. One strategy you could use to overcome this is to upgrade a small number of participants in your cohort (or a tutor) to be in the session with you. This would allow you to have some students who can say yes, so you are able to get the confirmation and feedback you need during the delivery.

You may choose to select participants – based on their engagement in the discussion board, arrival order, or some other process which is appropriate for your cohort.


If you don’t use any of these approaches, you may not find out about it – but your students will likely figure out a strategy for themselves. So keep an eye on your discussion board – they may tell you which tools and resources they prefer.

3. Having a clear backup plan

If you have a co-moderator of facilitator have a clear defined plan about how this person can get in-touch with you during the session (email, teams, personal phone number etc) if there is any problem – ie your not sharing your screen when you think you are, or if your sound isn’t broadcasting as expected.



If you have some other strategies you have used – put them into the GoSoapBox Q&A and I will update this post.