Not all conference calls are created equal. Some are a casual discussions amongst a small group of associates, while others are more formal presentations to a larger audience. ZipDX has several features to help ensure an exceptional conference experience when a large audience is involved. Lecture mode is one such feature. While at its heart very simple, lecture mode bears examination.
When someone is making a formal presentation to a large audience it’s best to ensure that they can deliver their address without interruption. Even one noisy participant can degrade the call experience for the entire audience. In such cases it makes sense to keep the audience muted, ensuring a quiet stage for the presenter. This is the logic behind lecture mode.
In lecture mode all participants except the hosts are automatically muted as they join the conference. This reduces the potential for disruptive noise from participants, regardless of their location or means of connection.
Lecture Modes: Soft vs Hard
There are two variations on lecture mode; soft or hard muting participants.
In soft lecture mode all participants except the hosts are automatically muted as they join the conference. However, at any time they can unmute themselves using *6 on their telephone keypad.
In contrast, in hard lecture mode all participants, except the hosts, are muted and cannot unmute themselves. Thus the presenter is assured of a quiet stage.
Hard lecture mode relies upon a host, acting in the role of moderator, to manage the conference using the web dashboard. The moderator can unmute individuals as necessary to take questions, while ensuring that the conference proceeds in an orderly fashion.
Hard lecture mode should also be used when the conference is intended to be a one-way event, effectively streamed to the audience, without any audience interaction.
Lecture mode can be setup in advance using a conference template, or invoked in an ad hoc manner using the conference dashboard.
The Conference Template
The lecture mode can be setup in advance of a conference using a conference template. Lecture mode is listed in the Audio Features section as shown in the following image.
This property in the conference template makes it easy to ensure that this behavior is established in advance, and consistently used for recurring conferences.
The Conference Dashboard
Lecture mode can also be invoked on-the-fly by a host logged into the conference dashboard. The current lecture mode status is the leftmost item shown in the Host Controls strip across the top of the conference dashboard.
Clicking on this item reveals the opportunity to change the lecture mode state. A conference host can quickly enable lecture mode, selecting soft or hard muting. The host can also clear all muting, defeating lecture mode, opening the conference up to participation from the entire audience.
When planning a large conference with formal presentation, consider lecture mode as a way to ensure a quiet stage and an uninterrupted presentation. When used strategically it helps to deliver an optimal conference experience for both the presenter and the audience.