Webex - Best Practices and Overview

Rutgers University provides Webex Meeting access to all current faculty, staff and students.  This videoconferencing solution allows you to communicate and collaborate with others using audio, video, chat, file sharing, whiteboard and other tools.  It can be used for:

  • Scheduled or "on the fly" meetings
  • Office hours
  • Hybrid and online courses
  • Group work
  • Study sessions
  • Support
  • And more!

Webex is easy to use and can be used on any computer with an internet connection.  It will automatically install on your computer the first time that you use it.  It's also accessible through most smart phone and other mobile devices.  

Video conferencing units can also be used with Webex Meetings but may not have access to all functionality (e.g. file sharing, polling).  If you are in a room with video conferencing equipment, you may want one of the in-person attendees to login using a laptop.

There are other Webex tools including Training and Events that are currently not available but are expected to be released in the future.  These products offer specific functionality that may be helpful for certain use cases but the available Meetings tool should be more than sufficient for most use.  An excerpt of the tools comparison is available for your review.  

Before your meeting:

  • Use Connect to schedule meetings using the plugin.  This makes it easy to invite others, send updates and reminders, and stay organized.
  • Login and test Webex Meetings before your session to make sure that you have installed the software and it's working as expected.
  • Close all programs in particular those that might use audio/video before starting Webex. Email and chat alerts can be very distracting for both you and your attendees.  Some programs such as Skype may try to control your camera or microphone.  Quitting these programs will ensure that Webex has full access to your audio and/or video.
  • Start your meeting early.  Most meetings can't start without you (the host) so make sure that you're online ahead of time to allow attendees to enter and check audio and/or video before the meeting begins.
  • Wired connections are best.  Although wireless access is available in many locations, access may be inconsistent.
  • Use a phone or wired headset if possible as they will provide the best audio.

Reduce Distractions - if you have many attendees (participants), you may want to adjust your Participant settings for the meeting.  These can be changed throughout the meeting if needed.

  • Mute on Entry (check)
  • Disable Entry and Exit Tone (uncheck) 
  • Deselect Anyone Can Share (uncheck)

Want to further limit what your participants can do?  Select Assign Privileges to control Chat options as well as documents, View, and Sharing. 

Can you hear me now?

Webex will prompt you to select your audio options once you start your meeting.  You can use your computer or video conferencing unit audio or a phone.  If you're using your computer, the default microphone and speakers will be selected.  You can change your settings from the Audio menu or from the Options button.

You can switch connections between your system audio and telephone.

If you're using your computer audio, you may want to switch between a headset, webcam, speakers, and/or built-in microphone by first clicking Change Settings and then using the pull-down menus.

If you've disconnected your audio, you will have an additional option of calling your Video System from the Telephone button.

They still can't hear me!  Take a look at the microphone button with a slash through it.  If it's red, that means you've muted yourself.  The microphone button is a toggle so simply click it.  Your audio will turn on and the button will be gray.  

Note: You can see which of your attendees are muted in the Participants list as indicated by the red microphone icon to the right of their names.  The default position for the Participants panel is the top right but you may have moved it or hidden it (see below to restore it).


I lost my: Participants, Chats, Video Control!

Sometimes you collapse a panel to get more room on your screen and then you can't figure out where it went.  You can go to the View menu to Restore Layout, Show Panels, Show Participant Video, or Meeting Controls.

If that doesn't help, check if it's on a second monitor or hiding behind another window if you were screen sharing.

Sharing Content - Webex allows you to share content and annotate that content!  

  • Screen Sharing is easy and gives you flexibility especially if you need to switch between applications.
  • File Sharing is a great option for static content (e.g. an agenda or a copy of the presentation) and can be helpful because participants can save the files.  Please note that recordings won't contain files and videoconferencing units device and video conferencing applications cannot access shared files.  Multiple files can be shared.
  • Application Sharing allows you to share a single application on your computer such as PowerPoint or Excel without sharing your entire desktop so there's less chance of accidentally displaying content you may not want to share.  When you switch from the shared application to another, the content panel is grayed out for the participants.  Placing another window over the shared application window results in the overlapped section being grayed out.  If you've moved the shared application window to another screen it is still visible to the participants until you stop sharing.
  • Whiteboard Sharing allows you to draw, make notes, and brainstorm together.  You can even  "flip the page" and start on a fresh whiteboard and rename whiteboards for identification.  The individual whiteboards can be saved either during the session or as you are ending a meeting (.ucf or .pdf format).  Once the meeting has ended though, you cannot go back and retrieve unsaved whiteboards.  Whiteboards can be loaded from previously saved files (.ucf).

You can select the type of content by going to the Share menu or clicking the Share button at the bottom of the screen.

I can't stop sharing! At the top of your screen you should see an orange tab which will expand when you place your mouse over the area.  The Stop Sharing button is on the left. If you are sharing an application, you will see a green Shared tab in the window which has a Stop option in red.

Note: There's also a Pause sharing option in case you want to suspend sharing while you're arranging windows or opening files.

Annotations allow you to draw over any shared content.  When sharing content, you'll see an orange tab displayed at the top of your screen.  When you place your mouse over the tab, it will expand to allow you access to the annotation tool.  To get out of that mode, click the Annotate option again.  All annotations will be cleared so if you want to save the annotations, save them first!