ITS Online»Planning Events»Hosting Digital Events

Hosting Digital Events

See below for training and best practices for hosting a digital event.

Zoom help documents:

ITS resources:

Training opportunities: 

Zoom Webinars

Zoom webinars allow you to host a virtual conference with panelists and attendees. Panelists can share their video and audio through the webinar. Attendees ask questions via text-based Q&A.

Help Documents:

How to request a Zoom Webinar License:

  • ITS Media offers loaner Webinar Zoom accounts to staff, faculty, and student groups. Requests can be submitted via our Service Catalog
  • Please allow up to 24-48 hours turnaround time for Webinar loaner accounts
  • We recommended submitting your request about three weeks before your event. You will have access to the account for up to one week after your event. 


More information:

Zoom Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting in up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, and can switch between sessions at any time.

Please be sure to update the Zoom application on your device often to ensure you can use the latest features. Zoom typically updates the Zoom app once or twice a month. You can use the “Check for updates” option from within the Zoom app, or go to to download the latest version.

More information:


Major Differences between Webinars and Meetings

Webinars - participants are viewers only, with their video and audio disabled. Panelists, Hosts, co-hosts, and Alternative Hosts will have both video and audio, they can communicate with other Panelists, and have the ability to share their screen. Chat and Q&A options are available, and are the only two ways participants will be able to communicate with Panelists. Chat can be enabled and disabled at any time, just like a Meeting. Breakout Rooms are not available in Webinars. Licenses offer up to 100, 500, and 1000 maximum participants.

Meetings - All participants have video and audio and can communicate with everyone connected to the meeting. The same goes for Hosts, all co-hosts, and all Alternative Hosts. Screen share is limited to only Hosts, co-hosts, and Alternative Hosts, unless changed in Security settings. Q&A is not available in Meetings. The maximum number of users for a Meeting is 300.

Other basic Zoom features, such as the ability of the Host to change Security settings, remain the same between Meetings and Webinars.

How to set up a Meeting to function like a Webinar

You don’t need a Webinar license in order to conduct a meeting or event like a Webinar. By disabling participant audio, except for specific users (your “Panelists”), you can create a Webinar environment without needing the Webinar license, with the additional benefits of being able to see all participants and the ability to use Meeting only features like Breakout Rooms.

Additionally, as the Host, you can set a custom Gallery View setting and force it to all connected users, ensuring your Panelists are front and center for your event. Q&A won’t be available, but you can enable the Chat feature at any time.

This setup can be more advantageous than a Webinar depending on the format of your event, since you can enable any participant’s audio at any time in order to create discussion. You also have the ability to create and manage Breakout Rooms that you would not have access to in a Webinar.

Follow the steps below to set up your Meeting like a Webinar:

  1. Log in to your account at
  2. Navigate to “Meetings”
  3. Create a new meeting, or click on an already scheduled meeting to edit
  4. Check, “enable registration” if you wish to use the registration feature
  5. Check “Waiting Room” under Security if you wish to mimic the “practice mode” feature of Webinars
  6. (Optional) Under “Video” and “Participant” click “off” - note, this will not prevent participants from turning their video on manually
  7. Under “Audio” select “Both” to give your participants the option of using the dial in number for audio
  8. Under “Meeting Options” make sure you check “Mute Participants upon entry”

As the Host, follow these next steps once you have launched the Meeting:

  1. Click on “Security”
  2. Click on “Unmute Themselves” to uncheck this option; participants will not be able to use their microphones until the Host allows them to (see note at bottom)
  3. (Optional) Under Security also click “Chat” to uncheck this option; participants will not be able to use the Chat function until the Host enables this feature
  4. Switch to Gallery View by selecting the option in the upper right corner
  5. Click and drag any participant video tot he location on screen you want
  6. Click View in the upper right corner, then “Follow Host’s Video Order” to deploy your custom view to all participants
  7. (Optional) You can hover your mouse over a participant in the Participants list, click More, then click “Stop Video” to disable a participant’s video and prevent them from enabling it on their own, however, this option cannot be set for all participants and instead needs to be done one by one for every user connected to the meeting
  8. If you enabled the Waiting Room feature, click “admit all” when you’re ready to start (please note that it can take a few moments to a minute for everyone to join the call and connect via audio - we recommend waiting a minute before speaking to ensure all participants have joined successfully and can hear you). During this time, you could screen share a static PowerPoint slide with information, or a nice graphic, for participants to see upon entering. You can also take a moment during this time to make sure your panelists are set up via private chat, and remember to allow them to unmute themselves. 

Remember to enable your panelists’ microphones once they have joined. The settings we’ve set so far will prevent them from enabling it on their own. Hover your mouse over their name in Participants, click More, and click “Request to Unmute” - they will receive a pop up that will ask them to unmute, all they need to do is click “unmute.” They will now be able to mute and unmute themselves on their own for the duration of the meeting. 

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