Hosting Events Online

Tips for moving your UMSU event online.

Some types of in-person events can work just as well virtually- if not better in some cases- especially when stuck in isolation. Not only are you able to salvage your event in the face of external measures, there are direct benefits to your new online format.  Providing a quality experience is possible in any format.  Open up your event to more people making it very accessible and low risk.

We advise that any online events are scheduled to NOT start on the hour (e.g., 1:10pm, 1:15pm, etc) to avoid the server jam that occurs as the majority meetings will be starting on the hour (1pm).

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Online Event

When planning your online event the platform you use to present it is most likely to fall into one of these three categories:

  • Video Meeting
  • Webinar
  • Livestream

Each may be better suited for different events, for e.g. you can use a webinar if you have content or slides you want to share with your attendees, or a livestream for events with a larger audience.

Two things you should consider when making this decision are:

  • What is the level of interaction do you expect from your participants?
  • What is the number of people who will participate in my event?

Video Meetings

2-30 people (although Zoom can support up to 100).

A small to medium sized event with a high degree of interaction between attendees. In most cases all organisers and attendees can communicate with eachother.


Medium to large scale event 50 – 500 people.

A webinar is one level up from a video meeting. It is like a virtual lecture theatre or hall and can accommodate much larger audiences than a meeting.

In a webinar a host and panellists can speak and share audio, video and graphical content with each other and the audience. On the other hand the audience can see and hear the hosts and panellists and have some limited interaction by asking questions or virtually raising a hand and may not be able to interact with other audience members – although the chat function of certain platforms makes this possible.


Large scale events. 500+ people.

Like a private TV broadcast. Participants “perform” for an audience, but audience does not interact with each other or with the performer within the broadcast. Depending on the platform, may be able interact
indirectly in the form of comments or reaction

Choose the right technology in line with what you have available, consider the technology that your audience may have also.



  • Integrate with Facebook and YouTube platforms
  • Solve for interactivity with live chat features and Q&A polling.
  • Include virtual hand-raising and track how interested your audience is with your content.

Use for everything from webinars, collectives and workshops to trivia, yoga and meditation classes! UoM users who have a staff account (this is all of us) get a free “Pro” subscription. Zoom is available for Computers, Smart Phones and Tablets.

Info on Zoom is available here

The UniMelb Zoom Conferencing Portal is here (this gets you the pro subscription and gives you download links).

How to Set Up a Zoom Meeting with Privacy and Secure Settings

A zoom webinar can host up to 100 video panelists and 10000 attendees. To access the UMSU zoom account with webinar abilities please contact the events team.

Zoom Privacy Tips
Setting up Meeting: Select “schedule” to create a meeting. The “New Meeting” button will also let you create a meeting but this is a quick start option with basic default settings, choosing to the schedule the meeting gives you more control over the meeting security settings
Meeting ID: Choose “Generate Automatically”. This will randomly generate a new meeting ID which improves security. Choosing your personal meeting id is like putting your personal phone number or email address in the public domain and should be avoided to protect your privacy as it can be captured and used by uninvited third parties to crash your meetings.
Password: Make sure this is checked. You will be supplied a randomly generated password to give out to your attendees or have the option to set your own.
Offensive Content/Disruption:  As a host you have the ability to mute or turn off the screen of attendees. Do not hesitate to do this if they are sharing offensive content, abusing other members of chat or general harmful or disruptive behaviour.
Advanced Options: Check “Enable Waiting Room” and “Mute Participants” on entry. A waiting room is a security feature that lets the host screen people who have joined the meeting in a separate holding area until they can be verified. This will allow you to filter out any uninvited guests.
Alternative hosts: Enter the email address of another Zoom user who is licensed, on your account to allow them to start the meeting in your absence.


Teams is Microsoft’s  video meeting software and is included as part of the Office 365 suite, so chances are if you are using Office you already have access to it. In terms of features Teams and Zoom are roughly equal which both offering online meetings, chat and screen and file sharing. Where Teams has the edge over Zoom is its tight integration with the apps found in Office 365 suite. However, Zoom has the slight edge in terms of the design of it’s user interface which has made the app extremely easy to use for new users which has been an key part of its rapid rise in popularity as a online meeting tool.

General consensus is that Teams is the preferred platform for internal collaboration if you are part of an organisation which uses the Office 365 Suite, where as Zoom is the best option for working externally due to it’s widespread use in the wider community.


Facebook Live: Live is the best way to connect with viewers in real time on their phones, computers, and in their living rooms through the Facebook Watch TV app. Live videos on Facebook can be viewed by anyone, whether they have a Facebook account or not. If you’d like to display a feature a performer, story teller or instructor — a video streaming service like Facebook Live is a good place to start.

Facebook Messenger Rooms: Messenger Rooms is Facebook’s new video meeting/chat platform that was rolled out a couple of weeks ago. It allows you to create a video chat room that can host up to 50 participants at once. A Messenger room has the benefit of allowing people without a Facebook account to join a room without having to sign up. Please note that to create a Room, you need to be using the Facebook Mobile phone app or the desktop messenger app.

Other Online Event Platforms:

Livestream with Live control Room for Live Streaming on Youtube

Sofasessions: Join scheduled jam sessions or create your own rehearsals. Play some cover songs, improvise over backing tracks or introduce the others to your own music.

Crowdpurr: Lets you create customisable Live Crowd trivia for free.

While we may not be able to run Gigs, there is a place to create listening parties on Spotify.
Take a free online improv comedy class and zoom a comedy show to your audience.
Online movie nights Netflix party.
Twitch sessions.
The events team also has a Hopin account that can be used for larger scale, expo events. Great to use if you want multiple event spaces.