Academic Technology  |  WIMBA - Participant Area & Chat



Wimba - Participant Area & Chat

        Teaching Synchronous Online Course Sections







Wimba Classroom is web-based virtual classroom used to communicate with students and participants over the internet in a synchronous environment. It can be used to collaborate via chat, microphone, or webcam and share applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint. Entire sessions can be archived for distribution at a later time. This guide will help instructors communicate with their online students using text chat, audio through a microphone, video and the participant area.










The Participant Area

Once inside a wimba classroom, there are many tools for communicating with students. (for more information on entering your wimba classroom, refer to this guide.)

The Participant Area is simply a list of all the instructors (presenters, listed at the top in bold) and students or guests (participants) that are attending the live presentation.

NetStats Indicator

To the left of each name is a three-bar icon which helps you see the participant's network status. Basically this let's you know how strong and consistent their connection to the course is.

Students only get to see their network status and may not know that the presenter can see everyone's. Even with a high-speed connection, it is common for the network status to occasionally drop from green to orange, and then jump back up to green.

Yes/No Indicator

The Yes/No buttons allow participants to quickly respond to questions with either a check (yes) or an x (no). The responses are displayed to the right of the participant's name.

Hand Raise / Question Indicator

Participants can use the Hand Raise option to signal the presenter that they have a question. Numbers will appear next to the participants name indicating the order in which they raised their hand. A short audible tone will sound when someone raises their hand.

Status Indicator

Participants and presenters can select from a number of emoticons. Emoticons are small graphics which correspond to an emotion or statement, such as laughing, confused, away from keyboard, etc. These status images will appear to the right of the participants name. An automatic text chat message will also appear in the text chat window.

Most status indicators will automatically disappear after about 15 seconds. (The 'Away' status indicator must be removed by either the participant or the presenter.)

Privilege Indicators

The privilege indicators allow a presenter to grant or disable a participants right to use their microphone, video webcam, or chat window. The fourth option allows a presenter to promote a participant to presenter status. This is useful if the participant needs to give a presentation and control what content is being shared on the screen.

A circle with a plus sign indicates that the participant has the right to use that communication tool. As a presenter, simply click on a circle with a plus to change it to a minus and take away the privilege, or click a minus to change it to a plus and grant the privilege.

Double-clicking on a video privilege circle will begin a 'video lock'. When a video is locked, that participant's or presenter's camera will continue to broadcast even if others are speaking.

Room Pulse

The Room Pulse options is a quick way to see a summary of each participant's status.

Actions Menu (Gear Button)

The Presenter can control the entire group of presenters with the Actions Menu. Here a presenter can enable or disable the audio, video, chat, status, questions, and yes/no indicators for the entire room.

Presenters can also lock the room, which will prevent any other students from joining the wimba classroom, or start a chat log which will record the chat session.

The Text Chat Window

The Text Chat window houses a basic chat feature so participants and presenters can communicate through instant texting. If you are not familiar with chat, think of it as sending an instant, brief email - usually comprised of a few words or sentences at the most. Though not as fast as talking audibly using a mic, chat can be a quick and easy way to communicate without the need for peripherals.

Public Chat

To use the chat window, simply type a short message in the bottom field and hit enter. The message will appear in the chat window, along with anyone else who is chatting at that time. When the chat messages fill up the alloted space, a scrollbar will appear to the right so you can scroll up and see previous messages.

Private Chat

If enabled, the private chat option will allow participants and presenters to chat with others in the classroom privately, without anyone else being able to see the text. To chat privately, select the dropdown to the left of the chat field labeled "To:" By default this will be set to the Main Room, so that everyone can see the chat message. With the pull-down expanded, select another participant or presenter to send them a private message.

The classroom host can choose to disable the ability for participants to privately chat with one another during class. However, participants will always have the ability to privately chat with a presenter.

Pause Chat

When several participants are chatting, the chat field will continue to scroll up. This can sometimes make it difficult to keep up with everything people are saying. The pause chat feature allows you to pause your chat window so you can read the message on the screen, and when you unpause (or play) the chat window again the new messages will appear.

To pause the chat window, select the pause button to the right of the chat field. When the pause button is selected, it will become a play button. To resume seeing incoming messages, select the play button.

If You Need Help

Guides, contact information and other help can be found at ETSU's Wimba page:

A more in-depth presenter guide can be found at this URL, explaining the Wimba classroom with its tools and options in greater detail:


Wimba’s support center can be located here:


Wimba offers 24/7 support by phone: (877) 382-2293.

Instructor: Anthony Kiech  |  423.439.8611  |  |