To Webcast or Webinar for Remore Learning and CPD?

Audience: Teachers and Leaders

Our short guide explains what live streaming is; the opportunities and how to use it. This page provides an overview of the technology and is aimed at teachers and leaders considering using it. Whilst there are no expectations for you to do so, if you do decide to use audio and video for real-time online teaching or CPD, we recommend you read this excellent 'Safe Remote Learning Guide'  from SWGfL which outlines some things you might want to consider to help safeguard staff, students and the wider community.

Ever since live webcast (livestreaming) and webinar services were developed, both services have become very popular for business or social events that are based in real time. It is very common that people will confuse between a live webcast and webinar service.

This is due to the fact that a live webcast and webinar have similar functions and purpose. But experts in the video industry will disagree as there are still some key differences between a live webcast and webinar service and we hope that this page will explain what and how webcast and webinars work.

In layman terms, webcast services are often used for events which are broadcast by one host to many viewers whereas webinars are broadcast by a presenter to a small number viewers supporting engagement and a level of control with the participants. In technical terms, both webcast and webinar services are broadcast via the Internet and accessed by a single URL on any video/audio device which is either in live mode or on demand. 

Live streaming refers to the broadcasting of live video to an audience in real time, similar to live television. Live streams can also occur in private one-on-one chats, which cannot be viewed by others.

When it comes to practical use, live webcast services are mainly used in corporate or entertainment events with the purpose to educate and deliver information to a large group of invited attendees online whereas webinars are commonly used for interactive or collaborative events that demand active engagement, interaction or participation between the presenter and attendees. Examples will be seminars, leadership talks, and motivational speech events.

To summarise, there are many similarities in terms of technology for live webcast and webinar services but the difference begins with the agenda of the event  - this will determine whether the event is a delivered as a webinar or Webcast. 

Should I Webcast or Webinar?

When planning an event, you'll need to consider what you wish to achieve? Are you simply using it to communicate/broadcast a message or do you need a level of interactivity? What's the group size?  What's the desired outcome of using the technology?

The following table will help you to determine the type of technology you will need to use depending on need.



Some Practical Considerations when Considering Livestreaming an Event

Does my setup meet the technical requirements to reliably livestream? 

Do I have a suitable environment to broadcast from? 

Do consider the terms of service together with privacy policies and in particular if there are any minimum age requirements of the chosen service.

Consider if the system includes online chat feature, and if this can be moderated.

Consider Privacy settings before posting – (e.g. YouTube has a variety of settings (Public, Unlisted, Private, Comments Allowed/Not Allowed) that will determine who can see and comment on the video).

If messaging services are used by staff, e.g. WhatsApp, be mindful of professional standards.

If it's a Broadcast platform - How do I interact with viewers? 

In YouTube, Live chat is enabled by default and will appear to the right of the video player when your live stream is active. Users will require a Google account in order to be able to engage with Chat (this of course places an overhead of viewers to login in or create an account)

After your live stream ends, viewers will see a replay of live chat when they watch the stream archive. The live chat module only exists on YouTube watch pages – it does not follow embedded players. 

Note: Live chat is not available if your channel or live stream’s audience is set for children.

Alternatives to YouTube Chat for Capturing Questions during your Livestream 

You may wish to use a sevice such as Padlet for collecting viewer questions or feedback during a livestream or webinar. 

You can use YouTube to stream your event and Padlet to collect questions (Padlet offers a free service and does not require users to log into post)

Use an associate to manage this whilst you're presenting. 


Webcasting (Livestreaming) an Event

The following workflow outlines how to enable live streaming on YouTube (you may also wish to explore FaceBook Live)

If you don't have a Google Account - Sign Up and create one.

Live streaming is disabled on new YouTube channels by default.

Here’s how to enable it:

To be eligible to livestream your event, your YouTube account must be verified (via phone call or SMS) and in good standing – meaning you haven’t breached community or copyright guidelines. You can check this in the ‘Status and Features’ section of your YouTube channel.

Verify your YouTube account. It’s a simple process.

  • Go to YouTube and log into yor account (using your Google Account Details)
  • Select your country, preferred verification code delivery method, and enter the number of a mobile phone you have access to. Punch in the six-digit verification code when you get it to verify your account.
  • Enable live streaming via the channel features page, the YouTube Studio live events page, or the Live Control Room.
  • Wait 24 hours for live streaming to activate on your account.

As long as there aren’t any live streaming restrictions on your channel, you can now live stream on YouTube through a web browser or streaming encoder. 

Setting up a Live Stream

The easiest way to live stream on YouTube is straight from your web browser using a built-in or external USB webcam. A webcam might meet your needs if all you want to do is share your thoughts and engage with your audience in real time. It’s also possible to live stream through your browser with a higher-end camera like a digital camcorder or DSLR. To do so, you’ll need a USB capture card to bring the video signal into your computer. Then YouTube can recognize the camera as if it were a plug-and-play webcam.

Once you’re all set with a camera, here’s how to live stream on YouTube through your web browser:

Log into your YouTube account and click the “Create a video or post” button in the top-right corner of the screen.

Select “Go Live” from the drop-down menu.

If prompted, give YouTube and your browser any required permissions for live streaming (i.e., camera, microphone).
In the Live Control Room, ensure “Webcam” is selected in the navigation bar at the top.

Give your live stream a title

Add a description

Enter a a Category for your event

Select a privacy setting (public, private, or unlisted)

  • Public is the default setting and that means anybody can see your video.
  • Private means only those you invite to view the video can view it (they must have their own Youtube accounts and the maximum number is 50 usernames). 
  • Unlisted means your video will not come up in search results or on your channel either.

We'd suggest setting the privacy for your livestream to 'Unlisted' 

Choose whether you’d like to live stream now or schedule an event for later.

You can upload a thumbail for your stream - or YouTube will create one for you by snapping a photo through your webcam.

Select the audience for your event

If you select 'No its not meant for kids' - the chat function will not be available next to your livestream in the video player.

Click 'Create Stream' 

You may wish to change the stream latency. 

If you live chat with viewers during a stream, a lower latency is best to reply to viewer comments and questions. Note that with lower latency, your viewers may experience more playback buffering. 

If you don't interact with your audience, a lower latency is not as important.

To share a link to your stream - clic kthe 'Share' button in the top right of the screen.

To begin streaming your event click  “Go live.” 

That’s it. Remember to press “End Stream” when you’re finished. YouTube will automatically upload an on-demand version of the live stream to your channel so viewers who missed it can play it back. You can see and manage all your current, scheduled, and past live streams within the “Manage” tab in the Live Control Room.


Requirements to Livestream an Event 

  • Your Internet connection is everything when livestreaming.  Check your internet upload speed at a site like before broadcasting. Disable or pause any Dropbox/Google Drive apps you might be running in the background. Know your quality options if your speed drops lower than expected.  Your primary consideration when streaming will be your connection's upload speed. YouTube Live recommends a range between 1,500 and 4,000 kbps for video, plus 128 kbps for audio
  • If your using a shared conection, try to encourage other users not to use the connection whilst you're streaming an event. A wired connection to your router is also recommended.
  • A Webcam is an easy way to go live using your computer, without the need for live streaming encoding software. Although you may wish to use an external camera for example a Digital SLR. A Guide to setting up a Digital SLR for livestreaming.
  • Buying yourself the best microphone for streaming can be a versatile addition to your whole streaming set-up. As a streamer, your voice must be clear throughout your broadcast. Here's a review of some of the best microphones
  • An option is to use an encoder - This allows you to capture content, including your desktop, camera, microphone and more, and send it to YouTube Live to be streamed to all your fans. Encoder streaming is best for live streams that broadcast your applications, your desktop, use external audio/video hardware, involve multiple cameras, etc.  OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is free and open source software for video recording and live streaming. Use it to stream to YouTube and many other providers . You may have seen it is use on YouTube Streams for 'Picture in Picture' video. 
  • What you see behind someone livestreaming is just as important as the technology. Most people make a fuss about the machine that runs the stream, but never the room around it. Do you prefer a green screen cutout? Eye catching design? Simplistic Background? Or anything in between. 
  • Lighting - Before going live, check the location lighting ahead of time to be sure it’s ideal, and avoid backlighting your subject.