Courses

PLATO offers non-credit, participatory courses meant for seniors who want to continue learning, sharing and making new friends.The content and format of PLATO courses are determined by volunteer Course Coordinators and course participants. Any PLATO member can propose and coordinate a course.


Fall Online Courses are a Go!

Hear Ye!  Hear Ye! Fall Courses are being offered online this year.

To help prepare members who will be enrolling in fall online courses, Curriculum is scheduling practice sessions in Aug. and again in Sept.  In addition to practice sessions, and to help orient course members to using Meet are two short write-ups with helpful tips on:

  • How to Join an Online Course, using Google Meet and,
  • You are in the Online Course, Now What?

Practice sessions coming in August and September.  Members who would like to  experience joining a Meet session before courses start in Sept, can sign up for a practice session with an experienced member.  Check the "Save the Date" column as to when sign up is available.

While many of us may have experienced online meetings did you know there are little tweaks you could do to make the experience more comfortable for you?  The following Tips are suggestions to make your online experience good for you and others in the course.


Tips for Participants Using Google Meet

Tips #1: How to Join an Online Course

When you enroll in an online course, you will need to give your email to the coordinator of the course. They will use your email to send you an invitation to join the meeting.

Every week during their course, the coordinator will send an email with the link to their online course meeting. The link will look something like this:


A few minutes before the course time, using the device (laptop, tablet, phone) that you will be using while in the online course, open your email from the coordinator and click on the link “join the video meeting”.  Then follow these steps:

The first screen you will see will say: Getting ready to join

    • You will see yourself on the video screen. If you do not see yourself, you will be asked to allow your microphone and camera. Click ALLOW
    • Then click on ASK TO JOIN
    • The coordinator will admit you to the course meeting.

That's it, it's that simple to join a meeting.

Tips #2: You Are in the Online Course: Now What?

    • All participants should MUTE their microphones during the meeting except when they want to speak.
    • The coordinator will let you know how to indicate that you want to speak.

One of the easiest ways is to raise your hand – all members should be able to see all members of the group so it is easy to see who is raising their hand when you use the tiled view.

Another way is to write a message through the chat feature saying you want to speak.

  • When ready to speak, click the mute/unmute icon in the white bar on the bottom of your screen. (This icon looks like a microphone). The white bar comes up when you hover you mouse over the bottom of your meet screen. The white bar looks something like the following image.

To read the white bar from left to right: The name of your course is on the far left, next is the microphone image followed by the red telephone icon, and then the camera symbol. On the far right are three vertical dots - clicking on the dots gives you more screen arrangement choices.

When you click on the three tiny dots on the right-hand side of the white bar the following dialog box appears:


You can change the layout of how the images of the participants look on your screen. From the above box click on the menu choice ‘Change layout’ .

The ‘Sidebar’ view: the speaker is in the large window and up to four participants are in the side small windows.

The ‘Spotlight’ view: only the person speaking will be visible.

The 'Tiled' view: up to 16 members will be visible. This is the view that is the best for a Course meeting.

    • It is easiest to join the meeting through a desktop computer, a laptop, or a tablet. Using a phone is difficult to see where all the icons are (MUTE/UNMUTE icon, VIDEO icon).
    • If you are using a phone to join the video meeting, place the phone on a stable place i.e. a table. If you are holding your phone in your hand, it is hard to stabilize it for the length of the meeting.
    • You may want to check your background surroundings light, so that you can be seen clearly, and adjust your screen so that your whole head is visible to others.
    • If you do not want to be seen in the video meeting, you can turn off your camera icon in the white bar at the bottom of the screen. This looks like a movie camera.
    • When you want to leave the meeting, you can click on the red telephone icon in the white bar.
    • If you do not want to attend the meeting using an internet source, you can call into the meeting with a phone. The invitation to the class that your coordinator sends you each week will also have a phone number to call. In your email it will look like this:


    • Remember if you are using the phone-in option you will be able to hear and participate in the meeting, but not be able to join the video.

to Top


Coordinator's Corner

Tips for Participants for How to Join and Now that I'm online What Next? (PDF)

Resource materials for coordinators who are working with Google's G-Suite: Meet.

How to 'set up" a meetings in Google Meet (pptx)

Companion Guide to How to "set up" a meeting in Google Meet. (docx) Download

How to do a Presentaion in Google Meet . (pptx)

Companion Guide to How to do a presentation. (docx) Download 

pptx - PowerPoint, docx - Word


    Save the Date

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Edie Urness-Pondillo
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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