While researching accessibility and captioning for instructional videos, I discovered YouTube is a great tool to use to add captioning to videos easily and cheap - it’s free! For one of my classes in the UC Denver ILT program we were asked to host a short webinar on a topic of interest to us.
I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of my discovery and teach people during that webinar how they could add captions themselves. For a formal report on this project, click here.
While attendance on the live call was minimal, this is common given the need to be available at the same time as the event and the amount of advertising (within the UC Denver program only).
In 30 minutes we were able to do the following
I have had experience conducting webinars before, but normally I am handed the material and asked to speak to it. In other words, I am presenting someone else’s work. I know in the film industry for every minute of actual film footage in a movie there are hours behind the scenes being dedicated to a good production, and the same is the case with a live webinar. You absolutely must be prepared and practiced because those that are prepared are calm, and being calm helps you keep your audience attentive and things under control when everything doesn’t go exactly to plan (which happened to me when I thought I was sharing a certain window of my computer screen when it was actually a completely different one!). On this note, it is also important to be familiar with the presentation tool you are using. I use Zoom at work and was happy to see UC Denver did as well, for it allowed me to get through my tech issue smoothly once I was aware of the problem.
Other Lessons Learned from my experience
1. A backup demo couldn't hurt.
The participants in my webinar were engaged, but unable to actively participate in the demo because they weren't able to download the required files ahead of time. My "do" exercise for the webinar hinged on this, so I had to improvise by running through the activity with them from my screen. This made the activity more of an "absorb" one. In hindsight, I realized a good solution would have been to use Zoom to let a participant control my screen w the mouse and I could have coached them/seen them go through the activity. Not everyone would have had this experience, but it would have been an improvement.
2. Make it easy for people to say "yes" to joining.
Given I knew the audience was going to be classmates, I could have devised a webinar on the topic without having them need to download files ahead of time. I feel like more people would have joined and participated in the demos if I used tools more ubiquitous to the class. Alternatively, while maybe not applicable to a 15 min webinar where every minute is more critical, allocate time within your webinar to download required files together and make it an activity. Perhaps even list these directions in the waiting room for people before joining to get a head start.
3. Delivering a clear speech without "um" is like a good golf shot
The more I practice, and have experience doing webinars, the less I should keep my nervous utterances. The analogy for me is like a golf swing. There's a lot to remember in order to execute a good shot. I need my arms to do this at this time, feet need to be shoulder width apart, ball needs to be etc etc. To have a good shot though, you can't be thinking about any of these things when you swing. You are to have a clear mind and let the practice & routine take over. You think too much, the swing changes, and the results get random.
If I keep thinking "dont say 'um', don't say um'" while I am speaking, I may not say um, but my speech and delivery will get random.