Thursday, November 29, 2012

Technostress for a webinar

technostressFlickr Photo via Cambodia4kidsorg

This week I engage in daily blogging on my Dutch blog. It was an idea which occurred during a blogchat twitterchat. I liked the idea because I think daily blogging may stimulate me to try out new styles. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you?) I can't cope with translating all my daily posts to English too. It would take me too much time. But let met translate today's one about technostress.

A webinar is an online meeting... I always tell trainers and facilitators that technology is peanuts.... Every trainer who can work with a beamer can facilitate a webinar too. However, yesterday I experienced technostress (and I must admit not for the first time.... )

The planning: in the morning we would prepare with the 3 facilitators and in the afternoon (from 2-3 hours) we would have our webinar about the 'new Africa'. The week before it all went completely according to our plan, so this the second time it was going to be more relaxed, right? Unfortunately, it was not right .. First our guest speaker was no longer available but fortunately another guest speaker was found. This speaker would only be available until 2:30, so we faced the choice of planning the webinar half an hour earlier (with the risk that some participants would be late to join) or use the second half hour for different activities. We chose the second option. (decision 1)

Then 2 of our 3-some couldn't enter the webconference room (Bigmarker) because there had been an upgrade. I could work from another laptop at home, but we were scared that more participants would experience the same problem. So we decided to abandon our webinar software and choose new tools (decision 2). Very unfortunate because this was the second in our series of 4 and we had hoped to get the participants used to a fixed toolset.. Fortunately we already used a phoneline for audio, so our basics still worked. Listening half to the discussions about the content - working with statements - I started looking for alternative tools. We decided to divide tasks. Two would look for an alternative tool, one would talk to the guest speaker and the statements.  (decision 3)

With Sibrenne I went out to look for a tool to show the presentation and to chat, our basic communication line for audio was already a teleconference from My first thought went to ZIPcast van slideshare, because I have used it several times with success. The presentation is key and people can watch and chat via a link. So  I went quickly to slideshare and logged in ... mmm where is now the ZIPCAST ​​button?? Quick googling showed me that, yes, I should be able to start a zipcast but it seems like it is suddenly called online meeting instead of zipcast?! Clicking faster and faster... and getting back to the same page with payment plans. It seems it is currently only for Pro accounts available? So quickly I pulled my credit card and paid $ 19, a bargain to solve our technostress ... Unfortunately, I did not see a chat capability when I opened my zipcast. Shit! Then we increased our tempo and while on skype tested the following tools sharing links in the Skype chat and shouting things like 'try this out even if you managed to':
Clicking revealed our criteria: it has to be simple enough for our participants, without log in, with a professional image. Our shortlist was Edistorm and Todaysmeet. (decision 4). Finally we opted for  Todaysmeet to have a clear interface and good chat function. We send the presentation before the webinar so that people can print it or watch in on their computers. .. (decision 5).

Pfff. What a relieve we have finally made our choices. We are anxious to see how participants will receive this shift in tools. We have 18 participants in total. The chat tool works well and helps us to see who is already present in the teleconference line. People give answers to our questions and share their own questions via the chat. The speaker has an interesting story fortunately he does not forget to mention the numbers of the slides so I can click on the slides for our recording, and participants can follow the flow. Everyone notes the sound seems better! We get compliments about the sound. What a gift because the last time we had indeed suffered from some echos because some participants appeared to be logged in twice.... I wonder how the experience was for the participants... Would they think we have chosen this solution to get better sound? :)

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