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Why Dean Dad is Wrong About Webinars
March 25, 2010 - 8:00pm

Dean Dad asks, "Why do webinars always suck?"

Dean Dad, you must be attending the wrong webinars. Have you attended any EDUCAUSE Live sessions?

These webinars are consistently excellent, informative, and well-paced. After having given an EDUCAUSE Live on "The Convergence of Lecture Capture and Social Media," I think I have some ideas as to why these webinars are so consistently strong:

1) The Host, Steve Worona. Steve is much more than the host. He is also the producer, editor, and force behind EDUCAUSE Live. If you've listened to EDUCAUSE Live you know Steve's smooth radio voice and inexhaustible depth of educational technology knowledge. Before coming to EDUCAUSE, Steve spent 35 years at Cornell - in a variety of roles. He channels in his long experience and expertise into shaping the webinar topics and individual presentations. Steve worked with me to develop the presentation, and then to shape the length and design of the talk to conform to best webinar practices. During the webinar, Steve interjects with both his own questions/observations and those from the attendees - insuring that the webinar is both interactive and quickly paced.

Now Steve will be the first one to point out that EDUCAUSE Live depends on a team of dedicated professionals to prepare and execute. The success of EDUCAUSE Live webinars are one example of the truly amazing work being done by the EDUCAUSE team. It is no surprise that EDUCAUSE live conferences are always so superbly produced and run, as this attention to detail and service-oriented, mission driven framework carries over to all of what EDUCAUSE does.

2) The Methodology: Steve has a very specific methodology for preparing and delivering a webinar. This methodology involves a set of milestones for preparing the webinar, guidelines for the design and length of the presentation slide deck, and a routine for practice and feedback. I'm guessing that Dean Dad has sat through webinars where the presenter has not taken the time to prep, or did not complete the preparation against a set of best practices. Steve also has the presenters deliver their webinars in a way that I found contrary to common sense, but actually works well. Rather than controlling the meeting/presentation software and advancing their own slides, Steve controls the webinar software and has the presenter work from a set of printed slides. I found this method allowed me to focus on my presentation and not on the presentation tool - and made for a much more relaxed and focussed session.

Again, knowing Steve, he will be the first to say that his methodology for preparing and delivering a webinar is but one way to insure success. The EDUCAUSE Live method has been refined over time by having complete over 150 webinars, and Steve and his team continue to evolve and refine the medium. Perhaps the lesson here is that the EDUCAUSE Live method does not need to be repeated for every webinar, but that every webinar needs the sort of preparation, inputs, and attention to detail that EDUCAUSE Live provides.

Has anyone else tried some of the webinar methods of Steve Worona and EDUCAUSE Live? Any other great examples of webinar's that you can name - or methods for prep and delivery that work particularly well?

 

 

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