Tuesday, January 08, 2002
Today I attended an online educational seminar -- Best Practices -- Leading a Live, Online Session hosted by Jo-Ann Driscoll of Centra.
The session used Symposium by Centra and included Voice over IP (VOIP), application sharing and chat -- all on a synchronous basis and, as the title suggests, outlined concepts, issues and strategies for trainers interested in delivering training online.
Symposium is Centra's "virtual classroom" software. Participants need to install "client" software in order to be able to access online sessions. Part of the installation process includes a wizard which assesses your Web browser, network connection and audio (headphone/speakers and microphone) settings. I found the software easy to install and use.
Once the client software is loaded on your computer, you'll need to enter your username and password in the spaces provided to access a given session. Your username and password are e-mailed to you once you complete registration for a given seminar.
Today's session included more than 200 participants and dealt with all aspects of planning and conducting an online seminar. Feedback was solicited from participants during the seminar in the form of multiple-choice and yes/no questionnaires.
All mannner of topics were covered during the session--from characteristics of "new" versus "experienced" learners, through technical issues regarding audio connections and microphones and considerations for managing small and large groups, to dealing with technical difficulties.
Another nice feature of Symposium is that session content is archived and available to participants following the seminar. The Centra Content Manager can be downloaded to help you maintain content from a series of seminars.
I am impressed by the technology Centra has to offer and believe it is a valuable tool for synchronous online training.