Feb 192016
This entry is part 11 of 17 in the series 2015-16 Program Chronicles
Icon showing monitor displaying teleconferenceCreated by eightemdi from Noun Project

[Ed. note: The original version of this article, written by Ben Woelk on 5 February 2016, can be viewed on STC’s Notebook]

On February 2, the RochesterSoutheastern Michigan, and New England chapters partnered on an innovative virtual techcomm showcase.

The Rochester chapter hosted the event through Adobe Connect, and made registration available using EventBrite. Southeastern Michigan and New England also made the event available through their event programming tools. (Each chapter kept the proceeds from its own listings.) Pricing was per connection, or per attendee for those who chose to attend an “official” viewing party with other community members. (New England hosted a viewing party at the Waltham Public Library.) Viqui Dill and Ben Woelk managed the Adobe Connect session.

Each host community supplied a speaker for a 30-minute presentation. New England brought Patty Gale to speak on “Know Your Users: Improving Learning Content by Connecting with Users;” Rochester enlisted Bernard Aschwanden to speak on “Audience-Specific Content using FrameMaker;” and Southeastern Michigan had Angel Belford to speak on “Best Practices in Using Social Media for Your Business.” Questions were taken through the chat window.

The total attendance was about 45, with viewing parties for each chapter and a contingent of techcomm professionals in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

There were some rough patches with the experiment, including some audio difficulties, but overall the event was a success. Attendee feedback has been good.

Local Reaction

New England Chapter President Nancy Allison, who was at the Waltham viewing party, liked the results. “It’s a new model for us with much lower costs than meeting at the Hilton, and we will continue to experiment with it. I’m glad Ben Woelk took this innovative step, and I appreciate his taking the lead on it. Webinars with multiple presenters are definitely a promising idea. I really enjoyed being part of an audience that existed in three different chapters.”

New England Vice President Paul Duarte, who hosted a viewing party at UMass Dartmouth, added, “This decentralized model shows promise as it can reach more people, and it’s more convenient for those who can’t make it to a main viewing party or dinner meeting.”

The event recording is available free at http://stc.adobeconnect.com/p1gvk7pdxrg/.

Round Two: STC Virtual Chapter Techcomm Showcase

The Twin Cities and Pittsburgh chapters and the Instructional Design and Learning SIG are partnering on the second Techcomm showcase on March 2. Speakers and details are being finalized.

About the Author

Ben Woelk is Program Manager at STC Rochester. He is the author of “Shockproofing Your Use of Social Media: Staying Safe Online,” available for Amazon Kindle.

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