A good time for a webinar

Just as I was about to sign-up for an hour long session on the new Google web analytics package, it struck me that I couldn’t make it.

The presentation by Avinash Kaushik, a Google Analytics evangelist and trainer at Market Motive, will cover new features of the web statistics tool. He reckons the new customizable dashboards, changes to naming conventions, new ways to report and more, will mean “this tool is even more powerful and flexible”.

As the webinar is being run at 9am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) I’m going to miss out – I’m not willing to make the sacrifice to get up at 4am on Thursday 21 April.

It’s not the first time I’ve missed a session that I thought would be really informative. Most of the webinars I’ve heard about are run in USA, or Europe.

I actually think the way of delivering presentations and informal training over the web makes a lot of sense in New Zealand. As people working in the same field are widely dispersed by geography and because of the relative high cost of travel not everybody who could benefit from face-to-face sessions can actually attend them.

The online webinar format is somewhat of a halfway house. People can access live content and participate without having to leave their desk. It’s not fully-fledged online learning, which is possible, but short interactive sessions on detailed topics. Short and to the point. It’s not as good as being their in person, but does enable knowledge transfer.

Of course, you can often watch or listen to recordings of presentations. But these lack the edginess of live events, and of course there’s no chance of joining in, or asking questions.

For anyone involved in using the web to engage their community, I’m planning to run webinars later in the year. Topics tumble off my lips: choosing and using CMSs, accessible design, content strategy, usability techniques, and more.

As well as deciding on content and speakers, I have to select a platform to run the webinar. Rather than opting for the big corporate ones, such as Webex or GoToMeeting, I’ll probably use ReadyTalk. It has all the necessary features, is easy to use and as a NTEN member I can use it for a very attractive price.

I’ll also be doing Andy Goodman’s “Webinar on webinars”, which promises to teach in one hour how to run a successful webinar. That’s if it’s not being run at some crazy hour.

What I don’t know just yet is the level of demand for learning about specialist topics around use of the web from community organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you’re interested, leave a comment. Or fill in my uber short poll on the right or link here: what is a good time for you to join in a webinar?

Offering webinars at a convenient time might help people to see the potential of this way of learning and sharing. Perhaps I can even get someone like Avinash to get up early to share with people working in community groups in our time zone.

PS Sign-up to my newsletter to be notified of details of my first webinar.


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