Technology Tip Sheets By Coyote Communications

Online Classes, Workshops & Presentations
by Jayne Cravens

I am available for live/synchronous online events, but I would prefer such to not occur later than 11 p.m. my time (Pacific Coast time; that's 1 a.m. Chicago time and 2 a.m. in New York City), and no sooner than 6 a.m. my time (that's 8 a.m. Chicago time and 9 a.m. in New York City).

I can also participate in asynchronous (not live) online events, such as teaching an online course or moderating or facilitating a bulletin board for a set period (a week, a month, whatever).

See times around the globe (specifically the meeting planner) to compare your times with mine.

For instance, I can do a live or recorded webinar where participants, using their own laptops, hear my voice and see a slide presentation I have prepared. If the event is live, participants can text in their questions. You can view this archived version of a live webinar I did on Finding and Involving Tech Volunteers, recorded in April 2009, as an example. It's less than an hour long.

screenshot of iVisit presentation

  Another example: in May 2008, I presented live via iVisit, a free online video tool, from here in my home in Germany for the Northern Volunteer Managers Forum (for volunteer managers in the Northern suburbs of Adelaide) in Australia, and again in December 2008 for the Annual Congress for The Office for Volunteers in Adelaide, South Australia. Both online gigs were coordinated by Andy Fryer in Australia. My presentation was regarding online volunteering. At left, the first three photos are screen shots which represent what I saw via the camera that the Australia folks set up at the first presentation. It was helpful that I could see most of the participants in the background, as well as the person asking a question at the bottom of the screen, all at the same time. The last photo is from the audience's point of view; the image on the wall looks very faint, but that's because of the photo; it was much more clear in reality (according to Andy). For the second presentation, someone moved the camera, and another person went through the audience with a microphone, so that I could see and hear those asking a question.

The first presentation was 45 minutes; any more than an hour would, in my opinion, get boring for participants. It was helpful that, before my presentation (before I was even online), the meeting's facilitator provided the group with:

  • information about me (brief biography) and my URL
  • a brief review about what the presentation would be about
  • how questions would be asked. For the first presentation, people took turns sitting in the "hot seat" at the front of the room, and the facilitator either pushed the talk button for them, or showed them how to do it. For the second presentation, a facilitator walked around the room with a microphone for people to speak into to task questions that I could hear.
The group came ready with questions; many had obviously done a bit of reading about online volunteering before the presentation, and that helped us to be able to jump right into detailed questions and answers.

If you want to know what I'm like presenting online via video, you can view one of my videos at YouTube.

Logistics For Presenting Online

I can use any free software that can operate on my MacBook running OS X (you do NOT have to be on a Macintosh). I have a built-in web cam and a built-in microphone (though I prefer to use a headset or clearer audio).

If your participants will be in different locations, participating via their own laptops and hear the audio on their own speakers, you can go with platforms such as ReadyTalk, WebEx, AdobeConnect or GoToMeeting. Note your organization would be responsible for setting up the tech required for such an event and for all fees associated with setup.

If all participants will be in one room together, and you have a screen or screens where you can beam both my image and a slide show (you would need two computers for this, one with a live, excellent Internet connection and one for the slide show), as well as an excellent audio system, we could do an even livelier presentation, with free software: I prefer doing such video conferencing with iVisit (which is free), because I have much better performance with it than Skype, but am open to using other software, as long as its free for me. For me to present to your group remotely, you need:

  • two computers (doesn't have to be an Apple), one with fast Internet access and hooked up to speakers that can be turned up loudly and be heard clearly by everyone in attendance (the audio clarity is as important, if not more, than the video)
  • an iVisit account, which is free (or great familiarity with another free package that I can easily download)
  • two projectors/beamers, one to display me as I appear on one of the computers so that the whole group can see me (but, again, audio clarity is as important, if not more, than video clarity), and one loaded with my slide show
  • a microphone hooked up to the group's computer, so that each attendee can come to the mike with questions (or the mike can go to them).
  • to rehearse with me at least one week in advance, in the same meeting room where the presentation will be made, to ensure your computer and connection is working, and to ensure the audio in the room is clear for participants throughout the room.
  • to set up several minutes before the presentation is to start, to ensure we start on-time and there are no tech or audio issues.
I may only see the person who asks a question, or I may see the entire group, depending on how you set up your webcam. What's most important is that I can hear them.

Other online presentations I've done, using various synchronous and asynchronous software:

Read more about topics on which I can present.

View my public calendar to see when I am booked and when I am available.

Contact me for more information and my very reasonable speaking fees. We can also do a free test run, provided that you have a computer that can run iVisit or whatever tech tool you want to use.

Accolades to Coyote Communications

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