The Producer Checklist: Another Key to Success in the Virtual Classroom

July 13, 2016 10:00 by Dana Peters
Depending on your perspective, multi-tasking can be viewed as either a positive, productive activity or a negative, sometimes distracting one. For our Virtual Producers, their ability to keep their eyes on several things at one time is a necessity. Helping them be prepared to technically support that classroom of “spinning plates” is where a solid Producer Checklist comes into play. We never run a session without one. The checklist is a critical tool for Virtual Producers to remain focused on what needs to be accomplished, create more accurate and predictable results, and meet every little detail of each unique session for our clients. We’d like to share with you an example of a Producer Checklist, which you may find useful for your virtual learning session. As you can see, our Producer Checklist includes the basic session information at the top, which eliminates any confusion on delivery. We’ve also broken the checklist into sections: Pre-Session, During Session, and Post-Session to make it as easy as possible to follow. In addition to including the pre-session, during session and post-session duties for your Producer, it’s a good idea to also include emergency contact information for session instructors and key contacts like content organizers, platform technical support, and session administrators. It’s impossible to predict, but mistakes happen; technology happens, or rather sometimes doesn’t. Having the necessary contact information easily available for your Producer is helpful in case pre-work documents are missing, the wrong link was sent to participants or the technology simply isn’t working. It’s also a good idea to include any reminders or session notes for your Producer. These may include unique post-session communication requirements, timing information, or something similar. Our hope is that this checklist will provide you a starting point for your virtual sessions. Our continued work with clients has garnered several general components for each section that we regularly adapt and change as it suits our clients; you should feel free to customize these components as well. For more information on the role of a Virtual Producer, check out our post: The Role of the Virtual Learning Session Producer. How have you’ve used this Producer Checklist, or something similar, in your work?  

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Practice | Producer | Tools

"Doh! How Did I Miss That?" Leveraging Technology to Review Your Work.

June 21, 2016 10:00 by Dana Peters
We’ve all done it...spent hours on a presentation, project or paper, and then spent several more hours checking and double checking it for mistakes and errors. Whether it be simple spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or a sentence that just doesn’t “sound right”, chances are we will all overlook something as we proof our own work. We’re human, and after spending so much time with a document, our human brains will read something based on what we want it to say, instead of what it actually says. This is where having the ability to have an outside individual review your content comes in handy. In my world, there isn’t always someone on hand to review my projects. We are a small team and sometimes availability or deadlines don’t allow for the luxury of passing something back and forth for proof.  If the same is true for you, I have a cool tip to pass along! As creative instructional designer, John Bellotti III points out in this post, everyone has an automatic copy editor right at the tip of his or her fingers...literally. Microsoft Word has a built in “text-to-speech” feature that allows the computer to read your documents and projects back to you, and I will tell you, it’s a game changer. Using text to speech will allow you to hear your copy read out loud which could catch mistakes you didn’t realize were there. It provides a whole new perspective to a familiar project. According to Bellotti, “It’s especially helpful in uncovering words that won’t be caught by spell check because they’re technically spelled right, like form and from. And just because the computer doesn’t alert you to a grammar mistake, doesn’t mean it’s going to roll off the tongue or sound right to your reader.” The feature is called “speak” in Microsoft Word. While it’s a hidden feature, Bellotti easily outlines the steps to find it in his post. To use the feature, make sure the volume is up on your computer and then simply highlight the text you want read to you. "While the computer generated voice is not perfect, and may incorrectly pronounce a few words, it is a great tool for reviewing," says Bellotti. I agree, and have used it frequently for varying projects, proposals, and even important emails. For longer, more extensive projects, I still tend to use a copy editor, but this tool is a great way to improve accuracy in the content I create.Were you aware of the Microsoft Word “speak” feature? Have you used it in your business? Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear your feedback.  

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Business Issues | Presentation | Process Improvement | Tools