~ Today's prompt is brought to you by the letter W~
There are many ways to learn ~ you can read all about it by checking out a book, you can listen in and learn by checking out an audio podcast, you can travel locally or nationally and attend lectures at a conference or seminar, you can teach yourself by noodling around with a genealogy program or playing around with a software program, or you can "watch and learn" by attending an online webinar.
Webinars contain the best of both worlds ~ you can watch the presentation (ususally a Powerpoint or slide show) while listening to the presenter. In the early days of webinars sometimes the presentations were not all that smooth. Today, many organizations have tweaked their presentation models and provide quite professional webinars for your viewing and listening pleasure!
Have you checked out any webinars lately? With hosting sites like GoToMeeting, the audience has the ability to attend a presentation and, in certain instances, direct questions to the presenter live and have them answered in real time (this live mic option gives you the ability to follow up on your questions and/or interact with the presenter).
Last Wednesday I attended DearMyrtle's webinar "Blogging for Beginners" brought to the genealogy community by Legacy Family Tree. Not only did Myrtle present her Powerpoint slides and give her lecture live, but the audience was able to ask questions and the answers were provided in real time (at least for me, within moments of typing my questions into the query box I received answers). At the conclusion of DearMyrtle's presentation, Geoff Rasmussen opened things up to live questions with the assistance of the GoToMeeting's sidebar (it is equipped with a space to type questions as well as a tab for "raising your hand.") Once called on, your computer's mic is live and you can ask your question and have it answered in real time. Very cool and a real boon ~ fitting your genealogy education into your schedule via webinars.
A suggestion for all Genealogical and Historical Societies ~ webinars are a great way to include those who cannot attend your meetings and open up a wealth of opportunities for distance Societies to increase their memebership and/or attendance at meetings. How many times have you seen a great class, lecture or course offered by a particular Society but because of distance or time you could not attend? I would happily pay for a lecture or course offering if I could attend via computer ~ how about you? Perhaps we can move our Societies forward into the brave new world of webinars!
Check out FamilySearch.org which has several of their Saturday morning FHL lectures available online ~ this is perfect as you can attend the lectures in the comfort of your home when it is convenient for you (pjs and all!). Some other choices include NEHGS and Legacy Family Tree.
Now if you will excuse me, I have an 8:00 a.m. webinar with Karen Clifford entitled "Evidence Analysis" offtered in conjuction with Legacy and ICAPgen ~ it is taking place in Salt Lake City and in addition to the actual class attendees, several hundred are attending from all over the World (I'm in my pjs with a large cup of coffee - cool!). It will be available for the next 30 days at Legacy's site. Cheers!