SignWriting List
August 17, 2014

Hello Maria and everyone!
This is such a brave message, discussing the feelings you had during the Symposium presentation. I just want you to know, for the record, that I was delighted and honored that you took the time, after just receiving your Ph.D and defending your dissertation a few weeks earlier, and with tiny babies to care for at home…I really don’t know how you did it, Maria, and we are all the richer for your contribution - thank you!

And I am sure you know, you are not the only one that was uncomfortable. I too was sorry that we had so many technical problems. While people were presenting, I was not only the “Master of Ceremonies” (MC) or hostess, but I was also pushing the buttons on the controls to decide when we saw a person on the screen and when we saw the slides and when the audience saw me and so forth, and I also had to keep the time so that each presentation wrapped up on time, and in several cases, people did not realize when they were presenting - the time zones were confusing for people - and while one presentation was nearing its end, I realized that the next presenter had not come into the broadcast area yet, and I would be writing private emails to the next presenter saying “your time is soon…are you on your way and did you know this is your link? and so forth - one time Natasha, on day one, her iPad refused to let her in, so she had to run to a school room I guess, I am not sure, and she somehow was able to grab a computer to present with, and we switched Charles Butler with Natasha at the last minute and it all worked out - but the stress level of the next presenter making it to the podium was high - I know you went through that as well, Maria, and I think that we can solve these problems at the next Symposium.

I was very strong throughout the Symposium….If they could put Happiness in a bottle and everyone could feel as I did at the end of each 8 hour day - you would want to do a Symposium everyday too!

I was really happy sitting listening to so many remarkable SignWriting projects that I barely knew about just a few months earlier - it was a real emotional high for me -

…but of course, there were moments when everyone has to take a break and the breaks were not handled correctly -

You see, I had actually scheduled breaks - I thought that we would ask each presenter to present for 20 minutes and then have 10 minutes for questions and answers and then have 15 minutes to setup the next presenter - so the break was the 15 minutes between presentations - but that is not what happened - which is my fault, because as the MC I should have been more strict with the time - instead we all presented for more like 30 to 40 minutes and by the time the next presenter was ready to go, none of us had had a break - so you can put that on my shoulders - I could have managed the times better…

But on a positive note…we presented live for 32 hours over 4 days and every presentation showed up, and every presentation was on time except for one, and that was not so bad because the one that was late was only late by a few minutes -

For a truly professional Symposium, we need to improve the way slides and interpreters are handled. If we cannot solve that problem then we may go to a webinar or other software…but I have a question for you…what is the difference between a webinar and Google Hangouts?

Here is a definition of a webinar in Wikipedia:

"Web conferencing refers to a service that allows conferencing events to be shared with remote locations. These are sometimes referred to as webinars or, for interactive conferences, online workshops. In general, the service is made possible by Internet technologies, particularly on TCP/IP connections. The service allows real-time point-to-point communications as well as multicastcommunications from one sender to many receivers. It offers data streams of text-based messages, voice and video chat to be shared simultaneously, across geographically dispersed locations. Applications for web conferencing include meetings, training events, lectures, or short presentations from any computer.

I believe the answer is that a webinar does not broadcast live to YouTube - isn’t that the difference? The webinar is to a closed group of watchers, or a closed audience, and Google Hangouts is open to anyone on Google Plus, YouTube and so forth…so it has an open audience - it is more like TV, or a true broadcast…which means we could get advertisers on a Google Hangout broadcast, if we had large amounts of viewers that would make advertising lucrative -

I believe a webinar is probably more elegant, but a hangout is a little more informal, and more generally public - I believe with specially-developed apps that are donated to us, we will be able to improve the quality of the broadcast, have fewer presentations in a day, have prepared videos during breaks, and improve my introductions for people that is actually written beforehand with the presenter’s approval so the introduction goes smoothly - I rambled too much- but it doesn’t have to be that way in the future -

So just as you say, Maria, you could have read your script, I could also have read your introduction, about Malta and the amazing historic work done with SignWriting in Malta, and you would know in advance what I would say so you would feel more prepared…

I am also going to give people the exact time they are presenting in their local time, so that no one can misunderstand what time they are presenting - apparently the UTC confused lots of people, although we checked and out times were correct - nonetheless the different time zones around the world did confuse people and there is no reason that that should happen again -

I certainly like the idea of a webinar as well - and I am not saying Google Hangouts is necessarily the only way to go - I know the world of online presenting will change and change and change - so please continue to give me your feedback and give us all ideas for the future -

We might also be able to re-do some presentations - I am open to the idea although I do not know when - we are having trouble getting the captions done - it turns out it is more work than expected and I am considering finding out if a professional captioning studio might be willing to donate their time to helping us -

Lots to consider -

Val ;-)

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On Aug 17, 2014, at 7:21 PM, maria galea <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

HI Val,
I think the Symposium was a great opportunity and quite daring for all involved really, considering the lack of experience of all of us with online symposiums. To be honest I was not very comfortable presenting online. However that could be just me as I just feel very awkward communicating this way. - but then again isn't it wonderful that there is online face-to-face communication and that I can see all those people from across the globe in real-time!!! wow!!  
So really for me the greatest obstacle was a personal one, my uneasiness with the medium of hangouts itself, but that's okay and I can learn to warm to hangouts, and if I don't that's fine too because the benefits of such a symposium make it worthwhile.  I can also learn from my mistakes and that's great!  For starters I would definitely read my presentation next time, as what I wished to have communicate didn't come across. I would also make sure that I don't present from home. My little baby was moaning for me in the background and though I knew my husband was with him it was just enough background noise to keep me completely distracted and unable to concentrate. 

Besides this personal difficulty, as others may have pointed out it was a bit tricky with the visuals and the fact that the interpreter would disappear was distracting. Another difficulty I am sure from your side was the lack of breaks! I was amazed at how you kept going!!

As for suggestions about future symposiums. What about the use of webinars? I have no experience of these, but my husband sometimes listens to webinars related to his career.  That would mean that the presenter could just present and Valerie you wouldn't have to be online all the time..? And it could also mean that a little donation could paid by those wishing to listen, and thus help with the costs of running the symposium?

Anyway just wanted to contribute to the feedback concerning the Symposium. Well done to all involved!
Maria








On 15 August 2014 17:56, Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
SignWriting List
August 15, 2014

Thank you, Jonathan, for these comments and I agree with them all -

Steve was telling me how the Wikimania conference scheduled live streaming of their conference and it is quite similar to what you propose below - more time between performances and not so much of the problems that occurred with the technology -

We could actually cut those sections from another version of the longer videos we have, but we will also keep the long original versions of the videos too, because I think this whole process has been fascinating - if you realize that we did this with zero funding, and it was broadcast from my home office and our family room in our home, and in Steve’s office in Iowa - that alone is an amazing fact that technology has come that far - and because the Google Hangouts software is free to use that too makes it much more possible to use it -

But do not think, just because it was broadcast from our homes, that we are not a serious and important factor in the online Symposium world - I plan to make the SignWriting Symposium an important academic and educational event, as well as an entertaining event, for many years to come.

So all in all I think it was great we did it and we plan to improve it my leaps and bounds in 2015 - and it is this kind of feedback that is necessary to improve it - so thank you for these comments -

Val ;-)


On Aug 15, 2014, at 4:56 AM, Jonathan Duncan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello SignWriting List!
  I really enjoyed the Symposium even though I watched afterwards.  I am looking forward to translations of the Portuguese and LIBRAS talks so I can understand them.

I notice that on day three you managed to have the screen showing, and the interpreter at the bottom. But on day four the Hangout went back to it's old anticks and didn't show the interpreter.

Thinking of you Val, I wanted to suggest shorter sessions.  Maybe a bit more non filmed time to set up between each presenter.  That way we get a bit more concise talk once they are ready. 
Also before the end of each talk, Steve could step in and read off the questions for you.  That way you won't have to worry about finding the Q&A section, and it would make it more interactive and more fully embrace the live aspect of the symposium.

I think that a Symposium once a year would be great.

Regards,
Jonathan
 
On 8/2/2014 12:24 AM, Valerie Sutton wrote:
SignWriting List
August 1st, 2014

Hello SignWriting List!

Just catching my breath, after an amazing experience at the SignWriting Symposium.

I feel really lucky to have shared it all with you…

We have already thanked each other, and we know we appreciate each other's efforts …

But what are your opinions about Google Hangouts? Did you enjoy presenting that way?

How would you improve the experience next time?

Let’s share our ideas here on the SignWriting List…

I look forward to reading about your experiences and opinions…

And what can you envision for the future? How often would you like another Symposium?

Val ;-)


————


Lista SignWriting 
01 de agosto de 2014 

Olá Lista SignWriting! 

Apenas recuperando o fôlego, depois de uma experiência incrível no SignWriting Simpósio. 

Eu me sinto muito sortudo por ter compartilhado tudo com você ... 

Temos já agradeceu o outro, e nós sabemos que nós apreciamos os esforços de cada um ... 

Mas o que são as suas opiniões sobre o Google Hangouts? Gostou apresentando dessa maneira? 

Como você melhorar a experiência da próxima vez? 

Vamos compartilhar nossas idéias aqui na Lista SignWriting ... 

Estou ansioso para ler sobre suas experiências e opiniões ... 

E o que você pode imaginar para o futuro? Quantas vezes você gostaria de um outro Simpósio? 

Val;-)

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