Thoughts on a Month of Webinars
We asked Dr. J. (Timothy Jenney) to give us his evaluation of the first month of webinars, and decided that the best place to share it with you is here, on our blog. As you can see, he overcame considerable obstacles to bring you the weekly session, and we are not done with the improvements.
There have already been hundreds of downloads from the Webinars page, where you can access the recording of the session, or Dr. J's notes and Keynote summary.
It’s not quite been a month since we broadcast our first webinar. and I’ve been asked to offer some of my reflections on it.
It’s been an exciting adventure. There are some things I will never forget about start up week: trying to solder that last telephone wire connection 15 minutes before the 1 PM broadcast; splicing a broadband internet cable at 7:30 PM, cut by my telephone installer that afternoon, in order to broadcast again at 8 PM. Weeks later found me broadcasting from a vocal booth in 90° heat, breathing fumes still present from installing acoustic foam hours earlier [the house A/C makes too much noise to be left on during a broadcast]. I was trying to balance 3 microphones and three headsets at once [VoIP, telephone headset and personal recording]. Talk about wearing multiple hats!
I also have some very fond memories of that first month: conducting webinars with great interaction and questions, your very warm thanks and encouragement, and conversations with other Accordance enthusiasts around the world [via e-mail, chat and audio]. You’re a bright, diverse, very enthusiastic bunch, and I’d enjoy sitting down to share a cup of coffee with any of you!
I have had to make some adjustments. After years of teaching to “live” audiences, I got used to being able to see their faces. Those visual clues helped me adjust my pacing, let me know when I needed to explain something better—and when students [or parishioners] got my jokes [or not!]. Our webinars offer none of that, at least not yet, so I have to rely heavily on my experience, wait for your comments and questions, and even generate my own excitement at times.
Some of you have asked me, “What’s in store for the future?”
You’ve probably noticed most of our first webinars have been at the basic level. Our first priority has been to develop a pool of resources for new [and basic-level] users. We’ve already scheduled some more advanced sessions [particularly Greek, Hebrew and Key Number searches] and soon you’ll see some task-oriented webinars: how to prepare an expository sermon, how to exegete a passage for a college/seminary research paper, and how to prepare a presentation for a Bible study. I imagine you’ll also see some special guests, who will share their unique uses of Accordance. We may even host a “round table” webinar or two.
We are also diligently working on improving the quality of our recordings, particularly the audio. Eventually, we hope to offer this same kind of material as podcasts, accessible from both our website and Apple’s iTunes service. If you have an Apple TV, you’ll be able to watch these on your HD widescreen [much to your teenager’s dismay ;-)]!
While it is my face you see and my voice you hear in the webinars, like any production these webinars are a team effort. Helen Brown’s help files and David Lang’s blogs are real gold mines of information. Helen also proofs each week’s presentation, offering numerous, helpful suggestions. Joel Brown, our resident video and recording expert, always encourages me to push the envelope, to strive for even better quality audio and video. Many others on the Accordance team have been kind enough to sit in on these webinars, ready to feed me private hints to answer questions I couldn’t otherwise. They’ve done so many Accordance seminars over the years they have answers to questions I haven’t even thought of yet!
I’ve served as pastor of several churches, taught college and seminary classes, and taught online and I must say this is my favorite job, ever. After all, I get to work on a Mac, use software that I love, and teach people how to study the Bible—and they even pay me for it!
Shhh. I don’t want them to know that, were I able, I’d do it for free!