Webinar Sagas – Coping with technological and pandemic challenges in 2020!

Webinar Sagas – Coping with technological and pandemic challenges in 2020!

With the advent of the lockdown, between May 2020 and today I have been invited to do a number of webinars. Six to be exact, till date. In the earlier days I had done about two or three over some years. They were sponsored by the industry and done with the involvement of professional camera people and settings. However in the pandemic times, the organizers in five out of six cases did not involve people who were adept in this area.

I must commend the way institutions have taken to arranging webinars and that some of them have opened the attendance to the world in general. However this has its tough and funny elements too πŸ™‚

The first webinar during the lockdown was for FINE – Forum for Indian Neurology Education. On this day my Internet connection at home was a bit poor and so some parts of the webinar were probably not too clear. And at the request of the organizer I had actually created screen capture recordings of two topic searches, but these simply would not display well or be heard well enough πŸ™ On my side I offered to re-record the webinar and pass on the recording to the organizers so that they could share it with all, but they did not wish to impose further on me.

The second was for the DY Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune. This time, the institution ran into a technical hitch with broadcasting the webinar. Quite a few people missed the beginning. From this one I learnt that if our team organizes one, we must know what all can go wrong and do our best to avoid such issues.

The third was organized by UG students of BJ Medical College Pune. Here the problem was “human”. There were a couple of “intruders” – youngsters who kept interrupting me and “complaining” about the organizers. I requested them not to do so and told them there was no “attendance” issue and they were free to leave. But they still persisted. The organizers were upset but came up with a great idea of starting afresh with a new link that they managed to communicate to all genuinely registered participants. After that it went without a hitch. I had a word with the organizers at the end and reassured them that I was fine and took things in my stride. In my younger days, I may have got a bit upset about this, but grey haired stages do help. I guess they learnt a bigger lesson about “keeping their cool” in such a situation and I must say they did a great job! Kudos to the “Jignyasa team” ! I was happy that I could assure them that I was fine with what happened

The 4th, 5th and 6th were through CIPLA, MGM Institute of Physiotherapy and the Nutrition Society of India (Mumbai Chapter). Thankfully all these went smoothly !

We had had a great Wifi connection at home till some months earlier (Airtel), when someone recommended another provider (Tikona). Sadly this one did not turn out to be great for us, and it did let me down for the first. A Vodafone hot spot was not great either. A neighbour lent me her Jio dongle which worked wonderfully and I did use it for the fourth webinar, but she moved away from our neighbourhood soon after and obviously took it with her.

I did my best to buy a similar one, but one had to go to a Jio Store far away from my area to activate the sim card, and during this lockdown, that was not feasible

So overall – I had been prepared – that an event may progress absolutely smoothly or may be subject to Murphy’s law. I made a choice based on the fact that in such times (pandemic days), one had to stay cool and take everything as it came. So I was prepared for problems and even a worst case of cancellation of any event, in case of Internet issues. Thankfully that did not happen. I think it is important to be prepared thus.

Note: Finally – our residential complex is getting a Jio Cable for all residents. I am waiting for it to get activated, so that I at least know that on my side things would be fine. And then I can start planning webinars for all enrolled in our online courses, as part of the support that we offer.

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