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ACLEA President’s Column – Oct/Nov 2020

Posted By Alexandra Wong, ACLEA President, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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It’s been several months now since we’ve all had to adjust our program delivery methods/models and to some extent our content. The COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us terrific opportunities to become more creative from a technology perspective. Some of us have even taken on additional technological responsibilities to assist with delivering programs; not something any of us would have anticipated.

With all of our programs in a virtual environment, technology, we know is not perfect. A number of factors can affect the outcome of the final product; internet bandwidth, audio/sound quality and speaker technology knowledge are just some examples.

I wanted to take some time to share with you what we have been doing in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and some of the challenges that we are facing.

The availability of accessibility services such as closed captioning is limited with the legal system moving to a virtual platform for the most part and requesting reporter services is a challenge. For one of the LSO CPD’s recent programs, I had to go through several different vendors to try and secure closed captioning services for a program despite several weeks notice; usually, I’m able to secure a Captionist on the first request.

At the LSO CPD, we are very fortunate to have our own Production Services Team. We have relied heavily on the Zoom platform to connect all of our speakers on the backend of our webcasts; in turn, the Zoom feed is sent to our webcast system – Freestone. For the most part, our programs are delivered via live webcast with our speakers presenting from their home/office. There have been some programs where we have hosted speakers in our event space as well. In those cases, a lot of social distancing measures have been implemented to keep staff and speakers safe.  A lot of being aware of public health recommendations in process document creation on my part, but it has proven to be somewhat of a success to date.

Our Production Services Team has been able to ensure all faculty are able to see and hear each other during a program; at the same time, our faculty is able to hear the entire program while connected to Zoom. We do this by using several Zoom Rooms at the same time for each program.

We work with a webcast provider who has been able to help us with our webcast program delivery models and higher than normal virtual attendance numbers. This partnership has allowed us the capability to be creative and innovative, and at the same time, we have been able to live broadcast all of our Fall programs. During our Winter/Spring season, the majority of our programs were rescheduled or shifted to a pre-recorded format, which presented challenges in itself.

A lot of the magic happens behind the scenes from our Production Services Team who makes all the speaker transitions appear seamless from a technology perspective, the end result looks fantastic on the viewer side. At the same time, my Program Delivery Team who is used to having in-person programs has had to adjust and change their processes. They are now “Zoom Room Hopping” to check-in speakers. Not an easy task as some of our programs have over 20 speakers. 

As I write this, LSO CPD has successfully completed 3 full-day programs virtually with all faculty being completely remote with positive feedback from speakers and attendees.

It’s a huge team effort to be able to deliver the programs our members and customers look forward to, more so now that ever. We continue to improve our processes, but look ahead to future programs that will have additional elements as part of the program. For example, our annual Solo and Small Conference, has traditionally had a lot of in-person perks — professional headshots, networking, and exhibit hall on top of the content. We are starting to turn our heads to try to figure out how we can replicate the same experience in a virtual world for them. We’re several months away from the program, but as planners/programmers, we know the earlier you start to plan, the better the end result will be.

It hasn’t been easy to plan and deliver programs in a virtual world, using a hybrid model, but we are all in this for the long haul. I have attended several SIG calls and the sharing of ideas, frustrations, and best practices has been extremely helpful. Always remember, ACLEA members are in this together and we are not alone!   

Stay safe everyone, reach out to each other, and keep up the great work you’ve all be doing!

Tags:  ACLEA President  creativity  technology  virtual environments 

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ACLEA President’s Column – Oct 2020

Posted By ACLEA, Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Did you know that ACLEA has a number of channels through which members can network with each other at any time? And all of them are easily accessible. While we await the day until we are able to reunite in-person at conference, I thought I would take to time to talk about the way we can still connect with each other.

Outside of conference and SIG/Committee Zoom meetings, there are several other ways to connect with your fellow CLE colleagues.

We have an excellent Mentor Program, where more seasoned ACLEA members are paired with those members new to CLE. It is a great way to offer/gain assistance to/from your CLE colleagues.  

ACLEA has a strong presence on social media. We have several social media channels including pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. These channels will send out announcements periodically with updates on upcoming conferences and webinars or other events and share relevant information to CLE professionals. In addition, join the conversation anytime and follow us on Twitter — @ACLEAworldwide. 

In addition, ACLEA has established listservs that facilitate the exchange of information on relevant issues to CLE professionals and ACLEA members. The listservs that are open to all members include ACLEA’s General Discussion, Executive Leadership, International, Marketing, Publications, Technology, Programming and MCLE Committee.  At the same time, there are organizational SIG listservs are dedicated to the following organizational types: Vendors and Speakers, In-House, Law School, Local and Speciality Bars, Nationals, and State/Provincial Bars.

The listservs are great way to connect with other members to brainstorm over new ideas or problems you are experiencing in your organizations or announcements of upcoming SIG/Committee meetings. ACLEA members are always willing to share and are very resourceful. When using the listservs, please be respectful of ACLEA’s Listserv Guidelines and Etiquette, which can be reviewed via this link. Connecting via the listservs is easy; one of my best practice tips is always be mindful that we all have busy inboxes, so respond directly to the sender by hitting “Reply” as opposed to “Reply All.”  Your fellow members will appreciate it. You are always free to subscribe/unsubscribe to the listservs by accessing your member profile on the ACLEA website. For more information, please see the ACLEA List Serv page

Let’s not forget that the most recent addition to our member communications channel — the discussion boards on our learning management system.  The discussion boards were created during the COVID pandemic as there was a lot of information was being shared amongst all members and we thought there was a need to reduce the clutter in member inboxes.  Be sure to check out them out here. Feel free to post resources or ask questions of other members here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear and get help from others or share ideas and best practices; follow us on social media, sign up for the Mentor Program, join the listserv(s), or participate in our Discussion Forum that is part of our learning management system. There is an option for everyone! You never know, your next CLE problem could easily be solved by connecting with your colleagues through any of these communications channels.

I look forward to connecting with you on one, some, or all of these channels.

Everyone stay safe and let’s stay connected in as many ways as we can.

Alexandra Wong, ACLEA President

Tags:  ACLEA President  connect  learning management system  listserve  lms 

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ACLEA Montreal – A Look in the Rear View Mirror

Posted By Jeanne Heaton, President, ACLEA, Tuesday, August 8, 2017

We had a great conference in Montreal (special shout out to our planning committee-chaired by Laura Selby!!).

Before you get too engrossed in your exciting home office work, what did you get from the conference that changed you – either personally or professionally?

On the ACLEA evaluation form (which I hope you all have completed, ) it asks you to identify your top 2 – 3 take-aways. Conventional wisdom says that if you come away with two to three new ideas and implement them, it was a successful conference for you.

I usually try to write down these take-aways as I fly home from a conference. So, for the first of what I plan on being a monthly blog post as your new ACLEA president, I will share my top take-aways with you.

1. Take More Risks – Chris Bentley shared that the greatest risk we face isn’t trying and failing, but not trying at all. That inspires me both personally and professionally. As CLE providers serving a rapidly-changing legal profession we need to take risks in how we provide CLE and we need to take risks to educate our lawyers about embracing the changes in the profession. They don’t always like that message, but we have a responsibility to share it. Chris said we live in the age of the consumer, not the provider, and lawyers (and CLE providers) need to recognize that mind-set change.

2. Kahoot! – MCLE Committee co-chairs Erica Larios and Andrew Ottiger had a fun segment as part of their meeting – an audience poll using the free Kahoot! platform that was fun and easy to use. Check it out. I’m going to try it for some of our CLE programs.

3. SELF Journal – In his Paperless Reduction session, Paul Unger gave a thumbs up to the SELF Journal – an old fashioned paper option to help get organized and time block important tasks. I’m planning to check it out.

4. Build Your Personal Brand - Jen Dalton’s session challenged us to reflect on who we are and what “brand” we want to be identified with. She gave concrete advice on taking steps to achieve that branding through social media and other means. Her materials provide some thought-provoking, self-examination exercises, so take a look. She advised me, as a Baby Boomer, to choose one social media platform and work to master it before adding others. So watch out – LinkedIn here I come!

I’d love to hear your top take-aways!

Tags:  53rd Annual Meeting  ACLEA  ACLEA President  ACLEAMTL  CLE 

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