Making your events virtual

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Gary Hunt

By Tiffany Crosby, CPA, CGMA, MBA, OSCPA learning director

OSCPA recently made the decision to move all our live events in the coming weeks to webcast only because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re fortunate, in that webcasting technology has been an important part of what we do here for years. Knowing that, some colleagues in the accounting and association world have asked us for some pointers.

Here are some things for you to think about as you look to turn your live meetings into webcast/zoom meetings:

Understand the capabilities of your platform and infrastructure:

  • How will you make materials available to participants?
  • How will you track attendance and completion (if necessary)?
  • Are speakers able to have separate logins as panelists, presenters, or co-hosts so they can present while participants are muted (to eliminate background noise)?
  • What interactivity do you support (e.g., Q&A, chat box, break out rooms, polling questions) and how?
  • How many additional people (moderators) will you need to administer the interactivity?
  • Can you stream multiple tracks or does it need to be a single track?
  • If multiple tracks are offered, can people switch between them, or do they have to stay within the same track? (This affects how they will need to register.)

Consider whether your planned delivery method will translate to an online environment:

  • A primarily lecture-based with intermittent Q&A is difficult in a live environment and even more difficult online.
  • Case studies require at least chat functionality and a moderator to stimulate the required engagement.
  • Too many polling questions can be distracting.
  • Evaluate your speaker’s comfort in a virtual environment. Consider an orientation or run-through for those who are unfamiliar with the platform that will be used. Encourage speakers to log on an advance.
  • Determine participant technology requirements and communicate them in advance. Encourage them to test their systems and to log-in early. Also determine how you will support technology issues the day of your event.

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