Fun - a serious factor for online seminars
Excellent seminar facilitators are the gold of our seminars. They are teachers, trainers, mentors, entertainers and, in addition, architects who build the programme according to the IAF's style and specifications for content and form. Our seminars should be journeys of discovery, where participants enjoy participating in the working and thinking process, where they find knowledge and share theirs, try out new things and put old ones to the test. We want to make liberal values tangible, not just theoretical.
Can all this be done online too? Even for international programmes that last as long as one or even two weeks? Yes, it can be done! - With a few compromises, but with new possibilities!
Video conferencing platforms are one such possibility. However, since we observe an early onset of fatigue and a tendency to lengthy slide presentations, we use this technology no longer than 90 min per day for meetings with visiting speakers, plenary discussions or debates, and for formats such as Open Space or World Café. In an effort to keep everything lively and to keep participants “in action”, we use tools like Mentimeter, surveys or quiz-apps, Miro or Mural. Every now and then we wedge in elements that provide movement and fun.
Since our participants live in different time zones, we set up regional working groups on the gamer platform/app Discord for example. Here, participants can get together at any time texting or via voice/video chat or contact the facilitators with questions. Tasks are explained either in the plenary or by means of entertaining video messages from the seminar facilitators. Working group results can be shared with the others in the cloud as documents, videos or slides; or they can be summarized by graphic recording.
The pandemic also offered opportunities to invite more international experts and to communicate with international book authors, renowned experts or politicians as they didn’t have to travel to the academy and their schedules allowed for it.
"A big appreciation and thanks for the high level organized event, very engaging, very interesting and it is an honor to be an IAF alumna. I am already working with FNF local representatives and will be doing 3 projects this year :) Looking forward to expanding the network and collaborate with other country representations."
"First zoom meeting/seminar I was not tired of or fed up with looking constantly at the screen. We have a lot of these these days and this one was a great refreshment."
"I honestly loved it! I would be honored to take part in more such events - be it online or in the real world!"
"I am very surprised at how engaging and full-blooded an online seminar could be. Great job!"
"Everyone involved in this seminar did great job and this was really like turning point for me when in comes to transformation of my organisation as I know what to do and how to do it but most importantly why to do it :)"
"Congratulations to all moderators its a program to remember, i would real love to have one in physical in the future."
"I would just like to congratulate the organisers on organising this seminar. I have learned alot during this seminar and have met so many great individuals. This seminar has also taught me to think critically and it somehow trained my mind to be more analytical (and critical) of any news around. It has also pushed me to go out of my comfort zone, thank you and congrats again! :)"
"It was a mind-changing experience, proving that liberal events online can be fun and engaging if enough effort is put."
"Honestly, this is one of the best workshop that I have attended not only during this tough times but overall."