Ensure Quality Recordings: Dr. Chan said that when the AAO-HNSF started its webinar series in 2013, it allowed speakers to record at their own institutions using whatever equipment they had available. The result was a hodgepodge of recordings that all looked and sounded differently and presented compatibility issues. Now the society has a dedicated microphone and laptop that it mails to presenters, along with instructions on how to create presentations.
Explore This IssueJune 2014
Dr. Chan said it can take about two to three hours to successfully record a webinar. “It’s not just about talking; you need to make sure the video feeds and audio feeds work and that you’re talking at a volume that people can hear,” he said. He tells speakers to first practice recording a few slides before recording the entire presentation, so that they can gauge the video and audio quality of their webinar.
Avoid Live Presentations: Being able to access a lecture at any time and watch it at your convenience is what makes webinars work, Dr. Church said. The ARS has discovered that archiving their lectures for on-demand use has made them more popular with residents, he said.
Think Beyond Your Institution: Dr. Krempl said one of the major benefits to online learning is that it allows institutions to collaborate and share expertise. Want to teach a class about cleft palate but don’t have a cleft palate expert on staff? An expert based at another university could easily use a webcam to record a presentation for you to share with your students.
“If institutions are willing to share and collaborate, it can reduce work for everybody and add to a higher quality product,” Dr. Krempl said. He said such collaboration can also help medical schools and residency programs standardize curriculums so that students are exposed to all subjects, not just what the faculty members are available to teach.
Provide Follow-Up Materials: Dr. Krempl suggested distributing lecture notes and resource lists so that participants can get additional information on the topic being presented. At the University of Oklahoma, for example, students download PowerPoint presentations in which they take notes as they watch the lectures.
Plan for Updates: The biggest challenge with pre-recorded webinars is keeping them up to date. “It’s not as simple as just inserting a new slide,” Dr. Krempl said. “If you have new material, you can’t just splice that topic into a talk that was recorded over a year ago.” He said the University of Oklahoma requires its staff to update the webinars every year, which means all the lectures are recorded again from scratch.