Webinar on Webinars: a report

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By Azzam Premji

Beth Konomoto, a language instructor at Camosun College, provided a timely Webinar on how to run Webinars for all video conferencing platforms, such as BigBlueButton. This BC TEAL Webinar took place before the pandemic hit Canada, and many ESL programs went virtual. Apart from being a self-confessed music and computer geek, Konomoto also furnishes some useful nuggets of information on how to run a successful Webinar: namely team-work, overcoming technical obstacles and engaging the participants.

Team-work

In a face-to-face conference, the presenter is generally aided by a time-keeper and a technical support personnel. In a Webinar, the presenter works closely with a moderator and an ombudsperson. Konomoto elaborates that the moderator lets the participants into the Webinar, provides them with housekeeping rules, trouble-shoots some of their technical problems, introduces the presenter, keeps track of the presentation time and closes the Webinar. The ombudsperson monitors the participants’ text discussion while the presenter talks, and has the power to remove a disrespectful participant after being warned privately. Konomoto emphasizes that it is imperative that the presenter practices her talk with the moderator and ombudsperson before a Webinar session.

Overcoming technical problems

Although a face-to-face presentation has a few technical obstacles, Konomoto believes webinars can have a multitude of common technical glitches so expect them. Reassuringly, she says that participants could resolve most of their tech problems by leaving the platform and re-entering it soon afterwards. For those who wish to resolve their own tech problems, she recommends one copy and paste the error messages in Google to search for an answer. Furthermore, one can also seek support from the video conferencing platform being used. Clearly, there are technical challenges to holding a Webinar.

Engaging the participants

Many in-person presenters believe they ought to make contact with their audience and vice-versa. In Webinars, engaging with the participants is more challenging. As practical advice, Konomoto recommends the presenter and the participants’ video be kept on for a visual connection. She said, “I like seeing how people are reacting.” In addition, she adds that the audience members’ audio should be muted to prevent noise feedback. I can imagine someone listening to music on their speakers while taking part in a Webinar resulting in a disruptive echo for everyone.

Other ways of connecting with the participants is to engage them in real-time as well as afterwards. In a Webinar, this means using polls, answering some of the text queries in the Chat and having participants unmute themselves to ask verbal questions in a Q& A session. After the Webinar is over, the discussion can continue on social media, such as the ELT Chat on Twitter. According to Konomoto, audience engagement is paramount for a successful Webinar.

In conclusion, Konomoto has provided us with some wonderful ideas for making a memorable Webinar. Now that many of us have led video-conferences this past year, we may have some additional suggestions to share.

Question:

What are some Webinar tips you can share with others? (share your comments below)

Reference

Konomoto, B., & Hadwin, L. (2019, October 26). BC TEAL Webinar: Webinar on Webinars [Video file]. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUIXrLXxct0

Author’s bio

Azzam Premji is an EAL instructor who has taught in Japan, Sweden, Poland, Canada, England and the United Arab Emirates. Currently residing in the unceded Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) and Tsleil-Waututh Nations territory, he passionately volunteers for the North Shore Multicultural Society and BC TEAL.

Understanding the world of BC TEAL Publishing

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By Azzam Premji

Image sourced from https://www.picserver.org/highway-signs2/p/publish.html

Introduction

BC TEAL provides three ways for you to share your English as an Additional Language (EAL) teaching ideas: an academic journal, a community newsletter and a blog. Interestingly, BC TEAL does not charge readers for viewing the published articles since it believes in sharing expertise. In addition, copyright of the articles published in BC TEAL’s publications remains with the author. Why not try publishing with BC TEAL? You will find below a diagram that summarizes the methods of publishing employed at BC TEAL.

Most difficult to publish1. Journal – supports EAL scholarship
a. Research based article
b. Opinion Essay
c. Book Review
2. Newsletter – supports the greater EAL community
Easiest to publish3. Blog – supports EAL teachers

BC TEAL Journal

According to Douglas (2019), the BC TEAL Journal fosters scholarship and was originally inspired by other TESOL affiliate journals such as the NYS TESOL Journal and the CATESOL Journal. The BC TEAL Journal contains three types of writing: a research-based article that has never been published; an opinion essay which connects theory to practice; and a book review of a recently published EAL book. Scott states that “submissions are double-anonymous peer reviewed”, and this means that two peers review the submission while the author remains anonymous to them. Submissions also go through a process of editing, resulting in accepted articles being published in eight to twelve months.

Here are some other details related to writing for the journal:

  1. Research-based article (about 8,000 words)

Academic format: 

  • Title, abstract, literature review, discussion, conclusion and references
  • Academic writing which includes APA citations

B. Opinion Essay (about 4,000 words)

Journalistic style:

  • Title, abstract, discussion, conclusion and references
  • Academic writing which includes APA citations

C. Book Review (about 1,000 words)

Academic format: 

  • Title, abstract, discussion, conclusion and references
  • Academic writing which includes APA citations

In addition, all BC TEAL Journal submissions generally follow the citation and reference format suggested by the American Psychology Association, 6th Edition, according to the “Author Guidelines”. Additionally, the journal has its own style which includes Canadian spelling. For more information about how to create APA citations and references, please check the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

If you are interested in having an article published in the BC TEAL Journal, you may also wish to view a recorded Webinar on the topic. The video provides you with an overview of some journal themes, and it describes the mentoring process of being published. To see all previous BC TEAL Journal articles, go to the BC TEAL website (bcteal.org) > News and Publications > BC TEAL Journal. For more information on submitting a journal article, click on “For Authors”. New submissions that fit the scope and focus of the journal are welcome.

TEAL News (about 800 words)

TEAL News is BC TEAL’s newsletter. The newsletter publishes shorter articles from around 500 to 1,000 words long. These articles can be on a variety of topics related to teaching English as an additional language, such as descriptions of classroom activities, short research reports, reflections on teaching and learning, and conference reports. Newsletter articles should be written in a reader-friendly style that appeals to a wide audience. Sources, if used, are cited and referenced using the APA format, like the journal. For more information on the newsletter, kindly send an email to editor@bcteal.org with your queries.

The BLOG (up to 500 words)

The final method of publishing is the BC TEAL Blog. It is the easiest way to engage in idea sharing with other EAL practitioners. You may wish to consider the following format:

  • Title, introduction, discussion, references (if any)
  • Hyperlinks
  • Question(s) that ask for readership engagement
  • Short bio of the author
  • Picture(s) that illustrate your topic ought to follow the Creative Commons License 

If you do use sources, please cite your writing and provide a reference using the APA format. Also, remember to cite your images. Providing tag words and a category for classification are appreciated and allow readers to find your article more easily. 

To get more ideas of what to blog about, check out the ones produced by TESOL International Association or TESL Ontario, which are mainly innovative teaching tips. If you have an idea for a blog post, contact admin@bcteal.org, and you will be put in touch with the Social Media Committee Chair.

Conclusion

You may want to start off your publishing experience by posting a blog. You can then gradually contribute to the Newsletter and Journal. Whatever publication you decide to write in, there is always an audience waiting to read about new ideas and research. 

Please reply to this blog

Did you find this post useful? Let us know in the comment section; we would love to hear from you.

References

Bio of the author

Azzam is a Canadian EAL teacher who has 10+ years of experience teaching in Japan, Sweden, Poland, Canada, England and the United Arab Emirates. He holds a masters of education degree in Education Technology and TESOL.