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My very first webinar

It was over a month ago that my colleague Henk Schut invited me to join him and Yannick, a master student of clinical psychology, in a webinar. Webinar? What for heaven’s sake is a webinar? I had to look it up and it seems that it is an interactive online presentation or workshop on the web (read more here). People can join in on broadcasting time and sometimes they have to apply beforehand. This specific webinar was meant to inform future students of the master program of Clinical psychology. After being informed about how and what to do, Henk Schut, Yannick and I went to the Utrecht University Library, where the studio was. It was a little bit like being on television, without the make-up part. Henk and Yannick would give a presentation on our program and I would be the moderator of a chat session that ran parallel to the webinar. We were assisted by a number of people from Educate-IT and by our faculty recruitment officer Carlijn Oudelaar.

What is interesting to see is that we had 27 participants, mainly from The Netherlands and Belgium (13), Germany (3), Eastern Europe (4) and Turkey (3). Participants’ nationalities are visible on-screen and were registered afterwards. In the chat there were 140 entries and many questions were asked online, beforehand and afterwards. We answered the questions online as much as possible. General questions were answered by Carlijn, who sat next to me, questions about internships and simple questions about the master program were answered by me and Henk answered some more complicated questions about the program after his presentation.

Although it was all quite intense, I was enthousiastic about this form of communication. Within one hour one answers 27 people’s questions in a very efficient way. Some of the questions were of course already answered by the presentation. There were many questions about the qualifications and competencies that one would acquire in the program, and also about the perspectives on work. I could sometimes draw people’s attention to the presentation when their current question was answered in the presentation at the very moment  they asked it. Also, I was pleased to connect a Lithuanian student with one of our current master students who is also from her country and is doing her internship in Lithuania. And I spoke some German with a German student. Finally, I was surprised to find out that one of the chatting students was a mother of a young child. This is quite rare in our program. Overall, it was a great experience that Henk and I are planning to repeat in the future. It definitely has advantages over organizing a live meeting, especially for those living abroad. The interaction was quite intense and vivid. At times I was answering one question and other questions popped up at the same time. There is of course the matter of cost efficiency. Many people were now involved to organize this. I am sure that when we get more experience, we can do it with less people. Those in favor say aye? I!

9 maart 2017

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