20 Feb 2012

Right, so how shall we do a webinar?

There appears to be some interest in an aguanomics webinar. Now we need to decide what that means, i.e.,
  • Technology: It seems that a conference call, with toll free numbers would make sense in the absence of visual aids. Can this happen via skype or Google+?
  • Price: I want to limit participation to ten people, with reservations going for $5 (on top of the cost of hosting, if any). Make sense?
  • Topic: I am thinking of narrowing the webinar to a topic worthy of a one hour discussion, e.g., urban water tariffs, water market, and so on? What's your hot topic?
  • Timing: I am in Amsterdam, so it seems a good idea to have it in the morning in California, on a weekday. Make sense?
  • Format: I'd prefer an open discussion to Q&A and Q&A to me talking. How would we manage that protocol?
So please give me your thoughts. I'd like to do these every month or so, with an MP3 archive available to people who cannot participate.


MK said...

I have a subscription to GoToMeeting that I use with great success. It permits either computer users or phone callers to all participate in what are essentially "in country" calls from their respective countries. Most, if not all of Europe is included.

You would be able to control the screen, people could either ask questions or type them onto a chat feature, and best of all, the price is right.

There's a free 30 day trial you could use. I'd easily pay $5 plus any fees, and morning California time works out well for me. (9 hours between Amsterdam and SF?)

I think focusing on a short list of inter-related topics would be the greatest value to me, or "pre-approved" questions. I don't want it to get off into the deep stuff involving slightly off-topic subjects.

My USD$0.02 worth.

MB said...

To get this started, may each webinar would be based on a chapter of your book, tied-in with current news event(s). In this way, those who plan to participate can "prepare/study" if they wish, which should lead to more productive discussions. Secondarily, this would also be a low-key (covert) opportunity to promote your book. I would expect this to increase demand, as people can tell their friends that they "chat" with the book's author (how prestigious). Based on these webinars and resulting discussions, current event applications, and updates, you will also be collecting valuable information (and additional perspectives) that could lead you right into a second/updated revision. With regard to technology, I recommend GoToMeeting.com. Just my initial thoughts.

TS said...

The price is right.

Is ten a good number? Some of us may only want to listen, and some of us may talk too much. How do you control that? Can you designate ten per hour, or have the call be extended for those who want to stay logged on? One way is for you to rule with an iron fist. But you may want to talk too much as well.

Mornings or weekends sound good. Weekend mornings sound best so there is no interference with work schedules. It does not have to be every month or week, but only when a subject seems to be appropriate. You may become so popular that you do this every week. You might have those in attendance rate each session for what they got out of it.

I have a skype set up, but I don't know how to use it, as I've used it only once. Don't limit the calls to skype users. You have already received one of my topic suggestions. Below is how you might rephrase it. Protocol may be your biggest problem. Eventually you will have to be the dictator and final decision maker, with everyone understanding the rules.

CRG said...

I concur with those who've suggested GoToMeeting. I haven't used it myself, but have heard good things from others, plus I don't believe it requires users to sign up for anything new (like Google+ or Skype would).

I think starting with 10 participants is a good idea, and you can adjust from there if that ends up being too few or too many, but I would like to have the ability to eavesdrop even if I'm not one of the chosen 10. Personally, I would love to have these archived as a podcast that I can add to my other podcast subscriptions in iTunes. That would be fairly simple to set up.

Ideally, the discussion would be coordinated in a way that listeners and participants could come away with some form of recommendation(s) or consensus on the topic at hand, or at least learn something new and useful, rather than just listening to a bunch of varying opinions that don't go anywhere. I think that is the key to making these successful. A thing is worth my time only if I glean something useful from it, whether that is new information, new ideas, or a new way of thinking about an issue.

Carlos A López Morales said...

It is a great idea!! I'll join and buy you beer!!

As for the format, the idea of discussing chapters of the book is nice. Also, it could be interesting to have open topics (ie, drain systems in megalopolis, blue and green water in agriculture, withdrawals vs consumption)...

I'd prefer Google plus... But that's because I'm not that familiar with other web tools

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