Exciting Changes to our Virtual Lectures Registration Process including increased Number of Participants

As many of you know, EGA created the Virtual Lecture Series in January 2021 as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and to bring accessible embroidery education to EGA members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy lectures by world-renowned embroidery teachers and lecturers. Almost two years later, I’m pleased to report that this program has been more successful than anyone had imagined. Of the over 8,000 members of EGA, nearly 1,300 of us have signed up to attend at least one of our virtual lectures! What a tremendous response.

However, we realize that we need to make some improvements to the current model of the Virtual Lecture Series. We need these lectures to be more widely accessible to more members at a time. We need these lectures to be available on-demand, as many other embroidery lectures are. And we need to take advantage of technology that’s improved over the past two years.

I’m pleased to inform you of the following improvements and changes to the Virtual Lecture Series beginning with our first lecture in January 2023.

We have expanded to a 500-person limit in the live lectures.

By far, the greatest complaint that I’ve heard from many of you is about the limited number of seats in our live lectures. We’ve been limited by both our Zoom license and our contracts with our lecturers to the 100-person limit. Starting in January 2023, we will offer each of our lectures to up to 500 attendees.

Even with this expanded capacity, there’s still a risk that our lectures will fill up quickly and that everyone who wants to see a lecture won’t be able to attend. At the same time, we’ve also heard feedback about lectures that take place on days and times when members are unable to attend, whether due to religious, family, or other personal commitments. Fortunately, we have a solution for you as well.

Selected lectures will now be recorded and available for later viewing.

The terms of our contract with our lecturers have prevented us from recording our lectures and making them available for later viewing. We’ve taken this opportunity to revise the lecturer contract to build in clauses to allow for selected lectures to be recorded, at the discretion of each lecturer and to allow for lecturers to be appropriately compensated for their time and expertise. We feel that this will allow for greater flexibility for our members.

Of course, you’re more than welcome to sign up to attend a live lecture, which will give you the chance to ask questions of our lectures and to interact directly with them; but if, for some reason, you’re not able to attend on the date and time when a lecture is scheduled, you’ll have opportunities to watch selected lectures later, at your convenience.

We realize that not all lecturers will want to have their lectures recorded, but for those who do grant permission, this will offer a convenient option for our members. Note that all lecture recordings will be available for six months after the live lecture date, and that all current EGA members will have access to those lecture recordings.

A switch from Zoom Meeting to Zoom Webinar.

Some of you may be familiar with Zoom Webinar, as compared to Zoom Meeting. Some of you may simply know Zoom as the platform that we use for our virtual lectures. Some of you may not even bother with Zoom at all. In practical terms, this change will not affect the members who attend our lectures. The interface will look very similar; you will still be able to attend our lectures on a computer, a tablet, or a mobile device, just as you do now; and you’ll still be able to ask questions of the lecturer and chat with any friends you recognize among the audience. The major improvements that will happen from this change are largely behind the scenes and will save time for our team of moderators.

Switching to Zoom Webinar will change the registration procedure for the Virtual Lecture Series but will allow us to send you automatic reminders about the lectures, send follow-up surveys and other information, and enable us to implement other back-end fixes and improvements to keep the Virtual Lecture Series running smoothly. Look for more information on the EGA blog and on the Virtual Lecture Series page about how to register for the virtual lectures under this new system.

The last major change to the Virtual Lecture series is that all Virtual Lectures, both live and recorded, will now have a US$5 fee, starting in January 2023.

I realize that this is a significant change from the previous free model of the Virtual Lecture Series. The EGA Board and the Virtual Lecture team did not arrive at this decision lightly, but we feel that this fee is both appropriate and reasonable to support the Virtual Lecture Series as we move forward.

It’s important for our lecturers to be appropriately compensated for their time and expertise. In addition to an increased speaking fee, lecturers will also receive a portion of this lecture fee as compensation for their recorded lectures, just as teachers receive a teaching fee when they teach a class.

At the same time, we need to ensure the continued sustainability of the Virtual Lecture Series, long into the future. As is true of all non-profit organizations, we cannot do our work without the funds to support it. With no margin, we have no mission. Your continued support of the Virtual Lecture Series is vital to helping us achieve this goal.

These changes will allow us to keep bringing you—our members—the high-quality virtual lectures that we’ve all come to enjoy over the past two years and to continue to expand and improve the program. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns that you’d like to share with us, you can reach our team at virtuallectures@egausa.org. And thank you, as always, for being a part of EGA.
—Mary Van Tyne, Chair, National Virtual Lecture Series, virtuallectures@egausa.org

This article first appeared in the December 2022 issue of Needle Arts magazine.

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