Why Webinars Rock!

Why webinars provide a good alternative to traditional classroom appraisal continuing education

Why should I consider taking a webinar from Northern Michigan University?

Webinars provide you with a convenient and enjoyable way to obtain meaningful continuing education credit and to get timely information on the "hot topic" issues that are important to you.

A key feature of our webinars is your ability to interact with two "live" instructors in real time.  You can ask questions, make comments, engage in interactive exercises and enjoy the feedback that comes from your peer's questions and comments. Our webinars create a virtual classroom that comes to you.

What is the difference between your webinars and other online education?

Until now, the only on-line continuing education available to appraisers has been what is known as "asynchronous distance education," meaning the material presented is not “synchronized” with a “live” instructor.  Basically, a student studies the text on his or her computer screen (or worse yet a paper manual) and takes a test at the end of each section.

If the student fails a test, he or she is prevented from proceeding to the next section.  The instructor is informed that a student has failed a test and is in need of “remediation.”  The instructor then contacts the student and engages him or her in some sort of remedial activity.  Depending on the schedules of the instructor and student, this process can easily end up taking days.

Our webinars, on the other hand, are referred to as “synchronous” distance education, meaning they are synchronized with a real-time, “live” instructor, or in our case, two instructors!  The benefit to you is immediate access to your instructors, just like in the classroom.  No waiting for hours or days for a response from an "on-line" instructor who may be “off-line” just when you need him or her. 

Will I have to pass a test to obtain my CE credit?

No.  Because our webinars are “live” presentations, passing a test before you can proceed isn’t necessary. You will participate in frequent "polls," which provide instant feedback from you and the other attending appraisers. This allows the instructors to assess both individual and group progress as the webinar proceeds and lets the instructors know if a topic or key point needs to be reviewed or reinforced while the material is still fresh.

How will I communicate with the instructors?

You simply "text in" your questions and comments to the instructors using the “Chat" feature, one of several communication tools available to you with our web conferencing technology. 

How is communication with the instructor a benefit to the participant?

Unlike traditional on-line education, frequent and immediate communication and feedback between you and your instructors allows teaching to take place at a level that's tailored to fit your needs, rather than a "one size fits all" approach.

Will everyone attending see my questions and comments?

No. When you text in a question, the instructors see it immediately, but the other attendees do not.  If your question is paraphrased or repeated to the class, you won't be personally identified, so you can ask questions and provide comments without regard to what others might think.

How do the students communicate with each other?

Students communicate with each other through the instructors. The instructors commonly repeat or paraphrase a student’s questions or comments for the group to allow interaction by text chat or poll responses administered by the instructors. This encourages students to ask questions, make comments and respond to polls because of the anonymity built into the process. Chances are, if you have a question, another person is likely to have the same or similar question.  Have you ever been in a classroom when one of your fellow students asks a particularly thought-provoking question and you learned from the answer?  Then in turn, that question precipitated another good question from another attendee and you increased your knowledge again?  That’s another significant advantage that our webinars provide over asynchronous education – real-time instructors, interactivity and, the ability to learn from the experiences of your peers, all in the comfort of your home or office. 

How do you control disruptive students?

Another advantage of a webinar is what you won’t hear.  Have you ever been in a classroom when one of the attendees editorialized on their favorite topic, or went on a rant about a pet peeve, or worse yet, tried to dominate the classroom with constant interruptions? That doesn’t happen in our webinars. 

Having two instructors is a distinct advantage.  While one is more or less “running the webinar,” the other is screening your comments and questions and preparing replies so you get a thoughtful response in a timely manner.  As we said, we like to read or paraphrase your question and then answer it for the entire class to hear so everyone can learn from the experience.  But we don’t see a need to pass along the editorials and rants that won’t add to your experience.

What type of interactive exercises do your webinars offer?

We enhance your learning experience with frequent interactive exercises, like poll questions – Yes/No or True/False; multi choice questions, text chat features.  For example, a simple Yes/No poll will appear to the left of the information screen.  You click on the button next to your answer – Yes or No.  Other attendees do not see your individual answer, and vice versa; but the web conferencing software instantly tabulates the results, which we display.  So you might see that 70 percent of your peers answered one way and 30 percent the other way.  In terms of getting feedback, we believe these interactive exercises are actually better than being in a classroom, because sometimes in a classroom individuals may be hesitant to verbalize feelings or opinions.

Is the presentation PowerPoint with bullet-point slides or something else?

We believe our presentations are “something else.”

Most appraisers have attended "death by PowerPoint" seminars where the instructor reads from bullet-point laden PowerPoint slides or just “wings” it and then provides a copy of those slides as the handout.  We think you deserve better than that.

Rather than bullet-pointed text, our presentations emphasize high-impact, memorable graphics and images that improve retention and satisfy different learning styles. All presentations come with a handout that reinforces the material presented and contains practical, useful information.  In our opinion, good webinars are productions. "Winging it" is inconsistent with our goal of providing you with an excellent educational experience.

So how do your webinars compare to classroom?

We make our webinars into a classroom; a virtual classroom.  Because our webinars are well-run and properly executed they parallel any good classroom experience.

However, there are some things missing from our virtual classroom experience; the commute, the traffic, finding a parking spot, maybe paying for a hotel room and meals, and the loss of productivity and connectivity to your business.

Can I “sample” an NMU webinar and see if it is right for me?

You can.  To test drive a webinar, check the Webinar Schedule tab and register for one of the FREE “live” samplers. We look forward to seeing you in class.  And relax, we'll bring the classroom to you.

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