Our First Live Streaming Video Event

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on May 9, 2011

in Catholic, religious communities, Sisters of Notre Dame, Uncategorized

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, I hosted the first live streaming video coverage of an event at our Provincial Center in Chardon, Ohio, and I did it from my home in Maryland! Over two-hundred sisters were on-site for the four-hour meeting and through the wonders of technology—another 35 sisters at 25 other sites were able to follow the meeting live and submit questions to the presenters in real time.Thankfully, the webcast went smoothly, but it didn’t just “happen” that way.

Getting Ready

The use of technology to enhance communications and strengthen collaboration was one of the goals that came out of a six-month study on the use of technology that took place during the first six months of 2010. As a result of that study, our province committed resources to move forward in the use of technology.

In January, 2011, we hired a full-time director of technology and shortly after that we hired a full-time manager for our help desk and network systems. They have been hard at work upgrading our infrastructure at the Provincial Center which supports our Provincial Center Community, Administration, Health Care Facility and an elementary school as well as upgrading and standardizing computer hardware and software for both the Provincial Center and the sisters who live outside the Provincial Center.

The Perfect Event

The May 1 event was the perfect opportunity to try out web conferencing as some sisters would be unable to be present due to distance or ministry commitments. Wanting to be there live—was enough motivation to get them to give the Internet version a try.

The On-site Team

The week before the event our on-site team was busy working out the logistics: connectivity, camera placement, lighting, sound, retrieving the online questions, computer interface, etc. The sound interface was our biggest challenge. We held several practices until we got it right. This involved a few trips to the store for longer cables, a digital microphone, and some other hardware. On the day itself we had a sound/camera check with the day’s presenters before the meeting began.

Easy-to-use Platform

We selected Quick Visuals with AV from Great America Networks Conferencing. I have used a number of other web conferencing platforms and by far this was the easiest both for me as a host and for the attendees. It is flash-based, so the attendees had nothing to download. The set-up and administration tools were very user friendly. Oh, and the cost for a one-month license for up to 50 participants was less than a plane ticket!

Build on Success

As web-conferencing goes this was a basic meeting with simple interaction, which is the best way to introduce new technologies. It was successful and we will be able to build on this experience in the future. The sisters are already thinking about other ways we can use technology to be more inclusive and effective in mission. As Sisters of Notre Dame like to say, “God is good.”

Do you have any technology “firsts” to share?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sr.Maureen May 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

Susan congratulations to you and the entire technology team. It was an awesome feat and a great trail blazing event. So thank for taking the risk to make it happen.Looking ahead to the future is also very energizing and exciting about how we will be able to move the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame forward with the use of technology.

Tony Krisak May 9, 2011 at 11:30 am

Susan – I add my congratulations. It sounds very exciting, and I am also happy to hear how well it went.

Sr. Dion Horrigan May 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I was a live participant in this May 1 event, but heard from a number of sisters at those 25 sites who were SO very grateful to be a part of this significant event for our province. There is something so exciting and life-giving in knowing WE were all connected…and from all appearances it seemed to happen without a hitch. However, knowing this just doesn’t happen, I want to say thanks for all the preps for this happening. I have heard sisters say, “WOW, if we could do this, why not this?” I am convinced that this kind of connecting helps us all remember, as Mother Teresa one said, “We belong to one another.”
Sister Dion Horrigan, SND

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF May 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I’m delighted for the SND’s! What a wonderful way to stay connected!

Sr.Marilyn Marie May 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

Susan, I heard wonderful things from some of the Sisters about this experience! Congratulations!

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