Friday, November 6, 2009

Three APG/PMC Presentations Available to View

Do you want a peek at some of the presentations made at the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Professional Management Conference (PMC) in September 2009 at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Little Rock?

Check out the PMC Webcast page on the APG site. The site says:

"As a result of a trial partnership with FamilySearch, APG is making available three presentations from the 2009 APG Professional Management Conference, which took place on September 2 at the FGS Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"Lectures by Heather Henderson, Mary Penner, and Elissa Scalise Powell, are available, free of charge, to APG members and the public as a "trial balloon" to see how well this rich professional educational opportunity is received. In the future, we will explore options for pay-per-view, live streaming video, and other possibilities so that more of our members and prospective members can benefit from the PMC when attending the conference isn't possible."

The three presentations available include:

* Bull's Eye! Planning and Delivering a Winning Mark by Heather Henderson

* The Bachelor: Reconstructing a Solitary Life Using Obscure & Far-Flung Records by Mary Penner

* Get Paid for Your Passion: Becoming a Professional Genealogist by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG.

I watched Elissa Powell's presentation last night and enjoyed seeing what I had missed.

The presentations are webcast showing the speaker in a small window and the PowerPoint slides in a larger, more readable, window. The listener can even speed up the presentation (I used 1.4 x normal speed to cut the presentation time from 70 minutes to 50 minutes, without missing anything).

Although the online listener cannot interact with the speaker using this webcast format, there is a benefit to hearing and seeing the speaker while observing the slides.

This is one way that genealogy researchers can receive genealogy education from conference programs that they cannot afford to attend due to time conflicts or financial reasons. There is a cost associated with producing these webcasts. The website indicates that a fee-per-view will be pursued, and that seems fair, both to the speaker, the conference and the webcast provider.

Hopefully, the cost for a one-hour presentation will be reasonable - my own price point is probably in the $5 to $10 range. At the FGS Conference, there were 21 time periods where an attendee could hear a speaker, and the conference charge was in the $200 range. The additional costs of traveling to the FGS Conference (airfare, car rental, hotel, food) made the five day event a $2000 cost for my wife and I (note that the pre-FGS and post-FGS travel to see friends and to sightsee increased our overall costs significantly. If I had traveled by myself to Little Rock for five days, it would have cost about $1300.). So the webcast option, even if it cost me $200 for 20 presentations, would be a significant savings over the cost of attending the Conference.

The issue, of course, is that if all presentations were made in a webcast, then there would be no more large regional or national conferences with exhibit halls, fancy dinners and social networking. Those factors are important to the attendees, but for the other 99% of genealogy researchers who don't attend conferences, they are not really a factor. There would still be local and regional society programs and day-long seminars with speakers. These events could be used to create the webcasts. The speaker's syllabus could be emailed to the online attendees after they paid the webcast fee.

I appreciate the effort by FamilySearch and APG/PMC to create these webcasts, and hope to see more of them. Now I need to watch the other two webcasts that are available. They both sound really interesting!

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