• Questions About Producing Online Education

    I’m planning to deliver the same content online rather than in person. Do I need to change my content?

    You don’t necessarily have to change the content, but the presentation style should change to meet learner's needs and integrate with the format. Additionally, you will want to think through how to prepare faculty for the new format and how to best engage learners.  

    What are some technology platforms I could use to produce an online activity (live or enduring)?

    While the Credit System cannot endorse technology platforms, we know providers have used some of the following: Zoom, Webex, Google Hangouts, Facebook/YouTube and Twitter Live. Many of these platforms are offering free services. In addition, enduring content can be delivered via websites, cell phone video recording, MS Word or PDF.

    How can I weigh the pros/cons of the different platforms?

    A few things to consider when evaluating pros and cons of a platform include:

    • educational format – live (webinar) or enduring (webcast) activity
    • cost
    • number of participants
    • number of presenters
    • registration process vs. open to anyone (if needed)
    • learner and activity evaluation needs (some platforms have a survey option built in)
    • learner engagement preferences (for a live activity, keep in mind learners must be able to interact in some capacity with fellow learners and faculty)

    How do I choose between a webinar (live) and a webcast (enduring)?

    The right format should be based on the needs of the audience and help you reach your planned educational outcome.  

    Webinars - A presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements is the ability to give, receive and discuss information in real-time.

    Webcasts - Much like a webinar being a “web-based seminar,” a webcast is a web-based broadcast, or a broadcast that takes place online. However, unlike a webinar, webcasting is characterized by a host (or hosts) simply broadcasting their presentation without any engagement from their audience.

    The true strength of the webinar is the interaction – a conversation between the faculty and learners. Webcasts add value by giving you the ability to edit the recording. Ted talks are good examples of a webcast. They are very effective when your goal is to create a core idea/concept in your learner’s mind. Learner convenience also plays a key role here. With webcasts, the learner can pause and continue the education.

    How do I create interaction with learners during an online activity? What are the different ways to take questions or interact with participants?

    Plan your activity with learning outcomes in mind and consider what options the technology (platform) you are using has available. Examples of live online learner interactivity include polls, question and answer, discussions via chat, and small break-out sessions.

    Additional options for either live online or enduring formats are to seek learner questions prior to and during the activity, or you could establish an online learning community to extend learning beyond the scheduled activity.

    How do I prepare faculty for using new technology?

    There are many tactics you can put in place to prepare faculty for online education. In advance of the activity, provide faculty with a list of instructions to help them plan and get setup including instructions for connectivity and guidance for background, managing disturbances, and turning off notifications. Encourage faculty to have a clock where they can see it and a printout of slides to refer to as needed during the activity.

    Schedule practice sessions in the same environment as the virtual session – same computer, microphone, and internet connection. Note, it is best if the computer is directly connected to the router.

    Double-check the date and time of the live activity or recording including confirming time zones and require faculty to login 30 minutes in advance for troubleshooting

    How do we create an evaluation? How do learners complete an evaluation for an online activity?

    Many platforms have built in survey options such as Zoom, Webex, and GoToMeeting. Alternatively, you could use tools such as SurveyMonkey or Google docs to send virtual evaluations. It is important to design the evaluation cautiously to avoid survey-fatigue. Some tips include providing mutually exclusive choices, using consistent scale points, and keeping it short.

    For our live in-person event we had sponsors providing breakfast and lunch. Now that we have switched to a live virtual format, how can we properly acknowledge our sponsors during the breakfast/lunch session?

    You can still host your virtual sponsored breakfast and/or lunch; however, you will want to make sure your attendees are informed prior to the mealtime that it is sponsored and that it is not for CME credit. This ensures learners are informed and gives them the option to choose not to attend. At the conclusion of the sponsored session, we recommend you have clear signage (PowerPoint slide for example), stating this ends the sponsored/promotional component of your meeting and offering a break in-between session. For more information on handling commercial promotion, see Standard 5 of ACCME's Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited CE. If you have specific questions regarding your virtual sponsored meal, then you can contact the AAFP Credit System by email at cmecredit@aafp.org or phone at (800) 274-2237.

    Can I still have an exhibit hall now that my meeting is completely virtual?

    Yes, as long you ensure promotion is separate from CME. We recommend you provide a clear notification to learners and not require the learners to engage in the exhibits. When possible, we recommend exhibits occur in a separate virtual room to separate promotion from CME. For more information on handling commercial promotion, see Standard 5 of ACCME's Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited CE. If you have specific questions regarding your virtual exhibit hall, then you can contact the AAFP Credit System by email at cmecredit@aafp.org or phone at (800) 274-2237.