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Feb 12, 2014 Jennifer Hofmann

With Virtual Classroom Production, the Devil is in the Details

Working Behind The ScenesToday the team is exceptionally busy, and so I am taking a production slot for one of our clients.

A producer, if you haven't had the privilege of working with one in the synchronous environment, is the person behind the scenes making everything work.

From class set up, to technical support, to instructional support - and even participant advocate, the producer is a role present in more and more virtual classrooms. Combining the roles of Teaching Assistant and Help Desk, the producer can be the difference between an exceptional training session, and an ineffective webinar.

No pressure. None at all.

This means I log in to the session, manage participants, set up and monitor breakout rooms, manage audio issues, whiteboard.... all of the basics of solid synchronous production.

And I am nervous.

I don't produce often - far more frequently, I am the facilitator in the class. I am very confident about facilitating, no matter what technology we are using or how big the audience. But production is different. Production takes a focus on details that I don't naturally possess. I can do it - but the focus required is tremendous.

Remember, the purpose of the producer is to make the 'talent', in this case the facilitator, look good. The person in the background that ensures success by anticipating problems (Three people are sharing a phone line. How will that impact breakout rooms?), advocating for the participants (It would help if you would repeat that question- what you were asking was not clear), and managing the classroom (Your break is 10 minutes long. We have given you an extra 5 minutes to locate the following materials....).

So, in my time out of the spotlight I need to focus on making the experience stellar, and not let on that I am hectic in the background.

I have 15 minutes left before the session starts - time to:

  • Check my email to make sure no last minute changes came through.
  • Make tea.
  • Turn off the phone ringers.
  • Set up back up computers and internet.
  • Set up the classroom.
  • Check email one last time.

I am so glad there is always a producer with me when I facilitate online. I wouldn't want to do all of the production AND have to worry about content and engagement too.

I am sure I am forgetting something. I had better go.

Would you like to learn more about being a producer in the virtual classroom?  Check out our Master Virtual Producer (MVP) certificate course and discover how you can earn your Master Virtual Producer Badge by clicking on the graphic below.

Master Virtual Producer Certificate


Published by Jennifer Hofmann February 12, 2014
Jennifer Hofmann