Future Directions Handbook

Education

Definitions

eLearning Module 

An eLearning module is an intermediate level course targeted at practicing engineers. It consists of an outline (which includes an abstract and details the contents of your presentation), slide sets for each 1 hour module (roughly 30 slides per hour), an accompanying audio script and for each slide, 10 or more post test questions and answers in a multiple choice and/or true/false format, and a photo and biography of yourself. You may also include further reading articles and/or glossary terms with definitions if you believe it will add value to the course. These courses provide CEU/PDH credits and are available for a fee. The exact pricing structure is still in review at this moment.  

In return, the volunteer will be presented with an honorarium of $1000 USD for each module produced, and their work will be featured on the respective IEEE Initiative web portal and the IEEE Digital Xplore Library.

In order to promote the modules we utilize a variety of mediums. We create banners for the front page of the web portals, email blasts for the Technical Community, text within the Future Directions Newsletter and within the Initiative Newsletter/Letters (if applicable), and graphics for social media, including but not limited to: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Collabratec. Every course is searchable through the IEEE Digital Xplore Library and we encourage Instructors to promote their courses to their own professional contacts – and we provided them with the email blast and social media graphic to do so. We can also insert text into print Flyers and automated Webinar Thank You/Absentee notices upon creating a “home” for the modules to live. Please note that this option does not point to an individual module, but rather points to an overall URL where all of the Initiative courses can be found. This minimizes the need for continuous updating of materials.

Please refer to the additional reference documents for examples of each step.

Webinar

A webinar is less formal, does not offer CEU or PDH credit (as an e-learning module does), and is free to access, unlike e-learning modules. (The pricing plan is currently in review for modules, as it is felt that we charge too much at the current moment). Webinars are high-level, free introductory courses that run for 1 hour. 40 minutes are dedicated to presentation, and 20 minutes are dedicated to Q&A. At the end of each webinar participants are guided to a survey via Google Forms that asks them about their experience as well as suggestions for future webinar topics.

Webinars can be fully live or mock-live (recorded in advance and then shown through video), but they all have a live Q&A session with the instructor for 20 minutes at the end. We do not pay our volunteers to lead these. They are hosted via WebEx.  Ideally, we will “continue the conversation” on Collabratec – where the questions that the instructor were unable to get to during the event can be subsequently answered- not only by the instructor but also by the other participants on Collabratec as well. Any unanswered questions should be saved from the Webex, as they can be emailed to the instructor for an “interview” piece that can be posted upon the web portal.

The webinars are marketed in many of the same ways as the e-learning modules, but they are not included in the IEEE Digital Xplore Library at this moment. We also ensure that every Webinar is run around the same date (Wednesday or Thursday on the 3rd week of the month for example) so the audience knows when to check back. We also send out an invitation to all previous webinar attendees via the WebEx Invite feature.

Tutorials

Tutorials are like webinars, but for a fee. Tutorials are also more technical in detail. Usually they take the format of a previously presented live tutorial (4 hour session) and split into 4 separate 80 minute sessions of 60 minute presentations plus 20 minute Q&A each. After each tutorial, attendees are eligible to complete an evaluation form, take a quiz and receive Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credit.

Tutorials can be very flexible in their format. In addition to the format mentioned above, initiatives have hosted full-day tutorials, 2 1½-hour sessions or 1 3-hour sessions.  

Overall best practices for all educational activities

Some ideas for developing education activities that make the process run smoothly and maintain consistency across the series of events:

  • Develop a list of interested instructors and their technical focus which can be used to develop a calendar of education events.
  • Request that presenter presentations/slide decks are submitted two weeks in advance to allow for peer review.
  • Create a script for the live event to allow for a smooth transition between different parts of the webinar. This includes and Introduction, a transition to Q&A, and closing statements.
  • Create a standard application process for participants to complete prior to scheduling each event, such as a WebEx event form. This way all the participant information will be standardized across the educational offerings.
  • The following information is required to be maintained in a Google Drive folder for each educational activity:
    • Overall Goal of educational  program
    • Selection of delivery method (e-learning, webinar, tutorial, etc.)
    • Course Title and Outline
    • Abstract (200 words or less)
    • Instructor’s CV – complete with biography, name as they wish it to appear, and photograph
    • Confirmation of peer review
    • Quiz questions (as applicable)
    • CEUs/PDHs (as applicable)

Webinars

Create a sub-committee within the Educational Working Group for webinars, with dedicated and swift volunteers to fill the roles. 2 volunteers should be a minimum for this sub-committee. Have these volunteers define an educational calendar (ideally for next 12 months) then find speakers to fit each area. This calendar can be built with pre-existing contacts/instructors  in mind.  Webinars should be held either bi-monthly or monthly.  Build out list of volunteers in each topic area to review, or have the webinar sub-committee review the materials.  and present webinars. Encourage young professionals and young entrepreneurs to ask questions of leading experts during webinars, but always go into the webinar with 2 or 3 preplanned questions in order to kick start the process.

IEEE volunteers are technical experts and imparting their knowledge to other IEEE members and non-IEEE audiences helps raise global visibility for the organization, the Initiative and their own professional status. As experts, IEEE volunteers can present aspects of their knowledge and expertise through webinar presentations as part of an IEEE Initiative’s educational track to help drive traffic to the web portal, subscribers to a newsletter, and members to the Technical Community or LinkedIn group, etc. Planning, preparation and execution to conduct a webinar requires an investment of time and effort from the IEEE Volunteer who is hosting the event. Each webinar host needs to create a presentation in advance on the IEEE PowerPoint template and submit it for approval to the IEEE Steering Committee members assigned to review content.  Hosting the webinar involves being available a week prior for a dry run with the WebEx operator to become familiar with the system. On the day of the webinar, the host needs to be available for an hour before the event and for the hour it takes to host the webinar. They will present their slides to the online audience via WebEx for 40 minutes and conduct a live Q&A with the attendees for 20 minutes at the end. All questions are captured via WebEx reporting tools. A formal Q&A Interview can be developed from this process to publish on the IEEE Initiative web portal alongside the archived webinar and PowerPoint slides. All webinar hosts must commit to every step of this process to ensure a successful event each time.

eLearning/ Online Tutorials

Use WebEx for online tutorials. Have questions submitted throughout the course, and have the presenter choose roughly five for the end, with the idea that he or she can respond to those five or other questions via written interview or through Collabratec, etc. Live presentation is preferred over recorded. Monitor ROI and effectiveness (for example, don’t use your most popular presenter over the summer) and stagger times to accommodate various worldwide time zones.

MOOC- Massive Open Online Course

A massive open online course (MOOC) is a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance. The content needs to be curated to be timely and relevant to the field of interest of the Community.  

Local events

Local events include distinguished lecture series, topically driven workshops, and summits each of which can be recorded and used as training or educational materials.

Archival of educational material

Educational material can be placed on the Resource Center during the lifetime of the Initiative or afterwards in either a Society or Tech Community resource center set up specifically for the graduated initiative.

Marketing plan

In order to conduct effective marketing for the educational materials, all of the following steps should be utilized:

  • Send fliers to speakers and organizing committee, IEEE Region/Section groups in geographic proximity (for in-person events), Steering committee members, society representatives.
  • Send e-blast to society representatives, steering committee, technical community, working groups, various lists the initiative uses.
  • Create portal updates: include page with agenda, speaker headshots and bios, link to registration, banners, feature on the portal’s home page
  • Promote on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Collabratec): “Save the date” early on, update and topics/speakers identified to continue interest
  • Place item in the Technical Community Update Letter
  • Place item in the FD newsletter