By Murray J. Goodman, MD
An inside look at planning and executing an Academy Webinar
It’s Tuesday night, Nov. 13, 2007, and I’m about to make my online debut as a faculty presenter on the Academy’s first Webinar, Orthopaedists At Risk: Navigating Industry Relationships. I am at home in my study, linked up with the other faculty via a telephone bridge. I will not see anyone in the audience when I make my presentation. All I will see is my computer screen. I remember saying to myself, “I hope this works.”
A year later, and I’m an “old hand.” I have been on three Webinars—once serving as program director. As a seasoned veteran, I know what to expect. Here’s my behind-the-scenes look at what goes into planning an AAOS Webinar.
Planning is key
Although the Webinars last just 90 minutes, they require an incredible amount of planning by the program director, faculty, and staff. The first step is creating a program plan. This document describes the Webinar’s educational objectives and content. It also includes a minute-by-minute program rundown that lists each presentation and the time allocated. For example, I debuted in 2007 at 8:24 p.m. ET. I was allocated 21 minutes and I was told to adhere to my time.
The program plan also includes information on polling questions, videos, and question and answer sessions. It describes handouts. Planning a Webinar requires much more than simply creating a few lectures. I have questions and staff is quick to provide answers!
The Academy staff recommend that we create visually rich lectures, using pictures rather than text, if possible. They provide us with a template for the slides. After I send in my slide file, they offer to enrich my slides with additional graphics. I agree, knowing I will have final approval.
Meanwhile, staff is producing videos designed to trigger discussion on certain aspects of the Academy Standards of Professionalism (SOPs) on Orthopaedic-Industry Relationships. They are also developing polling questions
and planning the question-and-answer (Q & A) sessions. Staff create some questions in case none are submitted. I’m not worried; orthopaedic surgeons ask questions.
About a week prior to the program, all the presentations are reviewed during a conference call with all faculty. Keeping the audience engaged is important, so we review the presentations to ensure content does not overlap. We also rundown the program, minute by minute. It is a detailed process.
We discuss the Q & A session protocol. To answer as many participant questions as possible, only one faculty member will respond to a question. Staff advise us to turn off the telephone call-waiting feature and the computer’s speakers to reduce audio “feedback.” Because each minute counts, staff advise asking for help if something goes wrong during the live program.
A week later we present the program. For the most part, everything goes according to plan. James H. Beaty, MD, the Academy’s president in 2007, is the program director. Jeanne L. DelSignore, MD, from the Ethics Committee, and Katie McDermott, an attorney, are the other faculty. More than 700 Academy members have registered for the program; about 50 percent will participate.
Technical problems do arise. Responses to polling questions do not display correctly. One faculty member’s slides will not advance and must be handled by staff. But 90 minutes later, I realize we did it! All of us are very pleased, and I settle in to review the latest issue of AAOS Now.
Starting the second season
A year later, I am again in my study making final preparations for the Webinar on Navigating Competitive Marketplaces. Tonight I am the director, responsible for introducing the program and faculty; I also have a presentation. The Webinar is focusing on two SOPs—Advertising by Orthopaedic Surgeons and Musculoskeletal Services.
More than 400 Academy members have registered, we’ve accounted for each minute in the planning process, and my faculty—William Hopkinson, MD; Vincent Silvaggio, MD; and Michael F. Schafer, MD—and I know what needs to be done. I am just waiting for someone to say, “Lights, camera, action!”
Murray J. Goodman, MD, is a member of the AAOS Ethics Committee. He can be reached at email@example.com
2009 CME Webinar schedule
The Academy has planned several Webinars in 2009. Programs that focus on dues-supported activities such as Standards of Professionalism and Guidelines will be free to Academy members.
The CME Courses Committee is planning 4 programs focusing on medical/scientific topics. These programs, like the traditional courses on the Academy’s annual CME calendar, will require a registration fee ($59) for participation. The following programs are planned for 2009:
- Upper Extremity Fractures in Children, May 19, moderated by Ken Noonan, MD
- ACL Reconstruction, June 16, moderated by Robert LaPrade, MD
- Proximal Humerus Fractures, Sept. 15, moderated by Leesa Galatz, MD
- Nerve Compression Syndromes, Oct. 13, moderated by David Steinberg, MD