The feedback from my post, “Why the ANA does not have online education,” was interesting. About 10-percent of the readers (based on collected statistics) commented to me via email. That is a lot of feedback for one post! The comments ranged from a virtual headshake to anger for being “disrespectful” to the ANA president.
Unfortunately, nobody will go on the record with their comments. Please remember that I welcome all comments and will allow you to post any criticism you want. I accept and post all feedback, especially if you disagree with me. All I ask is that you keep it clean.
I want to answer two questions publically:
1. You’re the head of the IT Committee, why don’t you do something about the situation?
I am not longer the chairman of the IT committee, and I am no longer a member of the committee.
In late November 2019, ANA President Steve Ellsworth removed me from the committee after seven years of service.
When Ellsworth called to tell me, he did not give the exact reason. His statements as to why he made the decision were vague and ambiguous. Later that same day, I had to send him an email for clarification.
I assume that he did not want me around. After all, I came out against his candidacy before the end of the last election. But Ellsworth had a problem. How could he remove a recipient of the Glenn Smedley Award from the position that was the reason for the honor?
Unfortunately, I gave Ellsworth a way out. After he took office, Ellsworth changed a few things, including wanting status reports and a strategic plan. When he told me about the strategic plan, Ellsworth said that the ANA did not have one in many years and should come up with one.
At the same time, my business picked up. I was working 18 hour days, instead of my usual 14 hours, and had to hire more people. While my business was good, it did not provide enough time to devote to the ANA. I was hoping to catch up in late October, but that did not happen.
With the ANA not being a priority and my inability to deliver whatever Ellsworth wanted, I gave him the excuse to get rid of me.
Ellsworth’s move was a bit punitive, but it pales in comparison to what he hass done to the Exhibition Committee. That is a story for another time.
2. Can’t the ANA use something like Zoom to create classes?
They can also use software like Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Skype. Any video conferencing software and presentation slides that can be shared can create an instant class environment.
Google Hangouts and Skype are suitable for small classes. Although both are known to have bandwidth issues, keeping the courses between 7-10 people make these an inexpensive option.
Zoom is the current darling of the industry since they have a free tier. While Zoom has some excellent features, its security issues have shown they are going through significant growing pains. It is like watching your teenage son grow six inches in two months while his voice is changing. Eventually, he will evolve, and so will Zoom.
WebEx and GoToMeeting are the old stalwarts of the industry. Both have the advantage of being mature and familiar to many in the business world. The significant difference between these services and Zoom is that Zoom makes it easier to connect to a meeting.
Another option is YouTube Live. Classes can be live streamed with any number of people tuning in. Interacting with a YouTube Live stream is via comments only, similar to Facebook Live, but it is something that the ANA can use.
Here is an idea: How about a YouTube Live class for Numismatics 101? After the live class, leave the video online with an email link to allow future viewers to send questions.
There are better ways to hold online classes. Blackboard and similar software have better options. But to start, do something!