Following are the methods I used for learning Zoom and conducting my first Timothy Two Project International (timothytwo.org) training workshops via Zoom over the past six weeks with three groups of pastors and ministry leaders in Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Before beginning the workshops, I set up a Zoom account and received a couple lessons from my niece, Libby Gaige Eiholzer, who has been using Zoom for work over the past several months. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to learn how it works. And I upgraded my Zoom account to $11.99 per month so that I could meet with more than one person at a time and so that we could meet for an unlimited amount of time.
Before we began each workshop, I asked the coordinator and the interpreter of each group to assess the situation in their city by asking each participant if they were able to connect individually or not. After a consensus was reached about how we would meet, we held a test meeting with the coordinator, interpreter and some or all of the participants. And during the meeting we explained how to use the system for the workshop to the participants. I also met with just the coordinator and the interpreter of the first group several times before that just to practice. I used the same Zoom password for all the meetings for all the groups to keep it simple. I will change that password for the next series of meetings.
Since the third group could not meet individually, I also paid for one month of internet service (about $70) to be connected to the largest of their church’s classrooms, and they brought their modem from home to connect the internet service to the main laptop. I also paid for them to buy an external Zoom-capable camera and tripod so they could project my image on a sheet hung in front of the classroom. That was all hooked up to the interpreter’s laptop. Then they set up another laptop pointed toward the group so I could see the participants sitting in the classroom. They hooked the first laptop up to an audio speaker so the interpreter and participants could hear me speak. And I could hear the interpreter and classroom participants speak over the two laptops. Finally, I paid for their lunches supplied by the coordinator’s wife and her team since the participants were coming from various parts of the city and we took a break during that time like in a normal workshop.
With the first two groups all participants were able to connect via Zoom from their own homes. But with the third group, participants were not able to connect from their homes because the Internet system is weak and expensive in the Dominican Republic. So the workshop coordinator and the interpreter set up equipment in one of the church’s school classrooms.
With the Ecuador, group we met for two hours in the evening nine times over two weeks. With the Colombia group, we met for three hours on six Saturday and Sunday afternoons over four weekends. And with the Dominican group, we met for six hours per day for four days in a row.
At the conclusion of each Zoom meeting a recording is made – if you turned on the recording at the beginning of the session. (Although, most of the time it turns on automatically.) I took that video file and uploaded it into my YouTube account which took about 30 minutes. Then I edited the video using the tools in YouTube to remove any unwanted material – at the front end when everyone is signing on, and at the back end when I’m meeting with the interpreter and coordinator to discuss how the meeting went. Then I clicked “Save” on the edited video. The processing of this takes up to 4 hours. Then I posted the video on a YouTube “Unlisted” playlist that I created for each group. Then I sent the link to that playlist to the coordinator so that he could send it to all the participants for viewing when they missed a class meeting.
For the first two groups, I created a 25 question short answer test on Google Forms based on the Review Questions and Application Question. I had the coordinator send everyone a link to the test so they could take it at the conclusion of the workshop for several reasons: 1) in order to gather as many of their full names and emails as possible; 2) to qualify them to receive a “this workshop only” certificate; 3) to certify that they had written out out all the answers to the Review Questions in their workbooks; 4) to certify that if they missed one of the meetings that they had watched the video recording of that workshop (more on this below); 5) to gather some testimonials from the participants; and, 6) and to help them think through the material one more time.
I did not create a test for the third group since most do not have email. But I asked the interpreter to gather their names and a short testimonial from each person and to interpret those for me.