How to Use Webinars for Literacy: PD, Programming and Promotion

October 28, 2011

A huge thank you to our participants and speakers today who participated in the online discussion on how to use webinars for professional development, programming and promotion in the literacy field.

Our speakers

Allison Mullin is the manager of communications and marketing at the Ontario Literacy Coalition (OLC), after previously working in the communications departments of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the City of Calgary. As part of it’s strategy to provide professional development opportunities for those working in the literacy field in Ontario, the OLC has been hosting a webinar series for the past year on a wide variety of topics.

 Courtney Hare is a Financial Literacy Facilitator for the non-profit organization in Calgary called Momentum. She is a certified Training Practitioner and holds an MA in Education from the University of Calgary where she got her start moderating and facilitating E-learning and online presentations. She is now looking for ways to further engage learners who may have barriers to accessing face-to-face workshops or learners who prefer to engage online. She is in the process of establishing the first E-learning module for a Momentum’s program called “StartSmart.”

Laura Godfrey is the Manager of Learning Links Resource Centre in Calgary, where she manages the development and operations of the centre. A graduate of the Southern Alberta Institute of Tecnology’s Library and Information Technology program, LearningLinks is the fifth library she has had a hand in setting up and running.

Each of the speakers is at a different point along the “continuum of development” for webinars. Allison heads up a successful webinar series that regularly has sessions filled over capacity. Courtney is beginning to prepare webinars for her organization. Laura is just starting to ask questions about webinars for literacy.

Laura provided a number of questions to guide today’s discussion:

  1. We’re a non-profit. How do we cover the costs of doing a webinar?
  2. Do we have to buy special software?
  3. How do we pick a topic to cover in a webinar?
  4. How long does it need to be?
  5. Can we record it and how can we make it available to others later?
  6. How tech savvy do you need to be in order to do this?
  7. Do you need to hire a speaker or can anyone do the speakers job?
  8. Who else is doing webinars in the literacy and adult education field?
  9. Why should we do this?
  10. Are there chances to collaborate with other groups?

Check out the webinar recording

In addition to our pre-arranged speakers, kudos also go to Dr. Jenny Horsman and Dr. Peggy Albers, both of whom shared insights from their own experiences about doing webinars in the literacy field.

Resources that were shared by participants today

Global Conversations in Literacy Research – A webinar series presented by Dr. Peggy Albers and hosted at Georgia State University

Camtasia – a video-capture software

RGK Foundation – Learning grants (USA only)

MacArthur Foundation Granting agency (USA only)

Techsoup – Technology resources for non-profits

Ontario Literacy Coalition Spotlight on Learning – OLC’s archived webinars

Learning and Violence – This site contains resources and archived webinars

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) – Clearing house of e-learning, video conferencing and webinars for K-12, educator PD and community education

Stock Exchange – Free stock photography site (requires registration)

Nancy Duarte – Best practices and resources for slide presentations

Twitter handles of some of today’s participants





I enjoyed the resources and information that everyone shared today. It was an open group who was willing to give ideas and share what they knew.

For me, this was one of the most technically challenging webinars I’ve done in a while. For some reason, I couldn’t hear participants while my own mic was turned on, which meant that I ended up “talking over” people without even knowing that they were trying to speak. My apologies for the rudeness! I can assure it that it was not at all intentional.

I am so grateful to everyone for their participation today. YOU made it worthwhile!


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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