ESAA Capacity Building Webinars 2020
Due to the current situation of the pandemic, many of the ESAA capacity building seminars originally planned on the ground had to be cancelled. To adapt to the new challenges, the ESAA Liaison Group decided to organise a series of online webinars in June and July 2020. The webinars covered a wide range of skills and were offered each three times on three different dates at the weekend.
Not only the fact itself that this year’s ESAA Capacity Building Seminars had to be held online was a first response to the challenges of COVID-19. Moreover, the ESAA Liaison Group decided to choose topics that would offer participants the opportunity better cope with these new challenges. Therefore, and apart from a webinar on the topic Social Media, two very up-to-date trainings on Teamwork across distance – new soft skills for remote collaborationand Leading across distance – What changes in virtual environments? were offered on several weekends and on three different dates each. That way interested participants – all of them members of one of ESAA’s partner organisations EMA, OCEANS, ESN and garagErasmus – were able to find a suitable time and date to take part. In total, 59 volunteers participated in the offered webinars, around 20 in each of the three above-mentioned trainings. As they then took part in different sessions, the number of participants per session was quite small. This created a personal and interactive atmosphere for discussions. After each session, materials as well as a feedback sheet were shared by the respective trainer.
The feedback regarding the webinar Teamwork across distance – new soft skills for remote collaboration (22 participants in total) revealed that a 100% of the attendees agreed or even strongly agreed that they feel better prepared for each of the different areas that were addressed. They also believe that they gained an improved sense of understanding of the topic after the session. Moreover, 80% of the participants strongly agreed that the trainer was competent. One attendee stated to be „very happy“ to have participated and that he or she (the evaluation was anonymous) „understood and learned new techniques about teamwork across distance“. Another participant appreciated the „good self-reflection“ as part of the webinar.
After taking part in Leading across distance – What changes in virtual environments? (19 participants in total), 85% of the participants indicated that they enjoyed the webinar and even 93% stated that the trainer established a productive atmosphere during the webinar. The open feedback received after this webinar also showed that attendees seemed very satisfied with the training. Apart from finding it motivating, one participant wrote:
„The webinar involved the topic which I am struggling the most recently; thus, it was very helpful for me. The trainer was concise, and she was trying to involve the participant in the topic as much as she could. I am so thankful to her for sharing the presentation later on with all of us.“
The webinar Social Media welcomed 18 participants in total. The focus was on how to manage Social Media channels effectively, how to increase the number of followers and how to keep them active and involved. A 100% of the participants agreed that they were satisfied with the execution of the webinar, 75% even strongly agreed. The statement that the trainer established a productive atmosphere during the webinar was acknowledged by 88%. One of the participants expressed that he/she hopes to „join (…) another good webinar (…) from ESAA“ after completing the Social Media webinar.
In addition to these three webinars organised and opened for members of all four partner organisations, a specific training for each organisation was arranged.
The Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) was offered the webinar Trusting is good – control is better? The role of trust in remote teamsfor up to ten members. The webinar aimed at training the eight participants in times of physical distance. Therefore, questions of trust and control were defined and discussed in a new way. Afterwards, the attendees agreed that the trainer used practical examples and situations that participants can implement in their professional/work life.
The webinar Creating closeness at distance – leading remotewas foreseen for up to ten members of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). The evaluation sheet which was sent out after the webinar showed that the participants were satisfied with the execution of the webinar. They also found the examples discussed during the session useful for their personal working life.
Another very important topic was covered by the webinar Successful virtual collaboration, in the first place organised for members of garagErasmus. Here, crucial aspects such as how to look and sound best in your video call and useful tacks to activate my participants during virtual meetings were presented and discussed. The feedback revealed that the trainer gave authentic examples and established a productive atmosphere.
The Organisation for Cooperation, Exchange and Networking: Student & Alumni (OCEANS) was offered the webinar VUCA-World (VUCA = Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity)for up to 30 of its members. We are pleased to know that the participants strongly agreed that they feel now more competent and prepared with regard to the new challenges and the so called VUCA world, and that they found the webinar productive. The highly positive feedback we received afterwards contained the following statements:
„(…) the seminar was great and the presenter put a lot of effort! I hope to receive the presentation file for personal review. Thanks a lot!“
„Nice that you organised this!“
All in all, we are very happy with the active participation and want to thank each volunteer who took part and shared own experiences. We really appreciate the positive feedback which – not only but just as importantly – showed us the following: despite the pandemic, social distancing and so many other new challenges, remote collaboration is possible, and often even brings many advantages. Maybe this is even one of the most important outcomes of the ESAA Capacity Building Webinars 2020.
Cologne, 04 August 2020