Our Family Tree University Virtual Conference is coming up Sept. 19-21! Some booth visitors at last week’s Federation of Genealogical Societies conference saw our Virtual Conference sign and asked how it works. For anyone wondering the same thing, here’s the lowdown:
- Once you complete your registration, you’ll receive an email with instructions on logging in to participate. When you log in, you’ll see the Welcome page with links to each track of video classes (Genealogy Technology, Research Strategies, and Ethnic Research), live chats, the discussion board, the exhibit hall, and FAQs. Click on a link to visit that area of the conference.
- The video classes are recorded, so you can watch them whenever you want during the conference, and/or download them to your computer to watch later. You also can visit the discussion board any time during the conference. Live chats do happen at scheduled times, although we post chat transcripts to the discussion board for anyone who missed them—valuable genealogy tips emerge from these chats!
Thinking about registering? Here are some Virtual Conference tips I’ve gathered over the years of participating in these:
- You can log in any time over the weekend to access videos or the discussion board—even in the middle of the night. If you have kids, you might need to call Dora the Explorer and Little Einsteins into service when you attend the scheduled live chats.
- You can download videos to watch later, but if you’re especially interested in one, try to watch it during the conference so you can post any follow-up questions to the message board.
- To download a video or a PDF directly from a link, right-click on the link and choose Save As, Save Target As or Save Link As (depending on your browser). Choose to save to your desktop, allow a minute for downloading, then open directly from your computer.
- Print out a PDF of the presentation slides before sitting down to watch a video. Then, if there is a particular part of the video that you want to revisit, you can jot down the time signature next to the corresponding slide so that you can go back and re-watch later.
- The message board is great for posting brick walls and research questions, and getting to know people. We also usually have threads for introductions, surnames (I’ll post names with places, such as “Depenbrock: Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Ky.”), favorite genealogy books and websites, old family recipes, and more. Feel free to start a thread.
- Since you’ll be spending a little time in front of the computer, keep your favorite snacks handy. Break out your comfy slippers, too.
- Live chats are Friday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern; and Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern. You can see the topics by scrolling down on the Virtual Conference program. Don’t forget to account for time zones when planning which ones you’ll attend.
- Live chats can be fast-paced. Usually, the moderator opens things by asking a question of the group. Don’t be shy about jumping in—that breaks the ice and makes it easier later in the chat, when you want to ask a research question or comment on someone else’s question.
- Write out some questions you have about the topic before entering a live chat. That way you’ll feel less pressure to come up with questions on the fly, and you can engage in the conversation instead of racking your brain to make sure you ask everything you need to.
- In a busy live chat, if you respond to another person’s comment, it helps to start with their name: “Diane, I hear passport records are…” Other comments will appear between the original comment and your response, so this helps connect the two.
- Don’t worry about typos in chats. If you think your typo will confuse people, just post another comment “Oops, that should be …” (Once I was in a chat while holding a baby, and his foot rested on the Return key for a few seconds. I just typed a quick “Sorry about that” to explain my 14 blank comments, and no one minded.)
- No need to scribble notes during a chat—we’ll make the transcript available on the message board.