Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)
School of Access
Spring Academic Chairs Meeting
The NSCC Dean of the School of Access called us to facilitate her annual winter meeting with the academic chairs from 13 campuses across the province. Meetings in the past were frequently cancelled due to the severity of Nova Scotia's winter weather. If the meeting had been held face-to-face, the second day would have been cancelled due to hazardous travel conditions. Instead, the virtual meeting went on as planned. The Dean also discovered there were significant cost savings to meeting virtually.
The Dean prepared her Academic Chairs for the meetings in several ways. First, she scheduled the meetings during regular work hours and asked them to attend from their home where they would not be interrupted. She also asked them personally to commit time to go to the VFC Adobe Connect practice room for orientation. She purchased USB headsets for everyone to assure quality audio and asked them to contact the Collaborative if they still had questions. Finally, she asked attendees to enter the meeting room 30 minutes early to test their connection and audio.
On the content side, the Dean asked her leadership to help form the Agenda and arranged a rehearsal for all presenters with the virtual facilitation team.
The depth and breadth of Adobe Connect and the VFC Facilitators allowed NSCC to have World Café breakouts for small group work and plenary rooms for large group work. Leaders used visual layouts to present their material or screen shared. Participation was enabled through: chat pods, full range of response icons, poll pods and verbal response. Participant response to using virtual meetings in the future was 100% affirmative. They agreed that two days was overly ambitious and recommended meeting more frequently.
The Dean said, “Using VFC virtual facilitators and Adobe Connect allowed all the academic chairs to have a voice and make decisions together. We heard from everyone. VFC facilitators came through for us. Also, the welcoming at the beginning of each day is very important for us from Nova Scotia – we are a welcoming people. We learned that we would benefit to meet more often with less on the Agenda. I love the data documentation and the ability of one participant who had an emergency to listen and see the recording of the meeting.”