The Move to LEED Webinars and Remote Working
It is the first of April in the year 2020 and most of our lives have been turned upside down. I write to you at a safe distance and I hope you are all healthy as we work our way through this pandemic together.
We have all made a few school and work adjustments as we all remain in quarantine. For many of us working from home is not a new concept as employers have increased the frequency of working from home, often as an effort to reduce commuting emissions. This strategy is actually part of a credit category in Location and Transportation in LEED v4 – Alternative Transportation introduced years ago. Telecommuting results in benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result of 2+ fewer trips taken and a more flexible schedule but also challenges such as effective productivity and collaboration on projects.
At Leadinggreen, we are lucky as myself and my employees have always worked from the comfort of their home or wherever they have an internet connection. As I am on the road teaching in 50+ cities every year, I like to say the world is my office and coffee is what we run on. Personally, the main challenge in social distancing is missing the classroom and interacting with my students. Physically seeing their brain wrap around new or misunderstood concepts and seeing the figurative light-bulb go off brings a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. This will be about my 9th year travelling the world to teach LEED Training workshop and exam prep courses and as the years go by, so does a need for a more sustainable personal lifestyle (pun intended). Online teaching and webinars have been on my mind for years and I have been experimenting to try and best emulate the classroom feel. In our current situation, I have had no other choice but to turn to webinars and have, so far, completed 2 successful sessions online. Others in the industry of professional development and sustainability have reached out for advice on best practices when holding live webinar presentations. After a lot of trials and tribulations with different products and software, I thought I would share my research and final results so you don’t have to!
Zoom – After testing out countless options and Zoom gave me the least grief and more importantly it is the easiest for the participants to use. It was simple to email/text participants on the day of the webinar and have them join via mobile or computer. Although it is simple, Zoom does lack some customization such as enlarging the size of the presenter which I worked around by setting a separate camera app and splitting the screen to then share. I use the native Windows or Apple camera application that comes with the operating system instead of the camera embedded in Zoom which is too small. I then chose to display the Powerpoint presentation in windowed mode and divided the screen 70/30 with the Powerpoint taking 70% of the screen up. I then shared my entire screen with the participants and utilized my second monitor to display the webcams of the 20-30 participants so I could see how they react to the LEED knowledge being taught. I muted everyone’s microphones upon entering and participants used the chat question to ask questions. At the end of each LEED Credit Category, users could unmute their microphones to discuss in more detail. Below
My laptop’s integrated microphone and webcam were suitable, but I chose to upgrade and buy an external USB webcam as well as a wireless USB microphone to ensure crisp video and sound quality. I tested out different Bluetooth microphones and other webcams and the 2 best options are available on Amazon here (not a paid ad, just my experience):
Wireless USB Lapel Microphone Link Here
I hope this blog post can help those save some time and research in these unprecedented and certainly trying times. I am constantly adding more webinar dates as this pandemic continues and please feel free to share some of my upcoming sessions below or stay up to date here.
Due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus, I will be transitioning upcoming in-person workshops to scheduled live webinars, or you can take the on-demand self-paced online workshop any time accessible for an entire year.
Webinar and Online self-paced options:
I will be offering live webinars that can be streamed on any of the following dates:
- April 7 2020 – 6:00PM – 9:30PM EDT
- April 11 2020 – 1:00PM – 4:30PM EDT
- April 18 2020 – 3:00PM – 6:30PM EDT
- April 29 2020 – 6:00PM – 9:30PM EDT
- May 9 2020 – 1:00PM – 4:30PM EDT – OR –
- May 15 2020 – 2:00PM – 5:30PM EDT
The above options are identical to the in-person workshops.
You can register here for a webinar – https://leadinggreen.com/webinars
Online – Start today – Self-paced recorded workshop
Or take the on-demand recorded course completed at your own pace here – https://leadinggreen.com/online
COVID19 and Prometric Testing centers
I have also received a lot of questions about the current testing status. Currently, most Prometric centers are closed and have different expected times or reopening which can obviously change. Keep updated here – https://www.prometric.com/closures
I am in constant talks with the USGBC to try and find alternative ways for students to take the exam such as proctored online and will keep you informed. If needed, I will be extending access to my materials.
I wish you all the best in these trying times and have an open phone line or email at all times. I am here to help in any way whether it is LEED related or general life-related.
Lorne Mlotek BASc., LEED AP BD+C, O+M