Our Academy 2020/2021 - FAQS

Will the Academy open in September as usual?

Our 2020/2021 Academy year will begin as scheduled in September but may well need to take a different format if the government-imposed restrictions are still in place. We are pleased to assure you that you will be able to take full advantage of the range of interesting topics offered up for the coming year.

May 8, 2020

If the lockdown is still in place in September, what will happen?

If the lockdown prevents us from meeting in person, we will be holding workshops via videoconferencing.

May 8, 2020

When will we be able to meet in person for our workshops?

When the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and Tartu has made the preparations needed to be ready for us, we will meet in person as we normally would. We will keep you up-to-date on this as time goes on.

May 8, 2020

What if I am not comfortable traveling to Tartu or meeting in a classroom after the restrictions are lifted?

Even after the initial lockdowns are eased, and groups such as the Academy are able to meet again in person, it will more than likely still be some time before things return to "normal".  We will continue to offer videoconferencing as an option until we are settled into our comfortable routines and are sure that COVID-19 is on hiatus.

May 8, 2020

Do I need special equipment to take part in the workshops from home?

You will need to have a desktop or laptop computer, or a tablet; an internet connection; a video camera (generally part of your device already, but a stand-alone version may be used) so that you can see the presentations and the workshop members and so they can see you; and a microphone (again, generally part of your device, but a stand-alone mic may be used). A set of headphones (either plug in or wireless) is handy but not essential. The Tech Team will provide you with the details.

May 8, 2020

Do I need special software to take part in the workshops from home?

We will be offering our workshops using the Zoom platform. It is free for you to download and has all of the features needed to provide a workshop experience that is as close to what we are used to as is feasible. Zoom has gained great popularity with third age learning groups since the COVID-19 restrictions began as it is intuitive and user friendly.

May 8, 2020

Will accessing the workshops from home have a cost in addition to my Academy fees?

Zoom will be free to members, as the Academy will cover the cost of the required Zoom licenses out of its regular operating budget. Assuming your device has a video camera and a mic built in, then you will not need to spend money on anything else. The Tech Team will provide you with assistance to help you ensure that you have what you need.

May 8, 2020

Will the format of the workshops be the same?

While some very slight tweaks may need to be made to some of the topics, the workshop formats will generally be the same ones that would be used if we were meeting in person – discussion for groups like the Economist and Opinions, presentation followed by discussion for many of the others.

May 8, 2020

How will I show my PowerPoint presentation?

Rather than having to send your presentation to your facilitator or load it onto a USB and bring it to class, you will simply run it off of your own screen like you do when you do your dry run at home. The Tech Team will give you information on how this is accomplished and shared. It is very straightforward.

May 8, 2020

I enjoy chatting with fellow members before and after the workshops. Will I still be able to do that if I am joining the workshops remotely?

Facilitators will allow some time before the workshop begins and some time afterwards so that you can get your beverage of choice and catch-up with your friends before the workshop proper begins. You will be provided with details on how all this works as we get closer to September.

May 8, 2020

Will I still be able to ask questions and take part in workshop discussions?

Yes, you will be able to participate just as much as you can in the in-person sessions. There are a few bits of online meeting etiquette around deciding who speaks next, etc. but these are few and logical, and will be pointed out to you before workshops begin.

May 8, 2020

Will I be able to hear the facilitator(s), presenters, etc.?

Not only will you be able to hear everyone who speaks, you will be able to adjust the volume on your own machine so that it suits your needs.

May 8, 2020

Will the presentations themselves be easy to see?

The presentations will be easy to see and as good a quality as your device will allow. As the slides are seen right on your screen, they are likely to be more visible and easier to comprehend than the slides shown in Room 1 at Knox.

May 8, 2020

What if everyone speaks at once?

The facilitator will manage ‘who speaks when’ the same way that he/she does in an in-person workshop. Participants indicate an interest in speaking and are called upon when their turn arrives. Zoom has an easy way to indicate that you wish to speak.

May 8, 2020

Will we have Forums in the autumn as usual?

If lockdown restrictions are still in place when the forums are scheduled to begin, then we plan to offer them via videoconferencing.

May 8, 2020

What if I have never used Zoom before?

We acknowledge that this is a lot of change all at once, and that you may be trepidatious about the new things that you will experience if lockdown is still in place in September. The members of the Task Force – on behalf of the Board – will provide you with whatever information, training, and general support that you need. And you are free to ask questions at any time. The Academy's Tech Team has taken great efforts to ensure that everything is intuitive and user friendly.

May 8, 2020

What if I have questions related to the coming Academy year?

Please send any questions, concerns or suggestions to OurAcademy2021@gmail.com

May 8, 2020

Sometimes when I open Zoom I am asked to update. What should I do?

Always update as soon as possible to ensure that you have the latest security updates.

Will my personal information be at risk if I sign on to Zoom workshops?

Signing in to a Zoom workshop does not pose a risk to your personal information, You are joining the workshop by clicking on to a link sent by email from the Academy. No access to personal information is given at any stage.

I have read that there is a problem with strangers getting access to private Zoom workshops? Will that be a problem for our workshops?

There were some security issues with Zoom in the early days, but the company has been very efficient at addressing them. Some of the safeguards available to us include the mandatory use of a password and the use of a  waiting room / green room. People signing in to the meeting stay in the 'waiting room' until the host lets them in. The host will not admit anyone who has not been invited. There is also a participants list that can be seen during the call, which is a second check that everyone on the call is expected to be there.

I know that Zoom allows sessions to be recorded. Will the Academy be recording workshops so that they are available for viewing afterwards?

We will not be recording workshops at this stage as there are a number of complex privacy and copyright issues to consider.