Everything Else

Transatlantic Talk

I agreed to deliver my first transatlantic lecture. The subject was ‘La Belle Epoque” as part of a longer course about the History of France that the Academy for Lifelong Learning in Toronto is having since last December.

My talk lasted 45 minutes. Frank Nicholson was our host and the one who sent the link inviting us to participate.

I’m an experienced lecturer so it was no trouble to deliver my talk to them what I did not seen coming was the odd feeling of hearing and seeing an applause from the other side of the ocean!

Of course our founders wanted us to go out and mingle with others. That was the main purpose of Pierre Vellas when he founded the first U3A in Toulouse, France, in 1973.

But times are changing rapidly and for those who cannot go out with limited mobility or for those (like my attendees in Canada) who were caught in a snow storm, a virtual lecture is ideal.

I wasn’t prepared also for the cosy feeling doing my job but sitting on my comfortable chair, with my cup of hot coffee, and all my tools were in front of me.

Zoom allows you to share your screen with others, this means that they were following my presentation live and I could see them and they could see me in little windows that you can move around (you can drag them to the side, to the top, to the bottom).

I think it is a great idea and this resource can be used with larger audiences by connecting the computer to a bigger screen.

Behind all this perfection is Frank Nicholson, who arranged several video meetings ahead of the lecture and asked me to be connected 30 minutes before the lecture to check that everything was working. We also asked me to record the same lecture for him (which I did) just in case something went wrong.

As people know, the devil is in the details so I agree with him: in order to have a good performance you have to take care of technology!