Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Discussions around receiving, originating, and holding Church broadcasts and conferences in meetinghouses including schedules, setup, equipment, and support.
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Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby bretbassett » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:49 pm

For those coordinating ward broadcasts, the attached PDF provides some important information on the use of Zoom Webinar verses using the church's webcast system.
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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby lajackson » Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:07 pm

So my wards should all buy HDMI to USB converters and obtain laptops so they will not need to use the Church webcast system?

And all the members are expected to install Zoom on their computers rather than use their browsers so that they can receive sacrament meetings now?

I am okay with saving the Church valuable tithing dollars. The webcast system must be more expensive than we thought. However, this will be difficult for most of our members, especially the not so tech savvy ones.

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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby danpass » Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:17 pm

From the document:
Zoom webinar is a one-way meeting solution that offers the ability to make remote participants interactive if desired. Since this solution is now available to all units, and is on a platform familiar to most members, it is the recommended noninteractive platform for all meetings requiring less than 500 concurrent connections. Units using other platforms, including Meetinghouse Webcast, should begin using Zoom webinar for sacrament and other similar meetings.
The Meetinghouse Webcast platform has been working really well for us. The simplicity of having the same URL for all meetings has been much appreciated by our members. This seems like a step backwards in that regard, unless we can replicate that experience with Zoom webinars.

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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby sbradshaw » Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:37 pm

The Meetinghouse Webcast page (MyWebcast) provides a nice one-stop place for ward members to go, with a link that remains the same, and the ability to control access based on Church Account. That said, I understand some of the benefits that could come with an off-the-shelf solution like Zoom.

If local leaders could post Zoom meeting links on the Meetinghouse Webcast page – not just sacrament meeting links, but second-hour meetings as well – it would allow wards to transition to Zoom as recommended, while furthering the benefits of Meetinghouse Webcast – most important to me, a stable link and controlled access. Has that been considered?
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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:12 pm

Out of curiosity, how well does Zoom webcasting work from a cell phone app? If it would work, that seems like the simplest route as far as hardware.
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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby danpass » Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:20 pm

One big shortcoming of the Meetinghouse Webcast platform is attendance reporting. I would hope that the Zoom Webinar platform is better in that regard.

For instance, can it produce reports of attendees, time and duration of attendance for a given meeting?

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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby shh24 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 5:42 pm

We have been using the Church Webcast System for several months at the suggestion of Church employees with stewardship over the webcast product. I assume that this document indicates a shift in strategy. Stating that we are not to stream Zoom meetings to the webcast system is a significant change from previous practice. Making a shift to webinars as the preferred non-interactive meeting approach is possible, but it does not come without some challenges and complexity. The shift may not occur quickly in many stakes including my own.

A few challenges to consider in this shift:
- Webcast URLs are relatively friendly and easy to remember, Zoom webinar URLs are auto-generated and are not customizable. The webcast approach of a single landing page is excellent, and it would be very nice if a page of this nature could be created that contains the needed Zoom URLs.
- Webinars require the use of the Zoom client while the Webcast system requires a browser. Some members may struggle with client installation and use.
- Webinars offer many interactive features such as chat, raising hands, QA, etc that will need to be carefully configured to prevent their use during a webinar. Some settings (including Chat) are set on an account basis and will need to be turned off prior to the use of a webinar and turned back on again if desired for a meeting.

Overall, the webinar move is reasonable, but it will take time to train both specialists and members on how to use it. What is the expected timeframe?

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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby sbradshaw » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:16 pm

Technically, Zoom can be joined via a web browser – at least a desktop web browser – but they do a good job of hiding the link. In some cases, the link will only appear after downloading the desktop client.
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articl ... Web-Client
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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby swigginton » Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:19 pm

We've been using Zoom Webinar for many months for sacrament meetings and this month's stake conference. It's proven to be an excellent solution for us. Here are some responses to the comments I'm seeing:
lajackson wrote:So my wards should all buy HDMI to USB converters and obtain laptops so they will not need to use the Church webcast system?
You only need the converter if you want to use your existing HDMI camera. They are inexpensive. We (stake) purchased $70 webcams for each building and mounted them on the pulpit microphone booms. Nobody needs to operate the camera. A bishopric member brings a laptop and connects to the existing webcam. It's not difficult at all. Someone else hosts the meeting from a different computer to free up the bishopric.
lajackson wrote:And all the members are expected to install Zoom on their computers rather than use their browsers so that they can receive sacrament meetings now?
Installing Zoom isn't required. You can run it from a web browser. However, the best experience is using the app. We have members (including very non-technical) watching meetings on their phones, tablets, computers, and calling in by telephone, with very few issues.
danpass wrote:The simplicity of having the same URL for all meetings has been much appreciated by our members. This seems like a step backwards in that regard, unless we can replicate that experience with Zoom webinars.
You create Zoom Webinar sacrament meetings as recurring meetings. Each occurrence uses the same link every week.
russellhltn wrote:Out of curiosity, how well does Zoom webcasting work from a cell phone app? If it would work, that seems like the simplest route as far as hardware.
It actually works really well, We have not been able to meet in our buildings since March, so everyone is participating from homes. Many use the mobile phone app to watch and to participate (offer prayers, speak, etc.). It could easily be mounted on a small tripod at the podium.
danpass wrote:One big shortcoming of the Meetinghouse Webcast platform is attendance reporting. I would hope that the Zoom Webinar platform is better in that regard.
For instance, can it produce reports of attendees, time and duration of attendance for a given meeting?
You get an attendance report from Zoom Webinar. It lists the name and email address of each device that joined the meeting, the time they joined/left and duration. Because that's only somewhat useful, we post a poll at the beginning of the broadcast asking how many people are watching. We use the results of that poll to calculate attendance.
shh24 wrote: - Webcast URLs are relatively friendly and easy to remember, Zoom webinar URLs are auto-generated and are not customizable.
True. The Zoom URLs are long and unattractive, especially when they include the embedded password. They can be shared with a simpler embedded URL label ("South Ward Sacrament Meeting Zoom Link") or something similar. You could also use a link shortener like https://bitly.com/
shh24 wrote: - Webinars require the use of the Zoom client while the Webcast system requires a browser. Some members may struggle with client installation and use.
As mentioned above, you can run Zoom from a browser. It just works better in the app.
shh24 wrote: - Webinars offer many interactive features such as chat, raising hands, QA, etc that will need to be carefully configured to prevent their use during a webinar.
Yes, it's definitely good to know and understand those features. We developed training for our ward sacrament meeting hosts and provided a thorough process and checklist to help them. It's very detailed, so looks much more complicated than is actually is. Our ward hosts quickly got the hang of it and are doing well. If you want to take ideas from it, you can find the resources and checklists in this post: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=38242&p=218857#p218857

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Re: Notice to STS - Using Zoom Webinars...

Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:26 pm

swigginton wrote:
russellhltn wrote:Out of curiosity, how well does Zoom webcasting work from a cell phone app? If it would work, that seems like the simplest route as far as hardware.
It actually works really well, We have not been able to meet in our buildings since March, so everyone is participating from homes. Many use the mobile phone app to watch and to participate (offer prayers, speak, etc.). It could easily be mounted on a small tripod at the podium.
What russellhltn is referring to is hosting a meeting using a cellphone app, such as Larix Broadcaster, which we've been using for months live-streaming to the church webcast system.
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