Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

Discussions around receiving, originating, and holding Church broadcasts and conferences in meetinghouses including schedules, setup, equipment, and support.
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Mikerowaved
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Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

#1

Post by Mikerowaved »

There are times when a sacrament meeting or stake conference might have a speaker in a remote location, but you wish to avoid potential disruptions/distractions by hosting a Zoom meeting for everyone viewing. In this case, you can hold a Zoom meeting, but only give the credentials needed to join to the remote speaker(s). Within Zoom, you can select to stream the meeting to either Meetinghouse Webcast, YouTube, or other 1-way streaming service for the those wishing to view it.

Note: This requires a paid version of Zoom.
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taylor.meacham
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Re: Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

#2

Post by taylor.meacham »

Ha! I'm a newly called ward tech specialist. At the mere suggestion that we should look into this capability I was told by my stake representative to that we would at least need the area presidency's authorization and probably authorization from the Presiding Bishopric to do it because it wasn't expressly authorized in the recent instructions! My understanding is that we will be using Zoom Webinar, which includes controls to allow remote "panelists" (a role distinct from ordinary webinar viewers) to present. It seems like a great way to potentially involve as many people as possible in sacrament meeting, but it looks like a feature we will pay for and not use.
russellhltn
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Re: Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

#3

Post by russellhltn »

They may want to read the letter dated September 11. It authorizes virtual, in-person, or hybrid. Granted, while it doesn't spell out the specific case of a hybrid presentation (as opposed to a hybrid attendance), I have trouble understanding the issue if holding it completely virtually is authorized. I strongly suspect that come the next stake conference, they'll find this forced on them if they're going to have a "visiting" GA. In that case, they might want to get in a little practice ahead of time.

The concern I'd have is how to handle the remote presentation for the in-person audience without the technology becoming a distraction - which is something the guidelines say to avoid. The other question is if the effort and potential distraction is justified to expand the speakers available. That's going to be a clear "yes" in the case of a visiting authority, but less clear for a local sacrament meeting. That's going to depend on the local situation.

Disclaimer: this is my own non-authoritative opinion. My forum title carries no weight.
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BrianEdwards
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Re: Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

#4

Post by BrianEdwards »

Congrats on the new calling! I think you'll find on the Forum, that different Area Presidencies throughout the USA are coming out (on different timelines) with additional instructions specific to their Areas. Where I live, last week we received updates specific to our Area, and in fact tonight our Stake Presidency is having a Zoom meeting with various leaders where they will discuss updates to our meeting plans amongst other issues. Other places will likely wait a while before receiving additional guidance from their Area/Stake leaders.

One item to note is that in the 9/25 letter, the first paragraph expressly states that "The following guidelines are provided to help local units make decisions about the use of technology for these meetings and activities." My take on that is the Church is allowing for local Stakes and Wards/Branches to determine what is best for their situation, while remaining within the guidelines and proper chain-of-authority decision making. And if Area Presidencies have further guidance, you incorporate that. Hopefully your stake representative and other stake leaders allow for flexibility in what's best for members where you live.
taylor.meacham
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Re: Interactive & Non-Interactive Hybrid

#5

Post by taylor.meacham »

Good points. There is definitely some spot-on language in the letters. That said my stake has largely decided against local unit (ward) control and decision making, instead having stake-wide policies determined by their understanding of the Area Presidency's instructions. So what the instructions from the First Presidency letters of the 11th and 25th actually mean is only determined based on the subsequent instructions from the Area Presidency. Basically, we read the letters from the First Presidency, but can't act on them directly.

We simply cancelled stake conference rather than simply omit the in person component and continue with the broadcasting that we normally do, because they thought we weren't allowed to conduct stake conference remotely. My understanding is that there was a clear carve out for having remote/virtual stake conference where it could be done without significant expense to the members, but I was not a recipient of the original stake conference related instructions, so I could certainly be wrong. As far I as know, there isn't a cost for using the church's webcast system, which is what we've always used in the past. Maybe satellite uplink time is super expensive and they didn't want to consider any other technology. That said, I would have that that would have already been included in the budget since we always do it for stake conference.

I think it a hybrid system with Zoom Webinar can be done fairly easily, requiring checks well before sacrament meeting begins of course, and would likely work well. I'm not sure if the stake has considered having high councilors speak in this manner since our stake is going back to full length sacrament meetings, but this might be a very good approach for that. At this point. I'm planning on trying to magnify my calling once the stake's back is turned. ;-)
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