How to run an online seminar

How to run an online Breed Appreciation Day and Multiple-Choice Breed Standard Exam online

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Code of Best Practice for the Running of a Breed Appreciation Day and Multiple-choice Breed Standard Exam.

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions preventing gatherings this has created a need to review educational elements of judge education, incorporating a move to online forums, to retain interest and to ensure individuals are able to continue with their judge’s education.

The Kennel Club is aware that many breed clubs have adapted to online seminars and successfully undertaken these, however none of these have included an assessment element and while all education is worthwhile, these events have not provided judges with the assessment pass mark required to progress to JEP Level 2.

A successful pilot for a Breed Appreciation Day (BAD) and multiple-choice breed standard exam was held by the Lancashire and Cheshire Dachshund Association in January 2021 and attended by Kennel Club representatives. This event was well received and deemed to be very successful with two thirds of candidates passing the MCE. Feedback from candidates was positive. Candidates found the event educational, without the need for a long drive before and after the event.

The Kennel Club Judges Committee has approved this method of learning in a pilot phase, subject to ratification by the Board. Breed clubs that wish to hold Breed Appreciation Days online may do so with immediate effect. Those clubs undertaking these events may count these as part of the requirement to have involvement in a BAD at least once every two years from 1 January 2021.

The Kennel Club has compiled these guidelines for Breed Education Co-ordinators (BECs) and breed clubs to consider when planning online BADs. This should be read in conjunction with the existing Code of Best Practice for the Running of a Breed Appreciation Day and Multiple Choice Exam which covers the existing guidelines for selecting breed speakers, content of breed talk, and compilation of MCE questions.

If clubs wish to run online BADs with an MCE they are required to complete the standard notification form contained in the Code of Best Practice and submit this to The Kennel Club office in the usual manner. The bank of MCE questions must be logged with us before approval to hold the event can be given.

Platform

There are various different platforms you could set up your seminar on. For example; Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype.

Clubs should investigate issues surrounding potential licences and if these are required to be purchased consider this as an overhead when determining cost of attendance. Clubs may already possess licences for holding committee meetings. The choice of platform will be informed by the expertise of the person organising the event and it is strongly recommended that one individual undertakes the role of designated IT support. The Kennel Club is unable to provide technical guidance on the IT platforms.

If you do require technical support on setting up these platforms, please see the individual websites which contain useful guides on how to set these up:

The strongly recommended platform for staging the MCE is Microsoft Forms, which allows questions to be pre-programmed and released to candidates at the appropriate time. Learn more about Microsoft Forms.

Advertising

Once you have arranged your seminar you should notify us and we will include your date and contact information on the online seminar diary and within The Kennel Club Journal. Clubs may wish to consider promoting online BADs via social media, breed notes and club websites.

Cost

It is recommended that the charge for candidates is realistic, taking into account that the overheads for stating online events are considerably less than ‘in person’ with venue hire and catering.

Number of participants

Limiting the number of participants may be necessary to ensure there is enough time for questions to be asked and to minimise any potential technological difficulties caused by large groups of attendees. Clubs should apply a common sense approach to this and ensure that, as far as reasonably possible, the event is open to all. Consideration must also be given to effective online invigilation of the MCE.

Breed speakers

Organisers should ensure that the chosen speaker is comfortable with the online format, and able to produce a PowerPoint or similar presentation, and has the facility to demonstrate with dogs is required. Learn more on how to create a PowerPoint.

Rehearsal

It is strongly recommended that all speakers and invigilators are involved in a rehearsal prior to the actual event to ensure that any issues with technology and connectivity are resolved and all are aware of their roles. Particular attention should be drawn to the layout of the platform and how to ‘share’ screens and PowerPoint presentations etc.

Movement videos are useful, and can be embedded into a presentation. This needs to be trialled in advance. Learn more on how to add a video to your PowerPoint.

Where some dogs are to be used to demonstrate certain features the rehearsal will help with how this is performed, informing camera positions and how dogs are set up. Welfare considerations for dogs must be taken into account.

It is also beneficial to offer candidates a ‘test’ session to ensure they are able to access the platform on the day of the BAD to ensure any issues are resolved prior to the day. To reduce workload, it is suggested that a designated time is offered for those wishing to trial connection to avoid ad hoc requests by individual candidates. This opportunity can also be used to check that the platform being used for the MCE is suitable.

Structure of the event

The structure of the seminar is at the discretion of the organisers however it is recommended that a PowerPoint is used, together with images and videos to display movement.

Comfort and refreshment breaks should be included as with a face-to-face BAD including between the end of the seminar and the MCE. It is recommended that these are relatively short to ensure all candidates return to their devices promptly to avoid delays.

Questions from candidates are to be encouraged, and the process for doing this needs to be considered, potentially using a ‘chat’ function which is available on most online platforms.

The use of ‘live’ dogs is to be encouraged and the dog should be positioned on camera to display particular points. In the case of larger breeds this may prove difficult, whereas ‘table dogs’ can be used to better advantage. It may be beneficial to procedure film footage prior to the event to illustrate particular points.

As candidates will not have the opportunity for hands-on assessment, BECs should be mindful of this and when mentoring sessions are requested, emphasise the need for Mentors to arrange for Mentees to be able to ‘go over’ dogs during these sessions.

Duration

Due to the constraints of moving a BAD online and the inability to organise any hands-on aspect, the duration of the event is likely to be less than for a standard BAD and clubs should consider the number of breed speakers required and ensure a good balance between a detailed presentation and retaining the audience’s attention. If more than one speaker is to be used, each speaker should be aware of their particular topic to ensure there is no repetition and that all areas are covered.

On the day

It is advisable to allow additional time for participants to join the event and ensure all are aware of how to operate the hosting platform.

The organiser should run through ‘housekeeping’ issues such as requesting participants are ‘muted’ at all times unless they are speaking, how to ask questions via the platform, in addition to a timetable for the event.

Multiple-choice exam

In case of technology issues whereby candidates cannot access the MCE, it is advisable to have a ‘back up’ MCE that can be used in another session, to prevent the whole group of candidates having to wait for one candidate to gain access to the MCE. BECs can assist in this with formulating two different exam papers, which can also be utilised for future events. Organisers should ensure that the link to the MCE is deactivated once all candidates have submitted their answers.

Consideration needs to be given to candidates who may require assistance to undertake the MCE. If candidates require a scribe or reader, resources should be dedicated to this and appropriate personnel allocated to read questions allowed and mark answers given by the candidate in a separate ‘meeting’ from other candidates. Candidates requiring this option should it known to the organisers when expressing interest in attending.

Invigilating

Organisers should ensure that there are at least two invigilators and it is advisable that such individuals do not have a connection to any candidates sitting the MCE.

Candidates taking the exam must have access to a web camera which must be switched on during the MCE. Organisers can consider requesting that candidates have a second device, which can be seen by the invigilators, upon which to answer the MCE questions. This will ensure that exam conditions are followed. From previous experience, it should be noted that watching a candidate’s body language and the focus of their eyes will give a good view as to whether they are undertaking the exam without assistance.

It is to be assumed that all judges and aspiring judges would have integrity to undertake judging appointments and therefore this would be extended to sitting the MCE.

The time allowance for the MCE is generous and if all candidates have submitted their answers they are able to ‘leave’ at the organiser’s discretion once they have submitted their answers. If all candidates complete the assessment before the allotted time then the assessment should be concluded.

MCE Feedback

Microsoft Forms will ‘mark’ the paper once submitted. It is therefore recommended that the organiser review if any questions are being answered incorrectly by a significant number of candidates and feedback given to candidates and the BEC. Learn more about checking results of completed forms.

Candidate feedback

Microsoft Forms can also be utilised to formulate an anonymous candidate feedback form for candidates to complete following the event. Please refer to the Code of Best Practice for a template feedback form.

Certificates

As with a standard BAD, candidates must be issued with certificates of attendance and a pass certificate (if appropriate), ideally on the same day.

Spot checks

We may request that a staff member, Judges Committee member, Training Board or Accredited Trainer attends the event in an observational capacity.

It is hoped that clubs who feel able to hold online BADs with MCEs will embrace this new method of working to ensure that the education of their breed’s judges is furthered and supported through this new platform. There is a need to engage with judges and ensure that new judges continue to be developed.