Delivering training through synchronous (real time) sessions by distance is new for UW-Green Bay’s Behavioral Health Training Partnership (BHTP). BHTP is experienced in providing training via in-person and online course formats to human services professionals in 64 counties (and 1 tribe) across Wisconsin. In-person training has been built to use more interactive components (e.g., group activities), and may include expert speakers.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, a BHTP training that has recently moved to synchronous delivery using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is Ethics and Boundaries: Stepping Forward When Colleagues Cross the Line, a four-hour session which was delivered for the first time on April 3, 2020 for approximately 45 participants from remote locations, primarily their homes. Another training, Crisis Services Overview, was delivered for the first time April 7-9 for 25 participants, who accessing the training primarily from their homes. The training, typically delivered as a six-hour one-day workshop, was changed to two-hour synchronous sessions over three days.
Jessica Delzer, Director of BHTP, initially expressed some concern about possible lower feelings of connectedness and interactivity by participants in planning for the new training format. These concerns turned out to be far from a barrier, but rather, became an opportunity to connect in a new way. Participants in the training appreciated the move to the new format, as well as BHTP’s ability to transition to a virtual format seamlessly and without interruption to their work schedule. Participants shared their feedback via course evaluations, and several reached out via email to the BHTP team after the session. One participant wrote:
“I want to let you know how impressed we were with the training itself—presenter and topic—as well as how wonderfully the Blackboard program worked and how quickly you all pulled that together. It truly seemed to go off without a hitch, at least for us watching it on the large video screen, both in the big main group and the individual breakout sessions [in the distance course]!”
Another participant commented that the training “worked beautifully and we were able to even do break-out sessions” via distance.
See a short video clip during one of the trainings.