After a lot of preparation and sometimes a bit of fiddling, the time has come. In the last couple of weeks Wendy Luiten was practicing her first remote Cooling of Electronics training with her cat Okkie as the first participant. “Of course I’m regularly in team meetings but providing a training is something else”. As of today the online edition starts.

Credits: Martine Raaijmakers

Wendy already gained experience with online training two days after the lock down. “I heard on Tuesday at 8 a.m. that Philips employees had to work from home. On Thursday was the last day of the already running Green Belt training at Philips. So we immediately switched to online on  Teams. At that time I had two advantages: I knew the students and they were used to online meetings via Teams”.

This week is different. The eight participants of “Electronics cooling thermal design” don’t know each other and some of them didn’t use Teams before.

'It's a trial run, there are always areas for improvement, and you won't find out until you try.'

Wendy’s unconcerned about potential problems. She sees tooling and in particular Microsoft’s applications as a natural phenomenon. “It is working and then we’re happy, sometimes it is not working” she says. “In my experience, the ancestor Skype always worked. Teams is more recent, but meanwhile widely deployed everywhere. In the US there are clusters of universities and schools on the educational version. I have no reason to believe that it will cause problems this week. It’s a trial run, there are always areas for improvement, and you won’t find out until you try.

In order to make the material suitable for online modules, Wendy went through all files again. The slides, the practice exercises, the case study. “From a distance, the storyline and story telling becomes more important, because you can’t see exactly how the material lands,” she says. Incidentally, Wendy isn’t going to use the special version of Teams for Education. “That doesn’t add any value for me or the participants. With the educational version, people get an email address and access to share-point, among other things. Students then have to work with user aliases and so on. This puts a burden on IT that you don’t want for a few days of training”.

Credits: Martine Raaijmakers

About the preparation of the participants: High Tech Institute’s partner for electronics courses Hans Vink personally approached all cooling participants three weeks ago. After all, everyone knows the hassle when you end up in a new video conferencing environment with a group for the first time. Do you see me! How do I mute my microphone? These kinds of things. Hans wanted to avoid that at the Team sessions. By the way, we looked at a whole bunch of potential video tools with the High Tech Institute team, but more about that later.

For some clients, Teams is the standard application for meetings, but for others it’s not , so they participate via their web browser. Hans asked all participants whether or not they use Teams and then did a test session with everyone via app or browser to check the settings and to see if all facilities work as needed in the course.

All preparations – don’t hesitate to say: also a lot of extra work – now provide an up beat vibe. Based on the feedback, Hans expects that we will be able to organise online courses every year, as well as the classroom course. “That wouldn’t surprise me”, he says, “We already have sufficient participants for the classroom course in mid-November”.

With that, Wendy’s satisfied too. She regularly receives training requests from all over the world. Offering online modules lowers the threshold to train technology professionals from for example Silicon Valley or India.

This blog is part of a series in which we share our first experiences with online training. 

This article is written by René Raaijmakers, tech editor of Bits&Chips.

Recommendation by former participants

By the end of the training participants are asked to fill out an evaluation form. To the question: 'Would you recommend this training to others?' they responded with a 8.9 out of 10.

High Tech Institute organizes Wendy's online module once or twice a year.