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In October 2006, we made history by conducting the very first ever, fully interactive, hands-on hypnosis certification course. Then, it was our Week of Power Advanced Hypnotherapy Certification Course with 5-PATH® and 7th Path Self-Hypnosis®. At that time, we had a classroom filled with onsite students and two offsite students who received the audio and video over the Internet.
Today on July 20th, 2007, we make history again, as we complete the very first National Guild of Hypnotists Certification Course (with 5-PATH® and 7th Path Self-Hypnosis®) with students both in the classroom and offsite taking the course over the Internet.
Below is a photo of the students who graduated from this class. Inserted in the photo of the onsite students are photos of the students who took the course online as they appeared to the technicians on the computer screen.
When I set this up with the NGH, we agreed with the leadership that it was very important that the students who take the course over the Internet receive the same high quality training as those who are taking the course in the classroom onsite, while at the same time, it was very important that the students who were in the class did not have the quality of their experience diminished by having the online students participate in the training program along with them. If that could not be done, it was doubtful that training of this kind should be done at all. With that in mind, utilizing the training and experience of our staff we proceeded, and because of some very careful planning, and safeguards, we succeeded.
Let me share with you what that entailed:
2 Internet connections: the primary being cable, and the secondary being DSL (Digital Subscribers Line) with an automatic switching device that would automatically switch from the cable broadband connection to the DSL if the primary Internet connection failed.
2 virtual classrooms and three dedicated computers; the primary software package is run by two dedicated computers, and a secondary computer runs another virtual classroom software package in case one or more of the offsite student’s computers experience compatibility problems with any of the offsite student’s computers.
1 digital projector that would allow both the onsite and offsite students to simultaneously view videos of sessions or techniques show to the class.
2 webcams mounted on the ceiling of the classroom set up to broadcast classes over the Internet (1 pointed at me at the lectern, and another calibrated to view the whiteboard), plus an additional webcam set up as a backup if needed to work with the secondary virtual classroom package. Finally, there was a fourth wireless webcam that was used to take the offsite students on a tour of the Banyan Hypnosis Center for Training & Services, Inc. which was enjoyed by all of the onsite students. It could be used any time that the class went outside of the dedicated classroom.
1 wireless microphone: In addition to the microphones in the webcams there was also a dedicated wireless microphone used by me as I conducted the course. This microphone was then placed through a multi-channel audio mixer, and the output was then sent to the computers and over the Internet.
1 digital audio recorder: Just to be on the safe side, we made digital audio recordings of the class in case one of our off site students had computer problems or Internet connection problems (on their side, such as their losing an Internet connection at their location). In that case we could email them a recording of any part of the course that he or she may have missed while they were offline. (This was useful when one of our students who was retaking the class online and who lives in Singapore missed part of the course.)
3 technicians to set up and run the system: If the instructor attempted to run the equipment required to bring the course to the offsite students that would greatly decrease the quality of the class for both the offsite and onsite students. So, it is very important that this equipment be set up and operated by technical staff. This staff must be able to setup, operate and trouble-shoot any problems that come up in a timely manner, so as to not distract the instructor or onsite students. In addition, these technicians serve as engineers switching between the microphone of the instructor and the microphones used by the offsite students as they ask questions (in real time) or otherwise interact with the instructor and the other students in the physical classroom.
1 telephone system with a speaker or earphone attachment to serve as a backup in case the audio had difficulties during the program. This came into use when one of the offsite students who was participating from his home in Mexico had some computer problems and needed to communicate via telephone during the scheduled practice time with the instructor or GTA. Each offsite student was required to do the same hands-on components of the training as the onsite students, which included practicing inductions, overt and covert depth testing, and age regression practice. And, just like the onsite students received supervision during these practice sessions. So to, were the offsite students able to demonstrate their abilities learned to the instructor, as well as being coached by assisting Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). This ensured that the offsite students were gaining the same level of mastery of the techniques as the onsite students.
1 extra virtual seat in the classroom so that designated NGH representitives could look in on the class if they wanted to for evaluation purposes, providing the ability to have a kind of quality control that is truly rare.
So far, the feedback has been wonderful and the experience is exciting for everyone involved. In this class we had 16 onsite students, 2 offsite students (1 in Ohio and 1 in Mexico), as well as 2 students who were retaking the class (1 in Singapore and 1 in Texas). It really is quite an experience teaching a class like that, especially when both the onsite and offsite students all start conversing on a particular hypnosis related topic in real time from all over the world like that! I am truly honored to have been a part of this history making event in the profession of hypnosis.
I want to send a special note of thanks to Dr. Dwight Damon, the President of the NGH who allowed me to conduct this history making course. I hope that they will continue to allow me to train and certify hypnotists in this manner. I hope they will review the feedback and find the program to be acceptable so that we can continue, and perhaps others will be able to conduct these onsite/offsite Internet-enabled certification courses.
Where do we go from here? I expect that in the future this will become more and more of the norm, although not immediately because of the expense of setup and the technology required to setup and run such a system. Perhaps in the not too distant future, hotels or other locations may provide the classroom and technicians like ours for hire!
I expect that someday students (in every profession) will actually become accustomed to having the ability to choose to take their certification (and other) courses by coming to an onsite classroom, or instead choosing the money saving option of taking the class over the Internet in the comfort of their own homes or offices.
This is a huge savings on the part of the offsite students in many cases. When you take the course online you do not have to spend money on travel, nor take the time to travel, or spend money eating in expensive restaurants, and so on. Also, for many people they simply cannot leave their home or office to study because of certain responsibilities or handicaps.
Cautions: It is very important that hypnosis instructors do not attempt to conduct training over the Internet unless they have the systems I have listed above in place. It is vitally important that the offsite students receive the same quality of training as the onsite students. It is also important that an instructor does not attempt to manage the equipment and conduct and the class at the same time, doing so would degrigate the experience for both the offsite and onsite students. And, finally it is very important that backup systems be in place. The most important being: a secondary connection to the Internet that comes from a different source. For example, two cable or two DSL Internet connections would not suffice because if one connection went down so would the other one. Also back up computers, microphones webcams and so on are vitally important. However, one of the most important considerations is that you need to have is a minimum of two technicians. It is far too likely that over the period required to teach a one hundred hour plus course that your tech may become ill, or otherwise unable to run your equipment. So even if he or she is held up by traffic that means everyone is held up. “The show must go on” as they say, and if your only technician became unavailable, it would be a disaster for all of your offsite students.
Banyan Hypnosis Center for Training and Services, Inc. Technical Staff
Left To Right: Cal Banyan (Trainer and CEO), Danny St.Claire (Assistant Tech Support), John Paul Rawlins (IT/Web Manager), Nina Williams (Assistant Web Manager)
If you would be interested in taking one of our courses taught either by myself or one of our guest instructors (i.e., the upcoming UltraDepth® course to be taught by James Ramey) check out this page where we have our upcoming course schedule. Also, remember to check our website to learn about requirements for taking our courses online. And, if you decide taking the course online is not for you, that’s just fine with us. We have seats available for those of you who want to take the course the old fashioned way, onsite.
See you in class!