We’ve received some feedback expressing concerns about an email we sent this morning, promoting our mobile webinar for this Thursday. The webinar, Drupal 8 and Spark Simplify Responsive Design, Mobile, is being co-produced and presented with Acquia, which is providing the speakers and infrastructure that allows us to put on the event.
The webinar is part of a new educational series we are working on, where we create webinar programs in collaboration with Drupal-related organizations, including Drupal Association Supporting Partners as well as individual community members. The webinar program is so new that we are still working out the details, which is why we haven’t shared them with you all yet. With today’s questions, I thought this would be a good time to let you in on what we’ve figured out so far, and where we are headed with the program.
What is the intent of the webinar program?
The webinar program is intended to provide Drupal training between DrupalCons; a series of free educational, Drupal-centric sessions with top experts in the world of Drupal. Just like a DrupalCon track, each webinar will be targeted to a particular segment of the Drupal community, such as developers, builders, themers, or project managers.
It’s never easy to get a new program off the ground. We need content and a webinar infrastructure, and currently we have neither; to move past this, we are working with our Supporting Partners to get the program started.
How are we working with our partners?
One of the key ways we are working with our partners is in borrowing their infrastructure. Webinars can draw large numbers of attendees--Thursday’s webinar had 166 registrations at last count!--which makes a lack of suitable infrastructure a major roadblock to putting on webinar events. The Drupal Association does not have this infrastructure in place--nor a budget allocated for it--so this is one of the ways in which we are calling on committed Drupal businesses to help support our work in growing and educating the Drupal community.
Supporting Partners may also provide speakers for the webinars. While we do not have specific content criteria in place, there is the expectation and requirement that content will be educational and informative in nature, and that speakers will refrain from pitching their organizations’ products and services.
Drupal Association webinars that are co-produced and presented with partners will be moderated by Drupal Association staff.
How did we pick our first presenters?
To get started, we are actively reaching out to Drupal Association Supporting Partners who have a webinar platform. Thursday’s webinar was the first to come together. It is co-produced and presented with Acquia, and features speakers Jesse Beach and Kevin O’Leary, both subject matter experts, who are also team members at Acquia.
You will see that the webinar registration link takes you to an Acquia page. Why? The DA doesn't have a webinar platform yet. We need to build some momentum before we can invest in one. So, we are working with great community members who have a webinar platform already.
We are also asking other Supporting Partners if they have a webinar platform and would like to participate in the program, and may reach out to other great community businesses who can help us road test this webinar series and help get it off the ground. Two other companies have signed on to support webinars this June. We’ll tell you more about them as soon as the details are nailed down.
The ultimate goal is diversity in educational content and creating a following of Drupalers who want to keep learning. We are thankful for our Supporting Partners for being guinea pigs on this new adventure and helping us learn as we go.
Why don’t we have our own webinar platform?
We are researching our options and seeing what the best match is for our content, audience, AND our budget. In the meantime, we don’t want to stop progress (and more training) if others are willing to let us use their platform for now. We anticipate having a webinar platform in place by this summer.
Will the presenting company get to use attendee contact information?
No. One of the first things we established is that registrant contact information belongs with the Drupal Association, not partner organizations. If you register for a Drupal Association webinar hosted by a partner organization, your information is only authorized for use by the Drupal Association, not by event partners.
What future topics will be covered?
You tell us! Very, very soon we will post a call for ideas and proposals to build up a roster of webinars tailored to community interests.
As I noted at the beginning, this program is still in early development. In the coming weeks, we will be establishing formal criteria and processes, and more directly soliciting feedback and volunteers from the community, including:
- ideas and webinar topic proposals
- infrastructure and speaker support from organizations
- questions and concerns
Additionally, two new webinars are under development, tentatively planned for June, and we are aiming to hit a pace of two webinars per month by this autumn.
We appreciate your feedback
I apologize for the confusion and concern this morning’s email may have caused. I hope that sharing what we’ve got so far helps to assuage any concerns people may have about how we are partnering with commercial entities in Drupal. That kind of feedback is very helpful, and I hope that as this program becomes more established, everyone will continue to ask questions and voice their hopes and concerns.
We want this series to be an initiative that brings value to the community, providing both a learning medium for attendees and a channel for broader knowledge sharing by Drupal experts.
Please feel free to share your thoughts here or privately via our contact form.