Chapter 5: Entering the Chamber

The Great Rollout Arrives!

Trumpets loudly proclaim the arrival of the great rollout across the land in my kingdom of District 73. The people have been eagerly awaiting this day. There is rejoicing in the village streets of Riverina, Indigo and Hume. December 6 will be remembered as a great day – the day we crossed the ‘information gap’ and were permitted to enter the sacred chamber of Base Camp.

10 paths in chamberWritings on the walls in Outland flourished as my fellow Pathways warriors visited the chamber and gazed in awe at the ten shining paths displayed there, each with its own colorful banner and avatar. The Path avatars were working hard to attract our attention, polling our choices, spruiking their benefits and highlighting their specialities,  like hawkers at the twilight markets in Outland. Wonder where the avatars are? I could not see anyone else in here with me.

However, back in Outland, messages began to fly around the community, hailing the start of this or that Path, shouts of ‘Eureka’ I have finished a project or asking questions as they completed their projects in Level 1.

‘How do I move to the next project? How do I collect the Evaluation resources? Do I need to alert the Base Camp Managers of my project completions? Where and how do I store my Evaluations? Can I print my projects? What do these terms mean – activate, open curriculum, launch, mark complete? How do I complete a Level?

The rollout was certainly causing waves of curiosity in Outland – not quite the tsunami of enthusiasm I had expected, but pleasing nevertheless.  There was now time to take a break from the hubbub surrounding the rollout and get down to the basics of navigating in the wondrous chamber of Base Camp.

Opening the Sacred Chamber!

Tardis-interiorMy excitement was building as I began my explorations of Base Camp – I planned to document my navigation and provide some maps for others to follow. My ability to capture a screen as I worked was invaluable. I added all these to my trusty ‘slides’.

I heard someone describe the chamber as being like a ‘Tardis’ much bigger on the inside that you could imagine from looking from the outside. This was an apt description – there was so much more for me to view now that I finally entered.

First I made my way to the great Hall of Transcripts, exploring, harvesting, noting and learning all the way. I was eager to see what was different after rollout. Now the Transcript made sense to me as I could see my chosen Path glittering like a beacon for me – just one click away. This would be my go to place for many weeks! Must stay one step ahead of my followers and ensure that I understand the process to coach others.

Once I learned the meanings of the terminology, such as Activate, Open Curriculum, and Launch, I fearlessly clicked on these curious icons.

Was there a slight of hand there? I wondered, as I noted that some of the icons often had different words on them, depending on what I had just done. Must watch out for these shape shifting icons.

Exploring Hidden Rooms!

take a tour.pngI entered through the Blue Tile called My Education Transcript.

I realised that I had been transported directly into the ‘hidden rooms’ within the sacred chamber by those keystrokes and was now interacting directly with Base Camp. The Tardis like interior was not only bigger in size, but it was taller than I ever imagined. I could see the other Levels 2-5 towering above me but could not yet reach them.

“Patience! All will be revealed in a sequential manner!” Said the Guardians of Base Camp in our weekly gatherings in the Atrium. That’s easier said than done, I thought to myself.

First I needed to view my Path and locate the ‘elevators’ to all 5 levels.

I wondered where the Gods of CSOD were lurking as I  delved deeper into my tools of learning. Someone had said that my progress would be automatically tracked. I was constantly looking over my shoulder.

Various gadgets and widgets surrounded me in my Path and they changed each time I finished something. Small indicators showed my progress! Aha, now I know I am being tracked. It was curious to see that more and more hidden rooms came into view as I progressed from one level to another.

Second I needed to master the navigation of an online class – the major ‘popup’ that occurred as I pressed launch on my chosen Path. Thank goodness the great God GoogleChrome allowed my device to activate these popups! This process enabled me to understand the navigation in here – it was like taking a book from a library shelf, opening it, scanning its index, then opening to a specific page and walking into it – except all of this was happening on the screen in front of me with a few easy keystrokes from my trusty laptop.

The online classes led me to resources, checklists, evaluations, and a special printing room where I could print anything I wanted. Magic!

online class

Third, I learned the importance of the navigational tools in online classes. For instance, if I did not widen this popup window sufficiently, I did not see the arrows on the left and right sides of each page. These were vital to my progress.

I learned that I could ‘jump’ to another page in the online class using the navigational tools at the bottom.

This was just the beginning of my explorations of the Sacred Chamber and the Hidden Rooms, and I was hooked!

Segue to Chapter 6: Finding the Magic Elixir!





Chapter 4: Approaching the Sacred Chamber

Beyond the Information Gap!

island of californiaMeanwhile, in the kingdom of ‘far, far away’ other Pathways warriors had already completed their journeys and were finally able to see what it was like on the other side of the ‘information gap’. They had weathered their stormy seas and arrived on the shores of Base Camp Land. Stories of their travels were few and far between, there was still an air of secrecy and trepidation. Suddenly, words of wisdom from the kingdom of District 57 on the island of California, began to filter through, and we were once again enlightened and encouraged. King George was leading the warriors and making sure that others could follow and learn from the experiences of the ‘first footers’ during the big ‘rollout’.

Nomads pursue the Rollout!

inner sanctum 1More and more Pathways pioneers, a new breed of early adopters, sprang up, writing messages of hope on the walls of the communities in Outland. These were members of strong and fearless tribes, travelling the far reaches of the globe – eager to explore the sacred chambers of Base Camp Land.

They had found a new way to enter the land and transport themselves, virtually, to kingdoms where the ‘rollout’ had begun. The people of these kingdoms welcomed the new breed enthusiastically. They were intrigued with the tales of adventure from these nomadic visitors and exchanged many cultural stories.

There were many new nomads following in their footsteps – they too were impatient to walk the hallowed Halls of Transcript in the sacred chamber. Not much is known of the exploits of these ‘eager followers’ for their written journals have yet to be revealed. However we are able to locate some tales of their journeys written on the walls in Outland.

  • King Brian, of the kingdom District 21, is exploring the many ways in which he can spread the knowledge of the sacred chambers for brand new explorers.
  • Queen Mathilde and Queen Michelle are leaping over the Information Gap to the kingdom of District 75 from the lesser known kingdom of District U, a floating world partly hidden in the clouds.

The walls in Outland were beginning to show the summaries of places visited and the stories of their findings. There will be more of this to come, when more early adopters discover the ‘Tablet of Truth’ about Writing a Compelling Blog.

Perhaps some of them will follow me!

The Guardians Speak!

The time of the great ‘rollout’ was approaching my kingdom of District 73 and I trooped over to the kingdom of WHQ to hear the great Guardians of the Base Camp speak about the sacred chamber in detail. Their wisdom, understanding and consistent teachings were not to be missed.

Many of my fellow Pathways warriors were there virtually – shadowy figures lurking behind the tapestries in the GTW Atrium. We could not see the Guardians but we heard their messages.

The voices of the Guardians were strong and clear.

“We are hear to guide you and keep you on the path. There is much to learn so listen carefully! Please send in your questions via the Feedback Forum or write your questions in the Atrium chat room.”

holy-grail chapelAs I listened my knowledge grew and I became calmer – the sacred chamber is not so scary, I can do this. I learned what I needed to do in the Hall of Transcript and how my navigation and learning would be tracked by the Gods of CSOD. The chamber looked more and more like a labyrinth and my job was to learn to walk the path in the correct order in order to reach the ‘Holy Grail’.

Meanwhile I was still continuing my travels across the vast lands of Hume, Indigo and Riverina and building my rapport with the peoples of the kingdoms there. I had been telling them about the coming of the ‘great rollout’ and they were excited.

Segue to Chapter 5: Entering the Sacred Chamber!



Chapter 3: Tests and Allies

In a remote corner of North East Outland I gathered my itinerary and map and proceeded to plan my visits and presentations to the kingdoms. Was I ready for this?

First Test: Plotting a Course

I was daunted by the enormous space I had to traverse to reach the kingdoms.

“What had I signed up for”, I wondered. “I hope there are no dragons to slay in my journey.”

here there be dragons 1It became crystal clear to me that a plan was required.

The ideal plan was to make my visits coincide with the regular meetings of the councils in each kingdom. I needed to know where and when they meet, and which kings and queens to contact before plotting a course. My PQD Captains became my allies – they each sent me lists of the Kings and Queens and the location of each kingdom.

My concern was that I had nine kingdoms to visit within the two months of October and November, 2017. How could I possibly manage this?  Only thing to do was to make a list and work out the logistics of travel.

Shepparton  – 1st & 3rd Tuesday evenings – 2 hour journey, requiring overnight stay
Thurgoona  – 1st & 3rd Wednesday evenings – 30 minute journey
Albury-Wodonga – 1st & 3rd Tuesday evenings – 15 minute journey
Bendigo  – 1st & 3rd Monday evenings – 4 hour journey, requiring overnight stay
Wagga Wagga – 1st & 3rd Tuesday evenings – 2 hour journey, requiring overnight stay
Griffith – 2nd & 4th Tuesday evenings – 4 hour journey, requiring overnight stay
Indigo Valley – 1st & 3rd Wednesday evenings – 15 minute journey
Tumut – 2nd & 4th Monday evenings – 3 hour journey, requiring overnight stay
Wangaratta – 2nd & 4th Monday evenings – 1 hour journey

“Oh my stars that’s my Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tied up for the next two months.” I murmured to myself.

I envied the kingdom assignments of some of my fellow Pathways warriors – they had less travelling to do than I. The good part was that I knew the people of most of these kingdoms – this was a huge relief. I was also confident that there were no hostile tribes to deal with, I could leave my sword at home.

Second Test: Scheduling the Presentations

Luckily I was successful with dates chosen in each of the kingdoms. The Kings and Queens were eager to comply. Then when I asked for one hour to present an overview of Pathways – there was an audible intake of breath and then relief when each one was happy to add me to their meeting agendas.

Note: By about half way through my visits and presentations I had adjusted the content and reduced the time required to 2 by 20 minute segments. This allowed more time for a facilitated Q & A, involving everyone.

Participants in each workshop were asked to provide a set of Q & A in writing for me to take to the Guardians at Base Camp Land. This set up a dialogue between us that helped to maintain a relationship of sorts. They became my allies, providing me with ammunition for my forays with the Guardians. They also knew that I was limited in my knowledge for I had yet to cross the great gulf, the Information Gap, and enter the sacred chamber. I however, felt inadequate, unable to be the ‘font of all knowledge’ about Pathways. I needed to learn and practice.

Most of this learning and networking was achieved in September. More allies appeared in the Facebook lounge of the Region 12’s and together we discussed the pros and cons of our delivery styles and the potential impact upon the kingdoms.

From time to time the Captain PQDs gave us encouragement and further enlightenment on the progress of all the Pathways warriors – this kept us focussed and committed to the tasks. Another ally came bounding in like the cavalry, Queen Jan, Chief Ambassador from the kingdom of District 70. Her posts and letters were brilliant – we were getting the word from the Guardians of Base Camp through her consistent communications.

Third Test: Preparing to Present

A presentation had been prepared by the Guardians of Base Camp Land and I had to master the script and content for an effortless information session. That was my next conundrum – I knew I could not remember word for word this massive script. I did not want to read as I showed the slides, that would certainly bore them to sobs. Therefore I needed some trigger points within the slides as memory joggers for what I was to explain and explore.

Dividing it into four 10 minute segments, each with their own focus and time for Q & A, was the best way to handle this. Knowing that there would be questions for each segment, I also needed to familiarise myself with the Master Q & A Log each week. This strange amorphous document kept changing and growing as more and more Pathways warriors sent in their questions from the kingdoms.

I got prepared! Many hours were spent in learning how to navigate in Base Camp Land and many more spent scanning the various Tablets of Truth available in the Great Library. In the Hall of Transcripts I located my personal itinerary for passing my test and gaining wisdom of Pathways.

Networking with my new allies across the other side of the Information Gap became a frequent activity – I learned how to ask others to reveal the secrets of the sacred chamber.

The tasks were carefully laid out by the Guardians of Base Camp and gradually I learned their language and how to succeed. I traversed the Blue Tiles; entered the Hall of Transcripts and visited the Feedback Forum. I practiced uploading my files to the Eportfolio and I peered longingly at the Badges displayed for good work in the field.

I was ready!

Milestones Reached!

I traveled the countryside just like a crusader, and successfully brought wisdom to the kingdoms. But I traveled without an army and without my sword. I did not have the luxury of a Pathways Ambassador to help me with these visits; I was alone in this quest.

My crusades were quite daunting at times, especially when the people of the kingdom were reluctant to see the virtues of the Pathways program from my brief descriptions. If only I had been able to enter the sacred chamber of Base Camp Land BEFORE I set off to convert the masses; I would have been an enlightened crusader, rather than a mere harbinger of change.

An enthusiastic attitude was my biggest ally in this challenging part of my adventure.

Segue to Chapter 4: Approaching the Sacred Chamber

Chapter 2: Enlightenment

Meeting more Mentors

BASE CAMP GETTING STARTEDThe vision beyond the gateway to Base Camp was seductive, I could see the Pathways Pioneers navigating their way along different Paths. Occasionally they would stop to rest and reflect and leave messages – displayed for us on the shared walls of Social Media and Blog worlds – telling their stories and shining a light from their pathways. One such shining light, Queen Julie of the kingdom District 91, was becoming very popular in her blogspot and I became a follower.

A blog follower is one who seeks enlightenment by visiting and reviewing the blog posts of another. It is a common practice for Outlanders.

blog from julieI reviewed a plethora of information and stories of Queen Julie’s experiences in her Paths and was encouraged. I thought that she could be the one to bring enlightenment into Base Camp for me. Queen Julie’s pioneering had become legendary as she hopped from one kingdom to another to practice her skills and activities from her Paths. (Note: In her own kingdom, Pathways was not yet enabled.)

Queen Julie became my mentor and I her protege – a process that I would advocate for other PG warriors. Find another who has been a Pioneer in kingdoms of ‘far, far away’, and together you could provide words of wisdom for others on board the Pathways Treader.

Bringing Queen Julie’s words of wisdom to my fearless band of warriors in the kingdom of District 73, gave us hope – she opened up the inner chambers of the Base Camp so that we could ‘see’. Visions of the Paths and Levels and inner chambers accessible from Base Camp were like lanterns in the dark, lighting our way into strange and foreign lands.

Rhindon sword of king peterLater: Queen Julie’s continued enlightenment for me, as an avid Blogger, helped me to write on the walls of this Blog. My mission was to provide further enlightenment for the PG warriors who came after me. Just like Queen Julie I had found the ‘mighty sword‘ – an ideal way to communicate to the Outlanders. (those not yet Pathways enabled.)

In this case, the ‘wall‘ is mightier than the sword! Here begins the writing of my voyage as a Pathways Warrior.

Call to Action

I had crossed the threshold into a strange, new world! A new adventure back to Outland was pending. Along the way I met with others who gave guidance and enlightenment. I met three kings from ‘far, far away’ – King Mark of District 69; King George of District 57 and King Kevin of District 72. These kings were already skilled in the navigation of Pathways. As seasoned pioneers, they had weathered the stormy seas across the information gap, and entered the inner chambers of Base Camp. King Mark provided some excellent guidelines for me as a Pathways warrior. King Kevin became an ally, a pioneer who had successful navigated the Path that I was keen to follow.

King George became my hero, although he did not know it at the time, and his writings on the wall at District 57  were the lessons I could follow for even greater enlightenment.

google earth my kingdomMy adventures were about to escalate! Each one of the PG warriors were called up on deck as their assignments were given out. Specific remote kingdoms were assigned to me by my PQD Captains. Back in my cabin, I pored over the maps – my kingdoms were spread across the Valleys of the Riverina, Indigo and Hume, in remote corners of North East Outland. Vast areas of travel! My task was to meet the kings and queens of each kingdom and help them spread enlightenment to their people. The map became a portal!

I could feel a tingle in my toes as I was transported to my kingdoms in Outland!

I was eager to begin!

Segue to Chapter 3: Tests and Allies

Continue reading Chapter 2: Enlightenment

Voyage of a Pathways Guide

Chapter 1: Call to Adventure

VDT ship view 001

Entry to this wondrous world of Pathways was like being catapulted straight into the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Everything was new and strange! The prickling at the back of my neck told me I was about to start on another fine adventure.

I stepped on board the Pathways Treader and prepared myself for a long voyage across the high seas of excitement, intrigue and wonder. Around me I could see crowds of other Pathways Guides looking just as bewildered as me. Getting my sea legs and settling my nerves I went immediately to the Captain’s cabin for instruction.

Feeling a little bold, I suggested to the PQDs that we the crew, (the PGs) needed to bond. “Could we please have a special place where we could meet online?” I asked cautiously.

Next thing I knew I was in the Facebook lounge of the Region 12’s, floating off the starboard side of the Pathways Treader. More and more PGs were gathering there and networking with one another. Invitations were swiftly distributed among the 125 Pathways Guides and Ambassadors from Districts in Australia and New Zealand.

At times in this adventure things moved at warp speed.

Meeting the Mentor(s)

Back in the Captain’s Cabin, Captain PQD was there to guide me and to provide me with instructions, advice and encouragement. In my case, there were two Captain PQDs – one for each of my assigned kingdoms for guidance. They were both welcoming and supportive and made sure that I had all that I needed to begin my journey.

I needed an itinerary and I needed to understand what I was supposed to do in the early weeks of exploration.

pathways guide handbook

“First thing to do is get the itinerary (Pathways Guide Handbook) and read it.” they both said in unison.

Both PQDs had a very challenging task ahead of them, managing the PGs and monitoring their tasks, and I could see that we were in good hands. I left them to it.

Back in my own cabin, using the shipboard wi-fi, I navigated my way to My Education Transcript, a separate space in the Gateway to Base Camp. I located my handbook and downloaded.

pg handbook chapters

It took a little quiet time in my own cabin aboard the Pathways Treader to get my head around what was involved.

Now I am good learner and I love learning new things by myself, however, I was beginning to get a little anxious as I understood the enormity of what I had signed up for. I really needed a MAP, but that was not available in these early days, and I was not yet aware of the territory in the land of Base Camp! I did not even understand fully what I was about to discover beyond the gateway to Base Camp! All I had at the beginning were the Tablets of Truth found in the great virtual Library next to Base Camp.

tablets of truth

The Tablets came in different formats, such as downloadable text documents and project descriptions, evaluation guides, online classes and videos.

I began to collect a few of these to store in my own cache, and then realized, ‘wait a minute’, the great Library was open all hours and I could access any time I wanted.

Many hours reading and viewing were spent in my cabin, whilst still on the high seas, sailing towards the land of Base Camp. Thankfully wi-fi was strong and free on board the Pathways Treader, and it helped to pass the time.

Crossing the first Threshold

In the distance we could see the Gateway to Base Camp floating like a glass castle on the horizon! I learned earlier that it was possible to enter the Gateway by a secret entrance known only to the Pathways Guides. This learning was handed down to us by the great Navigators at WHQ, who were to become our Guiding Lights in the land of Base Camp. They communicated with all the Pathways Guides electronically and frequently. Their messages and webinars helped a great deal to ensure that we were not alone in our journeys and to empower us in ‘crossing the first threshold’.

My trips to the Gateway of Base Camp were frequent and I began to build my confidence, although it still felt a little bit like – “in the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is King”! I was forever gazing at the Gateway and wishing that I could enter the rest of Base Camp just beyond my reach.


Impatient to see beyond what I was permitted to see (because I was not yet initiated into Base Camp properly – rollout for my kingdom was still a long way off) I searched the seas for Pathways Pioneers.

There were whispers among the PGs in the Facebook lounge, legends of an older lady who was blogging about her pioneering in Pathways.

Now this I had to explore!

Segue to Chapter 2: Enlightenment

Pathways Virtual Support Sessions 2018

The Virtual Support Sessions for Base Camp Manager and other interested Toastmasters will continue into 2018. Events are scheduled in the Area 29 Facebook Group – you can RSVP there or send me an email to let me know you’ll be attending.

My brief is to provide a further 10 online webinars during January to March.

Welcome aboard BCMs from :

Albury Wodonga Toastmasters
Bendigo Toastmasters
Indigo Speakers
Wangaratta Toastmasters
Griffith Toastmasters
Thurgoona Toastmasters
Wagga Wagga Toastmasters
Tumut Toastmasters
DSTO Melbourne Toastmasters
Ford Australia Club
Brimbank Toastmasters
Hume Toastmasters Club
Caterpillar of Australia
Essendon Toastmasters Club
North Melbourne
Moonee Ponds Toastmasters Club
Tuesday Chatters

Base Camp Managers of my assigned clubs are welcome to request other sessions to suit their availability during these months. These can be specially modified to include demonstrations and explanations of any Pathways related procedures and can be used to invite other members of their clubs to attend.

Note: I have some time to offer VSS on demand for BCMs in January 2018, enquire within. Dates available include: 10, 12, 14, 17, 20. Times available are between 10 am and 6 pm.

See previous post for first three VSS details.

The next webinar in my Base Camp Explored series is VSS 4: Completing a Level

mountain range header for vss 4

Please subscribe to this blog or join the Area N29 VSS Group in Facebook to keep up-to-date with scheduled sessions.

VSS 4: Completing a Level – 10 am AEDT Saturday, January 13, 2018
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VSS 5 tutorials & resources event header

VSS 5: Deeper Learning in your Path – 6 pm AEDT Friday 19 January 2018
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VSS 6 feedback badges eportfolio header

VSS 6: Feedback, Badges and Eportfolio – 7 pm AEDT Thursday 25 January 2018

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Stage Four: Pathways Support with VSS

During the months of December, January and February, I will be supporting my assigned clubs in their journeys into Pathways with a series of Virtual Support Sessions.

The VSS are all scheduled in my Zoom room and the Events and Links to recordings of each will be posted for my followers in the generic Facebook group I am using for my Area. Feel free to apply to join this group.

The slidedecks that I will use in each VSS will be uploaded immediately after each session to my account at: 

base camp vss 1

Virtual Support Session 2 EVENT header
VSS 3 Its all about Evaluation event header

Here is my December schedule of VSS for your reference! Join me at these times if you like in my Zoom room:

December 7 VSS 1: Base Camp Explored 7:30 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck

December 10 VSS 2: Following Your Path 6:00 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck

December 16 VSS 3: Its all about Evaluation 2:00 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck



Stage Three: Virtual Support Sessions

Reflections of a Pathways Guide

I have been in planning mode for the Virtual Support Sessions!

These are a whole new learning curve for me and for those who attend! I wanted to approach this with all of my knowledge and strategies for preparing the learner for the learning process. It is a journey! The beginnings are an important part of the journey – just as we do for any travel – we gather our maps, prepare out itinerary, and pack our items to take with us. The following is a set of preparation tasks for my journey into VSS!

1. How to prepare for sessions

First, communicate with the Base Camp Managers about their needs for support for themselves and their club members. This can be done immediately after the club visit presentations, or at a scheduled time separate to the visits.

Second, schedule the Virtual Support Sessions with attention to our own time availability, the likely best days and times for attendees, and in a sequential manner. Prepare the schedule and send to the Base Camp Managers.

My VSS schedule is now in place, with capacity for flexibility. Some Base Camp Managers and club members who want to attend will want to know in advance and plan their own availability.

My followup after the club visit presentations has been to email out to the Base Camp Managers in each of the clubs in my Area. This emails contains the invitation to attend, details of online location and support for new users of Zoom, along with instructions on where to find and RSVP to the events in a Facebook Group for the Area.

I prefer to use an existing Facebook group that I setup some years back when I was the Area Director. Many of the Club Base Camp Managers were already members of this group.

I simply added the rest and notified them all by Messenger.

Note: not all are on Facebook, so Google calendars and emails are also necessary for sheduling and notifying.

2. What to include in sessions

I have also begun to map out the content for a series of VSS, that are sequential in content and focus! These are for the moment under the banner of Base Camp Exploration and Base Camp Management!

I am keeping this process flexible and enable ‘user choice’ – I want to ensure that the Base Camp Managers want to attend – being mindful of the What’s In It for Me approach!

Base Camp Exploration is a series of five sessions focused on Base Camp Mastery:

  • Getting Started in Base Camp
  • Gaining Confidence with Education Transcripts
  • Navigating a Path
  • Completing a Level
  • Completing a Path

This segment is intended for their own learning within their chosen path and levels prior to helping others.

Base Camp Management is a series of five sessions focused on Base Camp Management:

  • Base Camp Manager responsibilities overview
  • Evaluations and Eportfolios unpacked
  • Base Camp Dashboards explored
  • Projects and Level Completion verification
  • Materials and Support strategies

This segment is intended as a train the trainer to empower them to help members in their own clubs.

3. How to facilitate the sessions

During the open segment of your VSS, do the following:

  • be the logistics manager and
  • steer attendees through use of on screen tools
    eg chat panel, video, microphone, hand raiser

Some strategies to keep in mind for the actual facilitation within a VSS include attention to engagement for the attendees. These are:

  • Prepare your virtual meeting “room” – have your slides open on the desktop ready to share
  • Keep your participants involved – ask questions of them and pause for their responses
  • Manage common dysfunctions in virtual meetings – ensure that attendees know when and how to use chat panel and microphone (eg: use the tools and permissions afforded to the Host to Mute All)
  • Focus your meeting with virtual engagement strategies – provide stimuli for interactions in voice eg Q & A, Panel Discussions, Round Robins, Table Topics.

4. Follow up process

Each of the VSS will be recorded and links provided in the Facebook group as well as emailed out for others!
Some sets of slides already seen by those club members who were in attendance at club visit presentations, will be narrated and stored in my Slideshare account. Notification of those will be sent out to the Base Camp Managers for sharing with those members who were unable to attend.

You comments are welcomed!

Pathways Express Gathers Steam!

Pathways Guide Reflections

Stage Two: October Presentations

Getting ready to enthuse club members during my assigned club visits about Pathways Experience!

I have considered the audience prior to the visit and found out a little more about who will be there and what their expectations will be. For the most part this has been done through direct contact by phone or in person with executives, and in particular, I asked about what else was happening during their meetings. Knowing where my presentation was to fit within the meeting agenda was important – this varies between clubs – and will help me put the presentation into context. In some situations I will be the only presenter after the club runs its contest, with me as a Judge. In other clubs I am an invited guest to special celebratory function prior to the meeting which involves a meal.

Key learning #1 Set the context for my attendance

I am now considering optional methods of showcasing Base Camp where there is no Internet connection provided – the use of the Quick Guides for each of the Video Tutorials will be useful here. I can show these on screen as PDFs and add the files to the USB that is delivered to the VPE for distribution electronically.  I can help to ‘show’ them the navigational aspects of Base Camp without actually being in Base Camp. This also showcases the Quick Guides as an alternative to the video tutorials – keeping in mind the different learning styles of the club members.

Key Learning #2 Provide flexible resources as take aways

My first presentation provided me with feedback on how to improve my workshop style and in particular how to be ‘more prepared‘ for answering the questions frankly and with confidence. The Master Q & A Log is a key resource for me in this regard, and reading some sections again prior to the presentation can be helpful. The document itself is dynamic and changes with new additional questions and answers as they arise in the Pathways Guides Support Webinars. Therefore I need not rely only on a print based version of the document.

Key Learning #3 Be prepared for the questions from the floor

By restructuring the basic PowerPoint presentation, I was able to divide it into 4 distinct segments: overview, what stays the same, what is different, and WIIFM. I have also built in 4 Q&A activities to mark the transition between the 4 segments.  A final segment is provided to indicate the various ‘support’ resources available to them, especially the information about the Virtual Support Sessions scheduled. I have also injected a little humour into the presentation to lighten the process and make it more enjoyable! More ‘fun’ activities will feature in my later presentations where I have had time to fine tune best practices for these activities.

Key Learning #4 Engage with the audience by creating a fun presentation!

Finally I have made a point of working within Base Camp, using the ePortfolio tool in particular, to store the ‘feedback guides’ from each of my presentations. I needed to find a way to record the anecdotal feedback and store it using the new tools from Base Camp. For the moment, I have chosen the Project called ‘Communicating Change’ from the Mastering Presentations path – a level three project which has an Evaluation Guide closely aligned to my objectives as a PG presenter.

Key Learning #5 Utilize the new tools in Base Camp now to gain confidence in their use

Getting on board the Pathways Express!

Pathways Guide Reflections!

Stage One: September self-paced learning

PG Badge D70

During September I focused on my preparations and learning for my new role as Pathways Guide. Found the process quite time consuming and unnecessarily complex – I do not agree with the enforced step-by-step sequential method of training that is used – it seeks to force the exact same learning process on each Pathways Guide, regardless of their technological or self-directed learning skills. I forged on anyway as a self-directed learner and gained some insights for the task of engaging members of my assigned clubs in the Pathways Education. It felt like I was learning in isolation, but I knew that all other PGs in Region 12 would be doing the same, so I suggested that each District in which my assigned clubs live, provide a social media group for cooperative learning opportunities.

Once I had access to the forum for sharing and networking the process seemed less isolated and I could ask my questions of others who may be a few steps ahead of me.

Key Learning #1:
Provide access to an online community (Facebook Group) for each Area.
Area North 29 already exists as a group – this I setup when I was Area Director.
Action #1: liaise with Area Director to setup a group for Area M 34.

Next I sent my Club Visit Planners to all 9 of my assigned clubs to alert them to my proposed visits and requested a one hour presentation time on their agendas. The dates were carefully aligned to their fortnightly club meetings and to my available time during October and November. With a bit of careful scheduling I realised I could fit one visit in each week. No more than that as my visits involve quite a bit of travel and overnight stays, as many of my assigned clubs are regionally located in Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales. Now I felt a little more in control, as I could schedule and complete this process in my own manner. It was extremely helpful to have the details of club executives sent by the PDQs (Program Quality Directors) from each District. I also valued the pre-contact with clubs in Area M34 made by the Chief Ambassador from District 70 to introduce me.

In my emails to the executives, I also included some early dates for the Virtual Support Sessions that I was to provide for the VPEs in the assigned clubs during my six month project as Pathways Guide. These could begin once the Rollout of Pathways for District 12, happens in December 2017, giving all members access to Base Camp.

Key Learning #2:
Provide a clear communication with the executives to emphasise the importance of the introductory presentations and the follow up support.
Action: Keep copies of emails sent out for reference!

Key Learning #3:
Provide a schedule of virtual support sessions that established a pattern for me and flexibility of dates and times for the VPEs.
Action: Use the Virtual Support Sessions template to list my Zoom sessions.

I completed my Pathways Guide tasks in Base Camp and also reviewed one of the pre-recorded webinars from WHQ on Navigating in a Path – this gave me a more detailed view of what the learners will be expected to do at Base Camp. These recordings are accessible in the Master Q & A Document as links to GoToWebinar sessions conducted by WHQ.

Key Learning #4:
In my opinion these webinar recordings provide added opportunities to move ahead in the PG learning experience, even before Pathways has actually launched. They showcase a presenter navigating through the Paths and Levels, Transcripts and Profiles as a learner in Base Camp.
Action: Plan to incorporate that advice into the Zoom Training for PGs on October 21.

By completing the PG Quiz, I was able to reflect on the learning acquired and apply my new knowledge to answer all questions. A couple of questions gave me pause for thought – and I realised my own need for comprehension of question and need for thorough reading of resources.

I note that there is quite a glossary of new terms for learners to understand in Pathways and I will prepare a print out of those in preparation for my club visits.
When I accessed or ‘launched’ the Glossary I found that it did not include any explanation of this selection of ‘navigation terms’ used throughout the Base Camp.

  • Open Curriculum
  • Activate
  • Launch
  • View Training Details

Key Learning #5:
More anecdotal assistance will be required for clubs to understand the terminology of Pathways. Need to be able to put the terms into context for our presentation audiences.
Action: prepare to utilise some terminology games as part of motivational Base Camp Scavenger Hunts for those who join me in the Virtual Support Sessions.

Currently I am looking at ways to add value to the standard Pathways Presentation by considering the needs of the learners in understanding:

  • terminology,
  • navigation in Base Camp,
  • the differences between Pathways and traditional Toastmasters education,
  • the enhanced sets of 10 learning paths (options), and
  • the requirements for each of the 5 levels (completions).

My preparation for the Presentations will include practice with the slides and scripts, as well as attention to structuring the one hour training for maximising impact and enabling retention through participatory activities. For example chunking the presentation into 4 x 15 minute segments with activities in each.

  1. Slideset 1 pages 1-15 – provide the rationale and background to the change to Pathways
  2. Slideset 1 pages 16-27 – provide the overview of what Pathways is and includes reference to the changes in Evaluation resources and encouragement to pursue the Pathways Mentor program
  3. Slideset 2 pages 1-20 – provide an overview of getting started with login, navigator resource, choices of paths, and self-assessment process for Recommended paths.
  4. Slideset 2 pages 21-30 focusses on what changes and what stays the same for Meetings and DCP; as well as the local support team

Key Learning #6:
There is too much content in the presentation to provide comfortable and memorable training in one hour.
Action: plan to continue to use the slide decks above during the Virtual Support Sessions.

For the use of the PowerPoint Presentations, I am keen to ensure that the Pathways videos:

  1. Members Share Their Pathways Experience
  2. Introducing Pathways

are both available to play during my club visits without relying on Internet connection to play from YouTube. Noted: the Title of these in the Scripts for PGs vary from what is actually shown as their title in YouTube.

For this preparation I reached out to another PG who had already mastered the art of downloading the videos as MP4 files and storing those in the same folder as the PowerPoint Presentation file. By creating a new slide with links to the MP4 files resident on my computer, I can be assured that they will play without the need for Internet connection.

Key Learning #7:
Think ahead to the situations in which the presentations will be made and consider the following:

  • technology restraints
  • learning retention and concentration spans

Action: check after each presentation what could be used to improve the impact on learners – need to provide a feedback sheet. Q. Is there one supplied for the PGs? If not suggest that it be added.

There is still much to do! But I do feel more organised for my first club visit presentations.