It has been my privilege to serve on the ASDP Governance Board twice, most recently for about 3 1/2 years as president-elect and president. When I roll off the board in January, I will do so with the knowledge that a productive board will transition peacefully to the leadership of Teresa Nieswaag. Teresa has spent the last 14 months learning the ins and outs of the association’s operations. I will miss communicating regularly with the ASDP members who are serving with distinction to keep ASDP running smoothly and “moving forward,” as my predecessor Joyce Hittesdorf liked to say.
We are entering our fourth year of self-management, which has allowed us to balance the budget in spite of a severe recession. Every member who did not renew for the last 2 years was called by a governance board member and we heard sad stories about the difficult economic choices our former members were having to make. As a professional association, we endeavor to support each member who takes advantage of the opportunities offered through membership and we are always trying to add additional opportunities. I speak as one of those members who benefited from that support. New to the profession, I joined PACC (ASDP’s former name) in 1995. I was insecure about my skill set and trying to discover opportunities to expand my business. Becoming involved in the Baltimore Chapter and then the national organization was instrumental in the growth of my business and my confident personal persona as a sewing professional.
Have you told someone new to the profession about ASDP and encouraged them to join? Share the flyer you received in the mail with someone in your community, perhaps even your competition. Personal contacts are the single most productive way to recruit new members and the more members we have, the more we can accomplish. The more members we have involved and taking an active role, the more quickly we can move forward with our goals.
I hope to exit my leadership role gracefully with the knowledge that Teresa Nieswaag cares as deeply for the organization as I do and she will do everything in her power to nurture current and new members as they develop their sewing related businesses. Teresa will present a positive professional image to the greater public representing the expertise of our members and the benefits of using their services.
Written by Rae Cumbie
As technology speeds into the future with faster and smaller computers, smart phones, and tablets, the opportunities for new educational venues increase as well. Distance learning is now the buzzword at most educational institutions as online learning management systems create opportunities for students who are unable to attend classes in a traditional setting because of geographical restrictions, limitations due to work and family obligations, or because they prefer the environment of self-paced, on-demand training. Special interest organizations have begun to take advantage of the opportunities of distance learning as well by creating online certiﬁcation programs, virtual conferences, video tutorials, and webinars in order to educate their members. Essentially, the organization member can take advantage of these educational opportunities in the comfort of their own home or ofﬁce, from their computer, and for a fee. We, as your ASDP Board, are intrigued by the educational opportunities that these venues may offer in terms of sewing and design education. Before going forward with such a monumental venture, however, both the beneﬁts and challenges need to be recognized.
As mentioned above, online education can take on a variety of forms. The two that most sparked the “what if?” possibilities of the ASDP Board at our recent Annual Strategic Planning meeting as having the most potential for our members were video tutorials and webinars. Video tutorials would simply be taped video segments of an instructor demonstrating a particular sewing or design technique similar to what is currently available on such websites as YouTube. A webinar is a relatively new communication tool using the internet; essentially webinars are “seminars” on the “web”. They come in a variety of formats, but the most common type currently seems to consist of a PowerPoint presentation with a voice over of the instructor teaching the course. The instructor’s voice can be heard by the students via live streaming through the computer or through a one-way conference call (you hear the instructor, but cannot respond by speaking). Student questions are posted in a chat-room type format, and if the webinar is live, the instructor responds to student questions as they arise or at the end of the webinar. This form of online education (usually no more than one hour) is particularly useful for gaining knowledge on content-based topics such as pricing systems, how to set up a business plan, marketing strategies, how to ﬁnd a sales representative, and the like. Plus, because some webinar host providers allow for the students to see the computer screens of their virtual instructor, webinars can be very useful in learning the basics of such computer software packages as Excel, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and even Quickbooks. In these situations, the instructor can walk their students through the functions of the computer program while the students “peek” over the instructor’s virtual shoulder to watch what the instructor is doing with the program.
Beneﬁts of online education to ASDP are plentiful. First of all, what a great way for our members to gain access to information and skills that they may not be able to otherwise! Although in no way will video tutorials or webinars ever replace the rich educational experiences of Chapter programming or the National Conference, we do recognize that there are many members who are “at-large” (like me) or unable to make it to conference every year. It is a way of staying connected, even if done so virtually. Having online sewing and design education opportunities (whether live or on-demand) would also give our organization more public exposure, the possibility of an attractive membership beneﬁt, and bring us professionally and technologically into the 21st Century!
Challenges to this venture unfortunately are plentiful as well. The questions and issues that arose in my own mind span from “What topics should be offered?” to “Who will be willing to instruct the webinars or be video-taped?” Others include, “How do we get instructors trained for these new venues?”, “What is the best host platform for conducting webinars that doesn’t have a high price tag?”, and “When will video segments be taped and by whom?” All of these questions need to be addressed (and more) in order for the initial challenges of online sewing and design education through ASDP to be championed. As you can imagine, of course, one person cannot do this alone! Therefore, if we ARE committed to further exploring and implementing alternative online educational venues to make sewing and design education more accessible to our members, I have but one question that should be answered ﬁrst: Will you step up and volunteer to help organize and be a part of an ASDP Online Education Taskforce? If so, email email@example.com and let’s get to work!
Written by Janet Blood, VP of Education
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