Chances Online

Chances online was partly born of necessity: the public health crisis and lockdown meant we had to adapt to a world of online delivery. However, when VIBE’s groups moved online in 2020 we experienced a spike in attendance, suggesting for some it may be the preferred medium. Although part of the explanation was surely a “captive audience”, some girls spoke about distance and cost of travel as being a barrier in attending in-person events, and others mentioned anxiety being reduced when participating from home. For these reasons and others, it would make sense to run both in-person and virtual events in future, to engage as many young women as possible.

Zoom Sessions – Specific Considerations

A lot is inevitably lost when sessions move online, other things can be adapted, but some things only become possible using this medium. Here are some things to consider, and ways of getting the most from Zoom learning:

Breakout Spaces

Although using these is analogous to group work, there is other potential:

  • Deliberate decisions to group certain people together/apart are not so obvious. If an assisting member of staff pre-assigns the breakout rooms, they can be opened straight after the activity is announced. This isn’t to suggest saying that they’ve been assigned automatically or lying if asked, but obscuring the selection process can mean fewer arguments.
  • In a physical space, groups are still usually visible and members know the facilitator is likely to drop in on them. In a breakout room, YWAG can have genuinely private discussions. Pros: increases confidence, ability to try out ideas without fear of getting the “wrong answer”, can chat about other things and bond. Cons: might chat too much about other things, so good to have clear focus for discussion and ask them to feed back, need to be mindful about dynamics and not leave a group unattended if there is potential for abusive behaviour.

Camera & Microphone

  • What environment are the girls in? Does having a camera and mic on pose a safeguarding risk, if others do not?
  • If girls are in their own space, which option will increase participation the most (across the whole course)? You may worry that having cameras off could cause attention to drift, but the anxiety of being on camera may cause others to not come back. Do you encourage it or just leave it completely up to the participants?
  • It needs to be include in the opening conversation around confidentiality that you are not in a controlled space, and cannot guarantee who may hear what is said.

Chat Function

  • Considering the above, a good option may be to allow participants to use the “private” chat function if they need to communicate with you – this could be if they need to take a break or wish to discuss something that has been raised after the session. However, you equally might choose not to draw attention to this feature if you think your group are likely to start private messaging each other and lose focus.
  • A great thing about Zoom sessions is people can choose their preferred means of communication – if you allow for it. One young woman in a session I ran only communicated via chat due to high anxiety, whereas others were very insecure about their literacy levels and only spoke. Juggling these can be difficult, but should be attempted.

Screen Sharing

  • Make sure everything you want to share is ready, and you’ve closed down unnecessary tabs before the start of the session, to speed up this process.

Contents

Chances Online is made up of 6 presentations to be delivered online, a workbook for the girls and a trainer’s guide.

Session 1 - Communication & Listening

Session 2 - Self-Esteem & Confidence

Session 3 - Healthy Relationships

Session 4 - Body Image

Session 5 - Mental Health

Session 6 - Future Goals

Downloads

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