How it works

For system requirements and other technical info, see next page.

What does a PublicDecisions "live" online event entail?

Each event includes both visual and audio components. You'll access the visual component, which is controlled by the presenter, via the internet—usually on our training platform, Microsoft Live Meeting. The visual component may involve slides, video, or other materials you'll view on your computer screen. You'll access the audio component directly through Live Meeting or by dialing in with a landline telephone, mobile phone, or internet voice service such as Skype or Google Voice. High-speed internet is needed, and long-distance telephone service is required if you choose to dial in to the audio portion.

Depending on the course, you may meet for one, two, or three sessions (typically separated by a day or week), and each session will be 1-2 hours long.

You'll also have access (for 30 days) to a course website with supplemental resources.

What skills to I need to participate in a PublicDecisions course?

All you need are basic web and email/chat skills.

How should I prepare in advance for the course?

About a week before your first session, we'll send you a web link to the training platform, a dial-in phone number and passcode, and a login and password for the course website ( We'll also send you a short pre-course questionnaire.

These three easy steps will ensure a positive PublicDecisions course experience:

•  Complete the short questionnaire. This information helps the instructors tailor the training experience to your distinct needs and interests.

•  Verify that your computer meets our system requirements.

•  Familiarize yourself with the course website by logging in and “looking around” for a few minutes. Jot down any questions you might have for the instructor.

How do I join the group on the day of the class?

First, sign on to the training platform using the unique course web link we sent you. We suggest connecting at least 15 minutes early to ensure your technology is working adequately. (We can help troubleshoot if you have difficulty, but it's best not to be doing this at the scheduled start time.)

Then, a few minutes before the scheduled start time, call the dial-in number and enter your passcode. That's it!

What happens during each course session? How do I participate?

During each session, you'll view slides, video presentations, resources and other materials on your computer screen. (Content varies by course.) You'll also participate by voice (telephone) and by using the chat feature.

The instructor may have you participate in other activities, such as a short poll on some issue, using your keyboard or mouse. And to keep things lively and engaging, be prepared to participate in class exercises or for the instructor to call on you to share insights or examples from your own experience.

Ask questions, share your opinions and experiences . . . and your expertise. At face-to-face training, being physically present makes you feel like a part of the course. Online, you'll get the same feeling of being involved by speaking/interacting with other participants and by communicating via chat messages.

With in-person training, the instructor can actually see me in the room. How does the instructor "see" me in a PublicDecisions course?

Two ways:

First, you can use the "raise hand" feature on the learning console. (The instructor will point this out in the first session.) Once acknowledged, you can ask a question or make a comment using your voice.

Second, you can use the chat feature to weigh in or pose questions. One of the beauties of our online classes is that you don't have to wait until a pause in the discussion to "speak." You can use the chat feature anytime you have something to contribute, without fear of interrupting the instructor or anyone else.

Are there assignments I'll be expected to complete?

The instructor may ask you to complete brief exercises or to review resources or other materials in advance of a course session. You'll receive instructions by email or during the course session for how to access them on your own.

Completing these short assignments between course sessions will enhance the learning experience, both for you and your fellow participants.

Can I contact other participants outside of class?

The networking aspect of the course is an important element of the PublicDecisions training experience. We encourage you to look for opportunities to meaningfully connect with other participants around shared interests, challenges and concerns—during and after the course.

To facilitate this—while respecting your privacy—we'll ask as part of the pre-course questionnaire if it's okay to share your contact information with other participants.

Can I have other colleagues "sit in" on the class with me?

To ensure a quality training experience for all participants, each registration is an individual registration, not a site license. Moreover, most courses do not lend themselves to participation by a group of persons in a conference room and on a speaker phone.

(Some PublicDecisions conferences and professional development events do offer a group rate; check the website for details.)

Your individual registration covers access to all course sessions, course materials and the course website with supplemental resources

What if I have questions or concerns after the course begins?

Our instructors have an "open door" policy and are always glad to work with you to address your concerns or issues. You also can contact us at any time.