January JA News/Updates
January was a busy month for Judge Academy. I wanted to list some of the updates and changes that you should now able to see on the site, and some that are upcoming. As usual, I’ve be around in the JA discord for Office Hours tomorrow from 9-10 am and 4-5 pm PST (UTC-8). Feel free to drop in with questions, or email us at Questions@judgeacademy.com
- Region Select: We have added the options for Online, and Multi-Region. If you are creating an event that has any region preference, language requirement, etc, please choose the region that the conference is intended for. If you are creating an application for a digital event, multi-region event, a large international conference, etc, please use the appropriate new option.
- Region Select: In the next few days, the Region Select field will become a required field when creating an event. This change, with the added options above, should help solve a problem some of our members were having setting up notification emails for newly-created events, as events without that field were slipping through the filter/cracks.
- Organizer Contact info: We’ve added in a specific spot for organizers to share their name and contact info/method on the event page if they’re open to receiving questions from applicants. This field is not required, and there was nothing stopping organizers from listing that info in the description before, but we are hoping this serves as a nice reminder for those creating events that they should include some way for questions or other issues around the event to be brought up.
- Conference Policies: Conference policies for 2021 were published on December 1st, and became active on January 1st. Rather than linking to an older blog post, I’ve created a separate page for conference policies that will always list the most up to date policies. That is now linked on the Conference Page.
- Conference Page: I’ve also added some clarifications to the conference page itself. First off, you’ll notice that the full card mockups have been added to the Jan-April descriptions. Further down, under Steps for Planning Your Judge Conference, you’ll find links to the current conference policies, the conference request form, and additional details added to the 4 Steps below that.
- You’ll also find a Feedback Form Template for use by organizers. You can save a copy, and then edit your copy as needed for your specific conference.
- We wanted to clarify that while some organizers choose to use/mandate feedback forms, their use at conferences is not something required by Judge Academy. Many organizers have found unique ways to gauge participation and engagement, such as before/after topic quizzes, virtual hand raises, etc. As an organizer, feel free to use your own form or find other ways to encourage and facilitate feedback. However, our experience has shown that mandatory or anonymous feedback is not as constructive, and highly suggest ensuring that either the presenter (or you) have a way to reach out to the attendee if clarifications or more information is needed.
- January Conference Promos: Judge Academy has run into a few logistical snags that have caused a delay in receiving promos. While most organizers acknowledge some delay will occur due to the nature of how final numbers are calculated and promos are distributed, between the Holiday Season, closing our office space for 2021, changing shipping methods, and a number of other issues, this delay was longer than expected and we wanted to make sure you all got updated. If you are waiting on a January conference mailing, those have not been shipped to organizers yet. Organizers will receive an email as soon as we receive them and they ship out from JA.
- Conference Education: With most events being on hold, conference presentations have become one of the backbones of continuing education. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be working to create additional resources for organizers and presenters to ensure conferences are set up for success.
We are working to expand and update our user search functions. While it is not completely implemented yet, we wanted to point this out because every user has a tab on their profiles where they can adjust what information is public. Please take a moment to take a look at your privacy settings and adjust them as preferred. You will only come up in searches if you have chosen to share that particular search parameter. For example, Searching for a “Nicolette” in “Oregon” will only return me IF I have chosen to make both my first name (or my display name is also Nicolette) and location public. This has come up most often with judges searching for other judges in order to write reviews or endorsements, so if the person looking for you cannot find your profile, take a look at your privacy settings, as they start off fairly conservative.