What began as a means to pivot and continue our daily business in the Spring of 2020, virtual spaces such as Zoom or MS Teams have become part of the common workplace.
SPAAR Community Campus and it’s Zoom connection was developed as a member benefit with the vision to bring SPAAR to the members – wherever they are. As SPAAR’s virtual place for meetings, classrooms, and event spaces, this virtual space is here to stay.
Taking continuing education classes online has not been the favorite option for everyone, but for many, it has opened some time on the calendar by not needing to time-block commutes to SPAAR. While there have been great advantages to attending classes virtually, there have been a few challenges along the way, too.
One challenge many face is the challenge of technology itself. For this reason, SPAAR staff is available to help you navigate the steps in joining one of our classes online. Our best advice is to start early. Even if you know you’ve attended Zoom meetings before, you just never know when the technology-bug will strike and cause you to be late for class online. For anyone who may struggle with technology or are fearful to try a class online is encouraged to sign up for one of the monthly “test classes” where Kristin herself can help troubleshoot issues or calmly walk you through the steps online and confirm with you everything is working. SPAAR staff have worked with many members one-on-one over the phone to get members comfortable with joining a class when the time comes.
Just as we do in person, SPAAR follows the MN Department of Commerce rules for CE classes very strictly. We do this because we want to ensure our ability to continue to offer our members free and low cost continuing education for their MN Real Estate licenses. Attending a class with us online is very comparable to in-person, and the rules translate as such.
- Be on time or early for class. Do not leave the class for an extended period of time outside breaks. Continuing education courses must be attended in their entirety in order to receive credit for the number of approved hours. (MN Statute 45.30 Subd 4a).
In Person: we have a sign-in sheet that is removed as soon as the class begins, and the door is shut. Anyone walking into the class after that sheet is removed is late and no CE can be earned – regardless of reason. It doesn’t matter if the reason/excuse is traffic related, parking issues, or weather.
Online: we have a class monitor admitting attendees that join the Zoom classroom waiting room prior to class start. Once the class begins, the initial attendance poll is launched. Anyone who joins the Zoom class late and/or misses any poll throughout the class will not earn CE for their attendance. Late excuses for technology are not accepted either.
- Whether you choose to attend a class in person or online, be respectful and courteous of your peers. Not only is this good business practice, any attendee not engaged and attentive during the class will be denied CE credits.
We understand that attending a class virtually and from anywhere – home, office, vacation, etc. presents its own set of challenges in the way of technology, but it seems to also present a certain urge to multitask. As a reminder, DOC is very clear when it comes to attending a class.
Per DOC: "when a student is deemed inactive, not fully participating in the course by the course monitor, or failure to enter appropriate polling question response or verification codes, continuing education (CE) credit is denied."
Unprofessional behaviors we have witnessed over the past year during classes and meetings include:
Driving a car
Riding a horse
Walking the dogs
Meeting friends, family, clients
Attending another meeting
Holding an open house
Working with clients – showings & walk-thru
Painting a room
None of these activities are acceptable to be doing during a continuing education class or meeting. If you wouldn’t do it in person in the SPAAR classroom or conference room, you should not be doing it while attending virtually via SPAARCC or Zoom.