NCRA lowers prices on webinars and e-seminars for members

Just in time for Celebrate Certification Month taking place in May, NCRA has lowered prices for members on its webinars and e-seminars. NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars are popular because they allow members to earn CEUs and learn at their own pace.

The lower prices took effect April 2. For a 60-minute webinar or e-seminar, NCRA members now pay $55, compared to a nonmember price of $79. In addition, the price for a 90-minute webinar or e-seminar has been lowered to $79 for NCRA members, compared to $99 for nonmembers. To find out more about NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars, visit NCRA.org/Continuing Education.

Stock up for spring!

Members can take advantage of NCRA’s 72-hour spring sale on March 20-22. The sale offers the opportunity to purchase a bundle (up to 0.8 CEU) of top-rated e-seminars for only $85.00Sale hours are from 12:01 a.m. ET on March 20 until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 22. Buyers have 30 days from the date of purchase to view the seminars. Topics range from technology and career growth to tales from the trenches and trial presentation, and more. Find out more.

Top-rated e-seminars available in this 72-hour sale include:

  • Realtime Streaming Made Easy (0.15 CEU) – Pam Szczecinski, a realtime trainer, breaks down everything you need to know to provide realtime for your clients. Learn what equipment you will need, as well as the software, accessories, specs, and licensing necessary to make realtime easy. Szczencinski reviews products, prices, and providers.
  • Computer Security & You: Part 1 (0.15 CEU)  and Computer Security & You: Part 2 (0.15 CEU) – This  two-part series, presented by Sergeant Al Sternberg, the go-to authority on fraud, computer crimes, and evidence for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, offers what you need to know about protecting yourself and your files from computer hacking and associated crimes. Sternberg guides you through the steps that can protect you from revealing sensitive personal and financial information and offers the basics of avoiding cyber stalking, identity fraud, and more.
  • Fear Factor: Nightmare on Court Reporting Street! (0.1 CEU) – Chucky Cady, RMR, hosts this open mic session where court reporters are invited to share their worst cases ever. From the disastrous to the hilarious to the inappropriate, their stories will make you realize that you are not alone. Misery loves company, and what is better than learning from others’ mistakes?
  • Developing Resiliency:  6 Powerful Strategies to Thrive at Work (0.1 CEU) – The ability to maintain resiliency and thrive in the midst of adversity is an intentional choice. When court reporters consciously make that choice, they are better equipped to be transformed by work-related challenges. Speaker Kevin Nourse, PhD, introduces the Resiliency Framework, consisting of six strategies to help people thrive in the face of career challenges. Learn to create a career defined by growth, success, and satisfaction.
  • Trial Presentation 101 (0.15 CEU) – Tim Piganelli is a trial presentation expert with over 20,000 hours of experience in the courtroom. His polished seminar is accompanied by professional, detailed graphics that provide a broad overview of the elements of trial presentations. Piganelli discusses juries, case progression, timelines, evidence, graphics, audio, video, and more.

For more information or to purchase the bundle, visit NCRA.

 

It’s March madness at NCRA!

In celebration of March madness, NCRA is offering a number of membership and educational opportunities just in time for spring.

Join NCRA or renew your membership by March 31, and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free Kindle Fire. Members renewing can do so online, by mail, or by phone.

Membership benefits include access to timely professional news, complimentary listings in the print and online NCRA Sourcebook, and savings on certifications, event registrations, insurance, the NCRA Store, the NCRA Saving Center, and more.

Register now for a new NCRA webinar to be presented by Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, titled “Have Writer Will Travel – The International Experience,” and earn 0.15 CEU. The webinar is being held Thursday, March 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. and is an informative and humor-filled instruction outlining the dynamics of work in the international realm, including job preparation, job execution, the vagaries and challenges of travel, and how reporters get such assignments.

Meadors, from Fort Collins, Colo., is a reporter with 40 years of experience, both in the military and as an official court reporter, freelancer, and CART captioner. He has authored numerous reporting articles and has traveled coast to coast and literally around the world in his reporting career. He has also held various positions in national, state, and user group associations.

Members can also take advantage of NCRA’s 72-hour spring sale on March 20-22. The sale offers the opportunity to purchase a bundle (up to 0.8 CEU) of top-rated e-seminars for only $85.00. Sale hours are from 12:01 a.m. ET on March 20 until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 22. Buyers have 30 days from the date of purchase to view the seminars. Topics range from technology, career growth, tales from the trenches to trial presentation, and more. Be sure to look for an email announcing the sale in your inbox.

NCRA and HLAA collaborate to help provide more CART captioning for chapter meetings

NCRA members have the opportunity to earn Professional Development Credits (PDCs) by providing pro bono CART services under a new collaborative program agreement with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The agreement program is intended to help HLAA chapters across the country provide quality CART for their monthly meetings in a more affordable way. The agreement will also help increase the awareness of CART captioning and its benefit for people with hearing loss.

Under the agreement, NCRA-certified captioners can earn 1.0 PDC as part of the 3.0 Continuing Education Credits required every three years. NCRA members who participate in the collaborative agreement program will be reimbursed the fee assessment by the HLAA chapter to register the PDCs.

“This partnership is another step that NCRA is taking to help people with hearing disabilities have their accessibility needs met. Captioning services provided by a certified captioner are the best and only product for people with hearing loss to be able to fully participate in HLAA chapter meetings,” said Matthew R. Barusch, NCRA’s State Government Relations Manager.

“By partnering with HLAA and offering NCRA-certified captioners this additional member benefit, we not only continue our support of our captioner membership, we can help provide this amazing community with a service they need and help one of our long-standing organizational allies grow and prosper,” Barusch added. “I would encourage all of our certified captioner members to reach out to HLAA and find a local chapter near you.”

Under the agreement, the HLAA national chapter coordinator will connect NCRA captioners to local chapters.

“The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is thrilled to partner with NCRA to help our chapters provide CART at their monthly meetings in an affordable way and to remove a barrier to the formation of new chapters,” said Nancy Macklin, HLAA Director of External Affairs.

For more information about the collaborative agreement program or to sign up, contact Mathew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org.

 

Get comfy for professional development: Exciting upcoming NCRA webinars

Front view of a person sitting barefoot on a couch with their laptop on their knees, blocking their faceCourt reporters and captioners understand the value of continuing education and always improving one’s skills, but it can be challenging to attend in-person events. With NCRA webinars, you can learn more about your profession from the comfort of your own home or office (not to mention that you can attend them in your slippers – no one will know!).

NCRA has a wide variety of topics coming up in the next month. The JCR Weekly reached out to the presenters to help whet your appetite.

On Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, Tori Pittman, FAPR, RDR, CRI, will present “Intersteno: Berlin and Beyond.” Pittman is a freelance reporter from North Carolina who has a passion for Intersteno. Intersteno is “a worldwide community uniting all those using a full range of speed writing methods to quickly produce high quality texts” (including steno lovers, keyboarding champions, and verbatim writers), and they host an international Congress every two years. In this 90-minute webinar, Pittman will talk about the networking and competition opportunities at Intersteno. She describes it as “international travel that is also a business expense” and explains that Intersteno attendees “learn about reporting in other countries while exploring fantastic locations.” The 2017 Intersteno Congress was held in Berlin, Germany (NCRA members performed very well in the competitions), and the next event is in 2019 in Sardinia, Italy.

On Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET, Lisa Jo Hubacher, RPR, CRI, will present “Thinking about Student Training.” Hubacher is an instructor at Madison Area Technical College (which is also her alma mater) in Madison, Wis. Madison Area Technical College received one of the final Training for Realtime Writers grants in 2014 due to its curriculum redesign. In this webinar, Hubacher will discuss this curriculum model, including the redesign’s impact on the program, what’s working, and what needs tweaking. As she describes it, the webinar will cover “how to design a program based on student needs without any curriculum-design knowledge.” Hubacher says she’ll also talk about why “‘But that’s the way we’ve always done it’ doesn’t fly anymore.” This is a must-attend webinar for anyone involved in training reporting students!

On Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET, Santo J. Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, will present “Legal Terms, Part 1.” Aurelio has presented several language-related webinars recently, including “What Reporters Must Know about Punctuation” and “English Grammar Gremlins: Ways to Conquer Them” (now both available as e-seminars). Aurelio will present on more than a hundred and fifty terms, but he admits, “I really get a special kick out of four of them: alibi (in another place), durance vile (imprisonment), eleemosynary (charitable), and Esq.” He adds, “If I must pick one, then I guess it would be Esq., which is merely a title of courtesy, but attorneys think that it means ‘one who is an attorney.’” Aurelio will provide “economical but cogent explanations” for the words that he hopes each attendee will easily remember.

Finally, on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, will present “Promoting the Profession.” Uviedo is an official in San Antonio, Texas, and she serves as co-chairperson for the Texas Court Reporters Association Student Recruitment Task Force. Her efforts in recruiting and mentoring court reporting students have won her the NCSA challenge not just once, but twice in a row; in 2015, she organized participation in 13 career fairs in 15 days in San Antonio. “It is so easy and rewarding volunteering for a recruitment event,” says Uviedo. “You have the potential to reach hundreds, even if you only talk to 50.” Uviedo has also found the value in promoting the profession over social media, and she hints that “one cool thing I’ll talk about is having attendees take selfies of themselves in front of their court reporting machines and having them spread posts about court reporting.”

Members who attend the webinars will be able to ask questions directly to the presenter and get them answered right away. But if you are not able to attend the live webinar, they will be available as on-demand e-seminars after the fact. Keep an eye on NCRA’s e-seminar library for these and other topics to help grow as a professional.

What can you do in a month to earn CEUs?

A middle-aged white woman listens attentively during a workshop while taking notes.The Sept. 30 deadline for this year’s CEU cycle is coming up quickly, but there’s still time to earn a few more last-minute credits, both in person and online. Even if your CEU cycle isn’t ending this year, these ideas can help you stay on track and possibly even get that requirement done early.

Attend a webinar or e-seminar

Webinars and e-seminars are a great way to learn some new skills in the comfort of your own home and, in terms of e-seminars, on your own schedule. There are three 90-minute live webinars scheduled for this September:

If none of these webinars fit your schedule, check out the NCRA e-seminar library for 60- and 90-minute sessions on topics that include business, CART and captioning, ethics, grammar and language, history, official reporting, personal development, realtime, technology, and more.

Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences

Many state associations and other court reporter–related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. In-person events give you the opportunity to network with other reporters and captioners while earning CEUs. Most events are one to three days, and several of them are in the first half of the month. Events are scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana/Wyoming/Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as Alberta, Canada, this month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events here, which includes the dates, location (geographic or online), and number of CEUs.

Learn CPR or first aid

The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills? Learn more about the requirements for earning CEUs by learning CPR or first aid on NCRA.org/WaysToEarn.

Transcribe oral histories

Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. “As court reporters, we sometimes are too focused on the financial side of what we do, but (volunteering) is giving back. Anyone thinking of participating in one of these events should just jump right in and do it. It’s well worth it,” said Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who recently volunteered at NCRF’s third Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative at the 86th Military Order of the Purple Heart 2017 Convention held in Dallas. Learn more at NCRA.org/NCRF/OralHistories.

Get credit for past events

You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. You can submit these CEUs and PDCs here.

Cycle extensions

If you need a four-month cycle extension (to Jan. 31) to finish those last CEUs, you can fill out the CEU extension request form by Sept. 30. Note that the deadline to complete CEUs or to request an extension is the same date.

View the full list of qualified continuing education activities at NCRA.org/WaysToEarn. View other continuing education forms here or view your current transcript here. If you have any questions, please contact the NCRA credentialing coordinator.

Q&A: Checking in with Joe Aurelio

Santo “Joe” Aurelio, FAPR, RDR (Ret.), has always had an attraction to the English language, first as a court reporter and later as a professor of English. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and a doctorate in education from Boston University. After he retired from reporting because of a hearing loss, he became a visiting professor at colleges in the Boston area. He teaches a variety of subjects, but mainly English grammar and medicolegal terminology. He will be teaching two live webinars, What Reporters Must Know about Punctuation on July 12, 6-7:30 p.m. ET and The Strange Backgrounds of Familiar Words, Part 1 on Aug. 1, 6-7:30 p.m. ET. The JCR caught up with him to find out a little more about his background and the reason behind his interest in this topic.

Tell us a little about your career.

I started night school at the Boston Stenotype Institute, and on the first night I met a girl, Josephine, who later became my wife. In 1975, she started freelance reporting — and she’s still at it!

I ranged all over Massachusetts during my career. During my 39 years, I had a wealth of experiences. I took some important cases (my first murder case was my first case in Korea!). I met some dynamic attorneys while working at the state labor department. My job at the federal agency was to travel around New England taking the testimony from disabled applicants for Social Security aid (some of that was sad). My first case in Superior Court was a criminal case (I was to take many of those). Other than some horrendous murder cases, possibly the two most important cases that I took in Superior Court: one involved the New England Patriots football team and the other, of course, was the Boston Strangler. In a sentence, I’ve had an interesting reporting career with fine memories and opportunities to meet and/or report important persons.

When did you become an NCRA member?

I became an NCRA member, I believe, in 1957. I did so because I believe in unity. When reporters gather together and unite, they have strength and can chart their future course or at least help to chart that course. When reporters join, their dues help to pay for professional advice and lobbying efforts. It’s patently unfair for unregistered reporters to have the benefit of all of the strides that their fellow registered reporters have worked hard for. I am solidly aligned with local, regional, and national unions!

close up of a dictionary page

Photo by jwyg

What started your interest in learning more about language than just what you needed for court reporting?

Even as a little kid of 10 or so, I would fool around with language (I’ll be back in a flash with some cash in my sash). Later I remember saying such things as “She would feint a faint.” I was always very interested in homonyms (such as made/maid) and what I would call pseudohomonyms (accede/exceed). In short, I was interested in language many years before I started stenotype reporting. I remember when I was about 14, there was a manual typewriter at the train station where I used to sell newspapers, and I used to put in a quarter to unlock it so that I could type on it for 30 minutes.

If you remember your days from your master’s and doctorate, what did you find was the difference you brought to your studies as a court reporter?

I went back to school late. I was almost 50 when I started my serious studying. My bachelor’s was 1983, the master’s was 1985, and the doctorate was 1989. What I think I brought to my studies was a deep focus that I had to use as a reporter: listening very carefully to every word spoken. In other words, because I was so serious about listening to and capturing every single word in court, I think that that held me in great stead in listening to my professors.

Frankly, it was very difficult to earn three degrees at night while working full-time in a busy court. How’d I do it? By being very motivated because I saw the handwriting on the wall: my hearing loss was making my daily job hard to do. I only succeeded in performing a creditable job in court by having a lot of speed (I passed a 280) and knowing and liking a great deal of English. And that’s how I lasted until 1990. (I wanted to teach in college, and to do that, one needs a lot of degrees.)

You’ve given one seminar for NCRA members recently, and you’re planning another one. What do you hope court reporters and captioners learn from your sessions?

I’ve done one webinar, and soon I’ll do another. I know that a lot of people, including reporters, have great difficulty with English, especially homonyms and pseudohomonyms. Mistakes are being made daily, and the reporters who commit them are not even aware that they’re using the wrong word or spelling a word incorrectly or malpunctuating a sentence. Well, even though I haven’t touched a stenotype since 1990, I still consider myself a reporter, and I feel that it’s my duty to correct or to help correct those who make those types of errors — and I want to do that until I hang up my skates. What I hope reporters will learn from these webinars is that I’d like all of them to learn and use the correct word or punctuation always.

Is there some advice that you would like all reporters and captioners to take to heart?

My advice to all reporters and captioners is to have the highest respect and fealty to the art and profession of reporting. It is an honorable profession. Think of it: Reporters are responsible for taking and transcribing all of the words of everybody. What could be more important than that? I rest my case.

NCRA partner Excelsior College offers webinars to aid in transfers

Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., has announced that it is offering monthly “Transfer Made Easy” webinars to assist new students with transferring educational records from other organizations.

Excelsior College is an accredited, nonprofit educational institution that offers members and their spouses or domestic partners the opportunity to pursue higher-learning education at a reduced tuition rate. NCRA and Excelsior College partnered in 2016 as part of the Association’s continuing efforts to build the industry and business skills of current and future members by supporting member career development.

The monthly webinars are held on the first Wednesday of each month and run from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. The goal of the seminars is to provide an overview of Excelsior College for NCRA students that includes partnership benefits such as tuition discounts and fee waivers, individual schools and degree programs that are available to them, student services that will help them succeed, and next steps for getting started.

For more information, contact nbeeteron@excelsior.edu or call 518-608-8399. Online registration for the webinars is also available.

How to determine if your activity is eligible for CEUs or PDCs

By Sandra Bryant

NCRA offers many courses in our e-seminar library and at the NCRA Convention & Expo and the NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference where our members can earn continuing education credit towards their certification requirements. We also provide approval for many events held by other organizations throughout the year, and we have pre-qualified many distance learning opportunities.

NCRA does not require members to use only NCRA events, approved events, or pre-qualified learning opportunities to fulfill their requirements. Individuals may take courses from other sources so long as these courses adhere to our continuing education rules. The rules list some courses, such as first aid and CPR classes, that qualify for credit but are not provided by NCRA or included among approved events or pre-qualified learning opportunities.

If a member wishes to take a course outside of NCRA events, approved events, or pre-qualified learning opportunities, the member should request a determination of eligibility before taking the course. The member should email the Continuing Education Coordinator the following information:

  1. The course title and description
  2. The duration of the course in hours
  3. The name and qualifications of the instructor
  4. How the proof of completion will be provided
  5. Which Section under Article III of the continuing education rules the course falls under (ex: Section 3.01 Language Skills, Literature, and Linguistics)

If the course is determined eligible for credit, the member will receive an email stating how much credit will be awarded for the course and a note will be made in the member’s record. The member will still be required to provide the required information upon completion and pay submission fees. If the course is determined ineligible for credit, NCRA will explain why the course is ineligible.

If the member is seeking approval for PDCs for an activity not specifically detailed in Article IV of the continuing education rules, the member should request determination of eligibility before participating in the activity. The member should email the Continuing Education Coordinator with the following information:

  1. The program or activity description
  2. The duration of the program/activity
  3. How the proof of participation will be provided
  4. Which Section under Article IV of the continuing education rules the program or activity falls under (ex: Section 4.01 Promoting the Profession to External Audiences)

If the program or activity is determined to be eligible for PDCs, the member will receive and email stating how much credit will be awarded for the program or activity and a note will be made in the member’s record. The member will still be required to provide the required documentation to submit for credit and pay submission fees. If the course is determined ineligible for credit, NCRA will explain why the course is ineligible.

If you have any questions, please contact the Continuing Education Coordinator.

Sandra Bryant is NCRA’s Credentialing Coordinator.

New webinars from NCRA in January

computer keyboard

Photo by Anonymous Account

Need continuing education credits (CEUs) or just looking for a good webinar? NCRA is offering three new webinars for members in January that address the importance of good communication, transitioning from court reporting to captioning, and sparking inner motivation.

On Jan. 18 from 7-8 p.m. ET, members can tune in to hear Lynette Eggers, CRI, CPE, and learn how good relationships are built on the foundation of effective communication through a webinar entitled “Communicate with Power and Influence.” Eggers, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of court reporting and coaching, holds two master’s degrees and has served on a number of NCRA committees. A past instructor for NCRA’s Total Immersion pilot program, she is a recognized Certified Professional Coach and owner of Life to Grow Coaching & Leadership. The cost of the webinar is $79 and earns 0.1 CEU. To learn more or to register, visit NCRA’s webinar page.

Next on the schedule is “Transitioning from Court Reporting to Captioning,” a 90-minute webinar on Jan. 24, from 6:30-8 p.m. ET, co-presented by Steve Clark, CRC, and Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC. The webinar is designed help answer common questions professionals have when making the transition from the courtroom to the world of freelance work or the broadcast and CART captioning arena. The cost of the webinar is $99 and is equal to 0.15 CEU. To learn more, or to register, visit NCRA’s webinar page.

On Jan. 26, from 7-8 p.m. ET, Eggers is back with a webinar called “Lighting Your Fire! — Sparking Your Inner Motivation and Potential,” designed to help participants understand how to become more effective and fulfilled as an individual and learn more about building a greater sense of purpose and more. The cost of the webinar is $79 and is equal to 0.1 CEU. To learn more or to register, visit NCRA’s webinar page.