Hit me with your best webinar

Since hitting the scene in the mid-1990s the popularity of webinars to share information has defied all communications trends. Their use has more than rapidly grown, thanks to the platform’s ability to allow presenters a cost-effective mode to reach large and specific groups of online viewers from a single location and offers participants the ability to interact with presenters.

Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR

NCRA offers a variety of both live and recorded webinars that members can use to earn continuing education units. But it’s not just the participants who benefit from the value of webinars; the presenters do as well.

“I love webinars,” says Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, who was tapped by NCRA to present in a webinar about promoting and recruiting for the court reporting and captioning professions. “I think they are so informative and educational. Court reporters’ and captioners’ schedules are so hectic that it is sometimes hard to get away to a convention. Webinars make a very convenient and flexible way to educate and earn continuing education credits,” Uviedo said.

Steve Lubetkin, CLVS

Steve Lubetkin, CLVS, managing partner of Lubetkin Media Companies in Cherry Hill, N.J., said he presented his first webinar for NCRA after a conversation with staff when he finished his CLVS practical test. The conversation, he said, was about how highly he thought of the program. Since then, he has produced and hosted three webinars for NCRA.

“I enjoy being able to share some of the practical experience I’ve gained producing video and managing my business. I’m proud of some of the tricks I’ve learned to streamline the work, and it’s rewarding to have peers say they appreciate the ideas as well,” Lubetkin said.

Uviedo agreed. “Lending your expertise to other reporters is one of the greatest givebacks you can contribute to the profession.  Many of us are self-employed and do not have an employer to guide and/or train us. Training and guidance via webinar is an excellent way to educate our professionals,” said the 23-year veteran of court reporting.

According to Lubetkin, depending on the topic, preparing and creating a webinar can take some work on the presenter’s part. “For my webinar on the deposition audio chain, I think I spent two or three hours shooting the b-roll I used to illustrate part of the one-hour program. For the others, I spent several hours each on screen shots and display materials,” he noted.

Uviedo encourages others to volunteer to host webinars for NCRA to help increase educational opportunities. “I would say that your webinar is imperative for the busy working reporters who are unable to attend conventions and also reporters who are looking for guidance on information throughout the year. You can just go to NCRA’s webinar website and look for the topic you need training on, and voila! It’s a win-win for both the reporter and NCRA,” she said.

“Webinars are great when people can dedicate the specific time period for the live learning, and engage in interaction with the instructor and participants, but they are also valuable as on-demand recorded programs that people can go back to over and over to review concepts and techniques,” added Lubetkin, who has been a legal videographer since 2014 and earned his CLVS in 2016.

NCRA is always looking for professionals to share their expertise with our membership. Presenting a webinar is a great way to build your résumé, gain a platform for your ideas, and contribute your knowledge to the NCRA Continuing Education library. Presenters may advertise their business at the end of their presentations and will be compensated. For more information, contact egoff@ncra.org.

Celebrate Certification Month with savings

May is Celebrate Certification Month at NCRA; and in honor of this first-time observance, members and students can save. The cost to take the online Skills Tests for the RPR, RMR, CRR, or CRC have been reduced. But hurry, the savings ends today, May 16!

 

Students taking the RPR Skills Test will pay $60 for each leg, while members will pay $75 for each RPR or RMR Skills Test leg. In addition, members can take advantage of a discounted price of $175 for the CRR or CRC Skills Tests, while students will pay only $145 for a CRC Skills Test.

 

Members can also save this month on NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars in honor of Celebrate Certification Month. 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 $75 for NCRA members. Nonmembers will pay $99 for the same 90-minute product.

 

Additional weekly specials can be found in the NCRA store during Celebrate Certification Month. This week, members can save 20 percent off all downloads through May 21. Other discounts include:

  • May 22-28 – 10% off entire store
  • May 29-31 – 10% off P-133 Morson’s Guide

 

Throughout the month, NCRA members and students have been flooding social media with posts celebrating the benefits of certification and the achievements of themselves and others who have gone the extra mile to put more letters behind their names. Be sure to read the profiles of a number of members who shared what motivated them to earn NCRA certifications in the May issue of the JCR. Find out more about how earning NCRA certifications have benefited their professional success, as well as get advice on how you can prepare to earn that dream certification.

 

Find out more about NCRA’s webinars and e-seminars and be sure to visit the Celebrate Certification Month page for resources you can use to mark the month-long campaign.

Registration is open for 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo

Registration is now open for the NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. The 2018 event coincides with the celebration of the Tricentennial of New Orleans, which carries the theme “One Time in New Orleans” and encourages residents and visitors to write their stories about their time in the city.

The Convention Keynote speaker is Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.). Honoré, a 37-year veteran of active service, served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans.

This year’s convention also features a lineup of sessions presented by top leaders in the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography fields. Some of those include the CLVS Certification Workshop, featuring the Intro to CLVS and CLVS Hands-on Training, the Punctuation Workshop, and the ever-popular CRR Boot Camp. Throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 2.3 CEUs.

Other exciting events that are expected to sell out quickly include the CRC Workshop, the annual Realtime and Speed Contests, and the new Member Recognition Gala that promises a wonderful night of dinner, drinks, dancing, and celebrating NCRA members.

In addition, this year’s VIP upgrade registration includes a ticket to a VIP reception being hosted by 2018-2019 President Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, from Springfield, Ohio, and VIP seating at the Member Recognition Gala.

As always, there will be a number of networking opportunities, including receptions, luncheons, and special events on the Expo floor, where vendors will showcase the latest in products and services for the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions.

“One of the biggest reasons I attend the Convention is for the opportunity to meet and talk to reporters from around the country,” said Susan M. Hora, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from Columbus, Ohio. “I have learned that we experience the same issues and we can strategize together on overcoming those issues. It reminds me that I am not alone in this profession. It reinvigorates my spirit.”

Join other court reporting professionals from around the country and abroad for the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo. The NCRA Convention & Expo is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, students, and other legal services professionals.

For more information about the NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention. Register before July 20 to avoid late fees. Attendees are also encouraged to reserve hotel rooms for the Convention at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

For sponsorship information please contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs, at mpetto@ncra.org

Refresh your CLVS skills before taking the Production Exam this June

The next testing dates to take the CLVS Production Exam will be June 8-9 at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. Registration is now through May 31. Space is limited, so candidates are encouraged to sign up early.

Something new this year: We are providing candidates an opportunity to do a Hands-On Training session prior to the production exam. Register now to get another step closer to earning your CLVS certification.

The Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) program sets and enforces standards for competency in the capture, use, and retention of legal video and promotes awareness of these standards within the legal marketplace.

“The CLVS certification is the gold standard for identifying competent and vetted legal videographers and sets them apart from the rest of the field,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, Chair of the CLVS Council. The CLVS Council leads the CLVS Seminar and administers the Production Exam.

The cost of the exam is $325 for NCRA members and $425 for nonmembers.

During the Production Exam, candidates will run the show at a staged deposition and be graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and to produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Candidates must have taken the mandatory CLVS Certification Workshop first, available online through InReach. Candidates must complete the educational components prior to taking the CLVS Production exam. Candidates can take the CLVS WKT at any time, but we strongly encourage candidates to complete the educational components first as questions on the WKT are developed from the education provided.  Learn more about the CLVS program at NCRA.org/CLVS.

The CLVS Production Exam is administered two times a year: spring and fall (depending on interest). Please contact NCRA by calling 800-272-NCRA (6272) for more information, or contact the CLVS Staff.

NCRA members who hold another credential, such as the RPR, can earn 0.25 PDC each after passing the CLVS Written Knowledge Test and the CLVS Production exam.

 

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.