Adapting to digital program delivery

02 Apr 2020


Central Coast Community Colleges has been running their ‘Digital Connect’ program at seven library locations each month across the coast. With the introduction of social distancing laws leading to the closure of libraries, they decided to run their programs via video conferencing instead.

Within the space of 48 hours, they scheduled their first Digital Connect Online session using Zoom. They are now running digital classes every Monday and Wednesday from 10:30am to 1:00pm, averaging 40+ participants at each session. We asked Stephen to share the format of his skills sessions, along with other any tips and tricks for Network Partners looking to run their own online sessions.

Digital Connect Online session format

By Stephen King, Business Development Manager at Central Coast Community College

Our current and evolving format is this:

First hour: Workshop run by Zoom Host (me) that includes:

  • A COVID update on websites, apps, resources etc
  • A workshop topic (podcasts this week)
  • Q&A relating to the workshop

Break: We take a coffee/toilet/feed the cat etc. break for 10 minutes while we get organised for the breakout rooms.

  • Everyone except the mentors and the host is muted with video off.
  • We set up a number of breakout rooms in Zoom based on device platform, e.g. Android, Window, iOS etc. and assign at least one digital mentor to each breakout room.
  • As participants come back to the meeting, we assign them to breakout rooms based on their need.

Remainder of session: Two of the mentors are co-hosts and can move freely between breakout rooms to monitor and support.

  • The rooms close at the end of the day and anyone that is still on the call returns to the main meeting for feedback, final discussion etc.

Community Feedback

Feedback has been very positive in that we have people returning for each session and referring friends. We have new people joining us that have not been involved in Digital Connect before. The following is an email response from one of our learners, Maire:

This program is a magical free information site for people who have not had the opportunity to learn computer skills that are second nature for younger relatives. We may be late learners, but we also have a hunger for information and IT skills that would not be attainable without the CCCC digital tutorials. I consider that Stephen and his team have endowed us with skills we would never have acquired without this online program, previously presented in local libraries. With a sincere wish that the program may continue for the “ Isolation “ months ahead and beyond.

Digital literacy needed now more than ever

The need for digital literacy, particularly among seniors, has never been greater. Social isolation is impacting many seniors living on their own and in retirement villages that are in lockdown. I see the priorities being:

  • Staying socially connected with family and friends
  • Accessing credible information and updates
  • Having fun
  • Avoiding scams
  • Keeping the brain working with new challenges

Advice for others

We are on a steep learning curve, so the most important thing is to:

  • Stay flexible
  • Bring your mentors along on the journey by providing them with training and responsibility. Our Lead Digital Mentor, Natasja, is doing an excellent job training and engaging our mentor team in the online program.
  • Develop solid management and meeting protocols but allow for laughs, different personalities and the unexpected

If you’d like more advice or the chance to join one of Stephen’s sessions to see how it runs for yourself, please contact connect@goodthingsfoundation.org and we will provide you with the meeting link.