Three Webinars Offer a Wealth of Learning Opportunities

One silver lining of the ongoing public health crisis is the chance to attend a wide array of virtual events which tackle aspects of community broadband expansion all across the country, in a variety of contexts. This week features three opportunities to hear about what’s going on in Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia. Read on for details. 

Blandin Foundation Annual Conference

First up is Minnesota-based Blandin Foundation’s annual conference. It’s gone virtual for 2020, and the organization has taken it as an opportunity to shake things up. Instead of a three-day conference, Blandin is hosting four weeks’ worth of events starting Tuesday, October 6th, at 9am CST. 

The conference will feature a combination of panels with updates on everything from technology outreach to telehealth to efforts by community anchor institutions to stay connected, as well as mentoring sessions, regulatory and legislative updates, and feature presentations by leading voices:

  • Wednesday, October 7, 11:00am: From Digital Infrastructure to Transformation: Leveraging Broadband for Community Economic Development by Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., Purdue Extension.
  • Thursday, October 8, 9:30am: Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Opportunities and Challenges Post-Pandemic by Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA.
  • Thursday, October 15, 3pm: Federal Broadband Regulatory and Legislative Updates by Molly O’Leary, Director of Government Affairs, NTCA.
  • Friday, October 23, 10:00am: Book Club: Thank You for Being Late and Thursday, October 29, 9:15am: How I Think About the Importance of Communities in the 21st Century by Thomas L. Friedman, Author, Reporter, Columnist, New York Times.
  • Thursday, October 27, 9:30am: Connecting Residents to Essential Services: Solutions for Local Communities by Deb Socia, The Enterprise Center.
  • Thursday, October 29, 10:30a: 2020 MN County Broadband Reports: Measured Progress, Accelerated Need by Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services

It’s likely Deb Socia will be talking about Chattanooga’s landmark effort to connect 28,000 students to free 100/100 Megabit per second (Mbps) Internet. We covered Robert Gallardo’s recently published article on municipal broadband restriction here as a factor on reducing availability nationwide.

See the abbreviated agenda here, the full one here, and register for the conference here.

Michigan Moonshot

Starting Thursday, October 8th at 12p CST, Tom Duszynski from Wayne State University and Charlotte Bewersdorff, Vice President for Community Engagement for the Merit Network will be talking about the dramatic changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to higher education, and the coalition's efforts so far to meet them.

The Michigan Moonshot is an initiative of Merit, a half-century old research and education network governed by the state’s public universities. It aims to improve mapping, data collection, funding, and policy efforts for those across the state. In this webinar, Duszynski and Bewersdorff will dig into their efforts to crowdsource broadband availability and speeds in pursuit of a better understanding of the obstacles that teachers and students have and will continue to face moving ahead.

Read the full description and register here.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative

Finally, the Roanoke Electric Cooperative is likewise hosting a multi-part webinar series on operating and expanding during COVID-19. 

From co-op CEO & President Curtis Wynn

As we all adjust to our new normal, the co-op’s commitment to keeping our member-owners informed remains a top priority. This second series of webinars will detail the latest projects that the co-op is working on and present solutions to help our member-owners boost energy savings and lower energy costs.

The first one ran in September and focused on remote learning. Those who missed it can see a recording here. The second installment airs Thursday, October 8, at 6:00pm, and will see a discussion about telehealth and wellness in the wake of “stay home” orders and social distancing restrictions. The final panel will run on Thursday, November 12, and will cover the topic of local business and economic redevelopment.

No registration is needed, and interested parties can sign up here.

Header image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0