Since the current pandemic began more than one year ago, online video calls and virtual meetings have become practically the norm, displacing traditional face-to-face interactions, work and business meetings, scientific meetings and conventions, social gatherings, religious services, and more. Businesses quickly realized the benefits of replacing costly and stressful business travel with online meetings and job interviews involving simultaneous participants in different time zones. Families spread out across the globe discovered the joys of virtual family get togethers. School alumni have reconnected through virtual reunions and homecomings. The more daring and creative have even held virtual sing-along performances, concerts, theatrical plays and other collaborative artistic performances which are also posted on social media.

With this trend in mind, PACES in collaboration with Zoom Philippines, organized a virtual (what else?) lecture last 11 November 2021 on how to “ZOOM your Way to the Top!” The lecture featured Ms. Larah Teng, Country Manager of Zoom Philippines and Malaysia, together with Zoom Customer Success Managers Mr. Jett Austria and Mr. Andrew Aseneta. New PACES member Mr. Roman “Oman” Moreno moderated the online lecture. Roman, who is currently enrolled at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business) as an Erasmus scholar from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Manila, formerly worked with ZoomPhilippines.

The lecture began with PACES President Marizel Rojas introducing PACES as an association of like-minded members of the Filipino-Austrian community who recognize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in a country’s development. She welcomed the speakers from Zoom and participants to the first online lecture of PACES. Ms. Rojas was followed by Ms. Larah Teng who introduced Zoom’s caring culture of delivering happiness to its users. Ms. Teng acknowledged Zoom’s responsibility to make sure its systems are up and running at all times to serve all the users who depend on Zoom for communications, including some half a million companies worldwide.

PACES President Marizel Rojas (left) and Ms. Lara Teng, Zoom Country Manager (right).

Mr. Austria and Mr Asenta covered the do’s and don’ts and tips and tricks in using the Zoom platform, from logging in to sharing screens for presentations, creating breakout rooms, and various settings to customize Zoom. They also explained the differences between Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar in terms of the abilities of the Zoom host, and the capabilities of participants. As was expected, all the speakers ably demonstrated how to make best use of the presentation capabilities built into the platform, and demonstrated how to keep control of a presentation and the ensuing Q&A session.

Some 32 participants from Austria, Italy and the Philippines, including some former STEMS70 scholars in the Philippines, attended the virtual lecture. The attendees represented various Filipino and other organizations in Europe such as the:

  • Philippine Austrian Cultural and Educational Society (PACES)
  • European Network of Filipino Diaspora Austria (ENFiD-Austria) and ENFiD EU
  • Vienna International Centre Club Filipino (VIC CF)
  • Bikol Society Austria (BSA)
  • United Nations Women’s Guild (UNWG)
  • Federation of Filipinos in Italy/Europe (Federfil)
PACES member Roman Moreno moderated and kept the meeting going briskly and on-schedule.

One participant commented after the meeting: “Overall, I would rate it as 10/10 (programme, speakers, moderator, content, delivery, efficiency, participant engagement, etc.) I was pleasantly surprised that despite the fact that I have been using Zoom for many years already, I was still able to learn many tips and tricks.”

The meeting itself was an excellent demonstration of the way to conduct an effective online lecture. Indeed, this Zoom lecture exemplified the words of some prominent world personalities, paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan, that “The meeting is the message.”

The PACES Lecture Series on Science and Technology

PACES itself had to get creative to hold its membership meetings and elections online, also using Zoom as its preferred platform. Of course, virtual meetings are not new to this society. Back in 2017, applicants in different provinces in the Philippines vying for the STEMS70 scholarships were interviewed online by a scholarship committee in Vienna through the use of online videoconferencing applications.

Aside from sponsoring scholarships in the Philippines, another main activity of PACES is the lecture series on science and technology, aimed at getting distinguished experts and scholars in the field of science and technology to deliver lectures before its members and friends in Vienna. While Zoom Your Way to the Top is its first ever virtual lecture, previous lectures have included:

And now, with the experience of its first successful virtual lecture behind it, expect more Zoom lectures to come!

by Dr. Efren Abaya