‘Out of an abundance of caution’, this year’s on-premises version of the APS Summer Seminar on Philately, held annually without fail since 1980, was cancelled, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Typically, Summer Seminar would enroll between 65–85 students for a combination of week-long and shorter courses, ranging from Stamp Technology and Exhibiting, to specialist courses on Washington-Franklins and engaging with postal history.
Utilising GoToWebinar technology, the education department of the APS hit it out of the park this year. During the month of June, there were 58 more-or-less hour-long sessions (45 different classes) taught by a number of different recognised experts in the field. All sessions were recorded and will be available in the future. A flat tuition fee of $10 per course was charged (the same price as planned for accessing the recorded classes on demand online). These recordings will be available for purchase in July on the C3a Ecommerce site of the APS. Some sessions, such as learning to use the American Philatelic Research Library, are free. A listing may be found at: stamps.org/learn/c3a-online-learning
By the end of the month, there had been more than 1400 registrations for classes, with more than 450 unique users. Each free Friday session packed between 50 and 80 attendees, and paid session registrations (one-hour sessions) ranged from a few to 53 (largest enrolment)! The top three-hour course (in three one-hour sessions) had a registration of 40.
While the APS plans to resume the standard format of Summer Seminar next year, the wild success of the online learning environment has led to planning monthly sessions, which will kick off sometime this autumn. It is not yet known what the cost or class content will be, but collectors and dealers are clearly enjoying this type of virtual gathering.
Article by Wayne Youngblood