Please read this entire announcement. The following is an open letter, written by Matthew Vollbrecht, founder of The Tech Juggernaut, to anyone who currently attends, or plans to attend, any T TJ live session, including classes and virtual help sessions, or any other sessions that TTJ may one day offer. It is very important.
I have been praying and thinking a lot about exactly what to write here, and whether to even write anything at all, but I feel it needs to be done now, so as to prevent potentially bigger problems in the future. First off, I know it is very hard to determine someone’s tone when they write, so I want to assure you that my tone is not meant to be critical, demeaning, or combative. I thank God for the blessing of being able to work with all of you, and I genuinely appreciate all of you, and your continued support. I think I speak for the entire TTJ team when I say that you inspire us to keep doing what we do.
It is with that heart, and that spirit, that I feel the need to clarify a few policies, and draw attention to a few specific incidents that concern me.
First regarding policies:
In an attempt to clarify how messages and other communications are shared, I want to again mention the multiple channels we use to make announcements and share recordings. There are four basic distribution channels we use. These are:
The TTJ Blog, Google Classroom, WebEx, and the Google Groups email list, TTJfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Each of these serves a separate purpose, but since many people may be part of multiple events and courses simultaneously, there is a good chance that a few materials may come through multiple sources.
The TTJ Blog is a newsletter of sorts for anyone and everyone – all TTJ customers, interested spectators, and anyone else. The blog sometimes features audio recordings as a part of tips and tricks articles, in much the same way that many online news stories feature audio or video. On the blog you will find promotions, product reviews, and as stated, tips and tricks articles. You may also find announcements that may impact anyone interested in TTJ services. This means, all communications regarding TTJ Virtual Help Sessions get posted to the blog. These help sessions are for everyone – not just for class members, so that’s where you’ll see their information.
If you have subscribed to the TTJ Blog, you will also receive email notifications every time something is posted to the blog. Note that information that pertains only to a specific TTJ course will never be posted to the blog.
Google Classroom is an online learning platform. It’s where we distribute all materials for class members. Each of our courses will have a separate class in Google Classroom, and you will use an enroll link, not a code, to join each class. You need only enroll once, and again as stated, there is no code. All assignments, class teaching session recordings, and other class-related materials are posted to Google Classroom. Depending on your Google account settings, you may also get an email directly from Google Classroom, whenever we post something. Class-related announcements are also made to the Stream section of the Google Classroom app. Such announcements may also come to your Google account directly from Google Classroom, again depending on your account settings.
Cisco WebEx is the platform for all live teaching sessions and virtual help sessions. Every session requires a separate, brand new join link. We will never reuse a join link. Join links for all Virtual Tuesday and Thursday Help Sessions will be posted to the Blog, while join links for Monday and Wednesday class teaching sessions will be posted to the Stream of Google Classroom, and to the Google Group to be discussed next.
Google Groups Email List:
In addition to the above channels, if you registered for a class, your name is added to a Google Group for that class. Each class gets a separate group. Not all groups are ready yet. But eventually, you will be in a group for every class in which you are enrolled. You are enrolled automatically with the email address you provided when you completed the online registration process.
This Google Groups email list is used as an additional means of communicating important, class-related announcements, and class session join links – not help session join links.
Now on to other important business:
With such an incredibly large number of participants, with numerous personalities involved, this is bound to affect the dynamics of things. While we indeed understand this, we also have a certain atmosphere we are attempting to preserve. It has come to my attention, somewhat through first-hand knowledge and some from other concerned folks, that a small number of people, and I do mean very small, have been rude and abrupt with other students. I heard some of it myself on a few occasions. In some cases, this rudeness was more in tone of voice, while in others it was specifically in what was said. Sometimes it was said directly to another person, and in a few unfortunate cases, I suspect it may have been said by someone not realizing they were unmuted.
Again, let me stress that this is not the majority, but it is happening, among other assorted grumbling. My friends, I mean this in the most loving way possible – this is not ok. I understand it. We all have our moments. I don’t pretend to be perfect; I’m far from it, just ask my wife. Yet as an instructor in this course, and as the founder of TTJ, I cannot ignore it. Kliph, Rita, Lynne, Maria, and I always look so forward to these sessions, and part of the reason is because we get the chance to spend part of our day with such an awesome group of people, many of whom we have gotten to know andlove. As such, we strive to maintain an atmosphere of kindness, energy and excitement, loving support, Godly guidance, and professional courtesy. In a few isolated cases, some of what I’ve heard or been informed of, has not been up to those standards.
So, in response, I am making the following statements, and your continued participation in any TTJ sessions indicates your understanding and acceptance of them:
Firstly, please do not email, iMessage, or post to Google Classroom, if you cannot get into WebEx as early as you’d like. You are not having a problem joining. The meeting just has not opened yet. You are not standing out in the cold, you are waiting wherever you choose, for the virtual doors to open, and having to try again is a first-world problem. Posting about it is a distraction and an improper use of the time of other students and instructors who have to read it. Be patient. The doors will always be open by the class start time.
Secondly, it is imperative, that you please, please, please, stay muted. Do not unmute unless you are asked to, which will only happen during help sessions, not class sessions. We have had to re-mute participants too many times to count, and this does not happen by accident my friends. All participants enter the sessions muted, and it takes actual gestures on your part to unmute. This distracts instructors and other students, as well as being unpleasant for those who wish to listen back to the session recordings.
Along these same lines, please do not start your video during class. If you wish to use your cameras on help session days you may do so, though most of us won’t, but only when it is your turn to talk, and please be aware of your surroundings.
Next, remember that during class teaching sessions, all questions must be submitted using the Chat feature within the WebEx app. Also, on teaching days, please keep all questions on topic. The help sessions are for general questions – not class days. Questions submitted during class that do not relate to the topics being discussed will be ignored.
If you have a question you feel cannot wait for the next help session, you may send iMessages to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Maria’s new Apple Support Group.
Next up, please keep all suggestions, and all reports of issues, kind, courteous,, and positive. Evaluate whether your issue is actually a problem, or a preference. For example, some of you may like background music before class, others may not. But this does not hurt you in any way. It’s just a preference, not a problem. And yes, you can hear each other over the music. I know. I was there.
Furthermore, please be patient with the TTJ team. We have done our best to design the most awesome, and the strongest curriculum for you, and to make it available in the best possible ways. But, we know we’re not perfect. There are growing pains as we begin using new platforms, and believe it or not, we don’t know it all. We certainly value opinions and feedback, but at the end of the day, decisions have to be made, and we do our best to prayerfully, carefully, evaluate all circumstances and make the best decisions possible. What I can tell you is that the TTJ Instructor team works very hard – far harder than you will ever know, because they don’t make it known. And, they do it for free. We are all humans here at TTJ, and we all want this to be the best experience possible for everyone.
Finally, be kind to everyone. We all learn at different speeds, and in different ways, There are no stupid questions, everyone is at different places in their learning journeys, and everyone wants to do his/her best. A negative, critical, or abrupt attitude will not help anyone at all. Besides which, ,it is not your job to parent other students. Help them if you feel lead, but do not be abrasive. If the situation is too challenging for you, simply walk away, and do it kindly. If we hear anyone not keeping to this level of kindness, we will remove them from the session. No disrespect whatsoever will be tolerated, under any circumstances, and remember that other people may feel differently about what you said, in spite of how you intended it.
Once again I am so grateful to God for the chance to know all of you, and I believe you are a fantastic group of people. Let’s all do our best to make this the best learning environment anyone has ever experienced. Throughout this fall and spring training season we will take you to new heights, never before thought possible. You will be writing professional looking documents, creating multimedia presentations and videos, keeping grocery lists, and so much more. The entire instructor team is honored and overjoyed to be working with you, and we can’t wait to see the awesome things you’ll do with your devices by the end of thes courses. We are here for you, we care about you, and we want to help and support you in every way possible. That is our motivation. That’s why we do what we do. That is our heart. Thank you for taking the time to read this and adhere to it, and May God richly bless you all.