New Pathways News

Big Pathways News Toastmasters 101 Podcast

Breaking News – 40 minutes too late

Just about 40 minutes after I released last week’s podcast episode, Toastmasters President Daniel Rex’s report to the International Convention was posted on Facebook – including some big news about Pathways. New Pathways news.

My thanks to Julie Kertesz and her blog Pathways Experience for posting the video.

So, after reflecting on the nature of time and the amount of work I’d need to do to re-record the episode, I’ve decided to do the update on this episode instead.

But this is all big news, so I’m glad to spend some time talking about changes that have been made, especially the ones that I’ve talked about on the podcast that I said were important.

Let’s start with the falling walls around the pathways projects.

Pathways News 1

Daniel Rex announced last summer that it was his intention to bring down those walls what blocked us from seeing what the projects in each pathway entailed.  I rejoiced!  I even put a link to the Facebook video in one of my earliest episodes of Toastmasters 101 to remind him of it – not that I’m assuming my little podcast has his attention… but maybe…

During his report to the convention, the big Pathways news announcement was made:  the walls are falling.  In fact, it’s possible that you can already see your entire Pathway’s projects already. As of today, I still can’t see them, but that may be that TI’s IT hasn’t finished its work yet.  But the walls are coming down!  The roll-out – or roll-down – of these changes are already in process according to President Rex.

I just spent a couple of hours with a fellow senior Toastmaster – a double Distinguished Toastmaster – and we talked about this issue.  If there was one thing that was going to drive her out of Toastmasters, it was this very issue.  She wanted to know what the projects required of her because, to be honest, she doesn’t want to do certain kinds of projects.  She doesn’t want to do any High Performance Leadership projects.  Aboslutely, she’s not interested in another DTM.  She just wants to give speeches.

She’s very happy about this change!  I know several senior Toastmasters who will be happy to hear this too – if we haven’t already lost them.  Maybe this will win them back?  Perhaps.  Many of them are sticking to the classic program for this year and talking about leaving in June 2020 – this change may inspire them to stay.

Pathways News 2

The second bit of Pathways news is also very welcome – we’re getting an overhaul of the Basecamp page.  I’m sure it’s not just me who has been repeatedly frustrated by the Basecamp page.  It’s not just the difficulty selecting a Pathway – it’s the menu, it’s the access to my path.  In other words, it’s pretty much everything about that page annoyed me.  Daniel Rex showed a mock-up of the page which he quickly said is NOT how it’s going to look when it’s released, but that may be too bad.  I liked what I saw there.  It looked… functional.  I’m not demanding much – just ease of use!

I also saw a post on Facebook that access to Pathways is now available from our profiles. I tested this myself and it now works.  I still think there are too many steps to get me to my education transcript and training, but that may come.

Let’s hope that the access to uploading our records will be easier to find!  Daniel Rex says that it took him 2 minutes to scan and upload his evaluation from a paper copy.  Ok – but the problem wasn’t the speed, it was finding where to put them.  Let’s hope that gets easier.

This news – along with the recent announcement that when you click on a link in Basecamp, it will open a new tab, not a pop-up, makes this year one where we’ve seen huge improvements in the Pathways programs.

Pathways News 3

This third bit of news is less about current Toastmasters and more about new start-up clubs.  In the past, before a club chartered, the potential members could only see the Ice Breaker material and give only that speech for credit.  If the club had any delay in chartering, then people didn’t get any access to further training or credit for other speeches.  Now pre-charter clubs will have access to all of Level 1.

This is fantastic news! There are clubs that take over a year to charter and it must be very frustrating to be stuck there.  I know of one club that’s taken more than a year to charter – this would have probably have put an end to the club if they hadn’t been under the classic education system.

Pathways News 4

Do you know someone who is trying to pick a pathway?  The other big news came out earlier this week:  the 30 day return policy on a Pathway has now be changed to 90 days.

This was the right decision to make by the Board of Directors and the TI management.  There was no way that the average Toastmaster could complete Level 1 and Level 2 in 30 days to get into the projects at Level 3 where the pathways start to diverge.   Now that the walls are down and the 90 day exchange policy is in place, I think we’ve a much fairer system.  That respects reality and the members’ need to know what they’re choosing.

Are these changes the perfect solution?

What would be perfect?

What could be perfect?  What I love may be something that someone else hates.  I think we needed changes – absolutely.  It wasn’t just me who was unhappy with Pathways and told International about our discontent.

Here are a few things I think still need attention:

  • I still can’t open more than 1 tab from the Tutorials and Resources menu, so if I want to compare several options by looking at the check lists, I can’t.
  • There’s still no Storytelling Pathway.
  • I think the access to Basecamp from the front page of the website is awkward and takes way too much time.
  • Accessing my education transcript is overly complicated and the links from the transcript to the training often don’t work, even for completed tasks.

Despite these problems, in general,  President Daniel Rex announced several positive changes.  I look forward to more improvements as time goes on.

My new Pathway

Last night, I agreed to do a webinar for my district about leveling up from one level to the next.  In order to demonstrate this, I have to start a new level and get through the first four speeches in about 2 months.  This is very doable.

I need to pick another pathway soon.  I’ve finished 2 pathways already – Leadership Development and Presentation Mastery.  I’m undecided which pathway to choose next, but it’s good to know that the choice will now be made with a lot more information available to me.

Champion of Public Speaking

Congratulations to this years Champion of Public Speaking Aaron Beverly!  Here’s a link to his speech on Youtube.

Next week, we’ll compare the Level 1 and Level 4 learning options.  You don’t think there’s much to compare?  Come back and find out in our next episode.

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Toastmasters 101 is a podcast production of Toastmasters District 10.