by Jonathan Vatner | September 01, 2004

IllustrationOver the past three years, meetings industry associations among many others have begun to offer a sizeable portion of their education on the web. “Online programs extend our education to those who might not be able to attend a conference,” says Marsha Hawk, vice president, education, for the Chicago-based Professional Convention Management Association.
For meeting planners who have neither the time nor the funds to justify a university course or an educational trip, the following online programs might provide much-needed professional development with a minimum of hassle.

American Society of Association Executives

Program: School of Association Management Online
Who should enroll: Inexperienced association executives
Course description: A variety of four- and six-week courses build knowledge in areas such as meetings management, educational programming and legal issues. Students spend three to four hours per week, at their convenience, studying materials and participating in  discussion groups. There are no tests; those who complete all the assignments receive three credits per week of the course toward a Certified Association Executive designation.
Cost: Four-week courses run $325 for ASAE members, $425 for nonmembers. Six weeks: $425 and $525, respectively.

Program: Virtual seminars
Who should enroll: Anyone interested in current issues facing associations
Course description: These 90-minute presentations, which participants can listen to over the phone and watch on the Internet, occur one Wednesday per month. ASAE’s Education & Conferences department chooses an important topic of the times, such as customer service, ethics or attrition, and selects one or more qualified speakers to present. Questions are answered at the end of the presentation.
Cost: $179 members, $279 nonmembers