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COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures

Update for Mediation Institute Students and Members 23.3.2020

I would like to address a couple of measures that we are taking that have been prompted by the Coronavirus Pandemic to ensure that we are able to guarantee our services over the next weeks and months.

Backup Video Meeting Technology

As a risk mitigation measure, we have commissioned our own video training infrastructure that is physically based in Australia.  This server is live now and can be found in the conferences tag on the left-hand side of those courses that have been activated and it allows a full classroom as well as an online role-play training service.  Feel free to have a play if you have access and are that way inclined.

We currently use Zoom for webinars and role-plays and we believe that it is the best commercial product available for your training. We will continue to use this product for our training and with clients unless it becomes overrun by its new popularity worldwide.  Our Australian backup server has shown to be very responsive in our testing and is there to be prepared for these uncertain times.

Changes to our Servers

Secondly, we are currently in the process of moving three other servers we utilise for our learning management services from overseas.  Our IT people are currently duplicating our servers in new servers that are also in Australian Data Centres.  We are doing this to focus our exposure to our part of the world and to improve the responsiveness for our students. 

We manage all of our servers through our own team rather than pay for services from large multinational companies that may have different priorities in the coming months.  Once we have duplicated our servers and tested them in their new location we will move the internet connections that point to the active server from one to the other. 

What we need from you

The transition will happen in the early hours of the morning so is unlikely to impact on your studies in a practical way.  You will continue to log in and work on your courses in the same way as you have in the past however it’s best never to rely 100% on things working as they should.

Can I ask you until this transition occurs to keep a copy of any submission you lodge in our server in your own computer? You should do that anyway but there is the potential that if things don’t go as planned we will have to re-instal a recent backup. If you had completed work in that gap of time between the backup and when we decide we need to re-install the backup that recent will be lost. We hope you keep a copy of any uploaded files already so it shouldn’t cause an issue. There is unlikely to be an issue but keep track of the work you are submitting, keep a copy of the file if you are uploading and all will be well.  

Stepping up as leaders in your communities

We are living in a time that is unprecedented and it is not going to be easy for anyone. Our third request is something that is much more important.  

As mediators (qualified or otherwise) we are trusted professionals in this society.  Many people are in shock as to the way in which their lives have been threatened by the change in circumstances.  See our article on the Cycle of Grief and the Pandemic for what to expect next.

We need to step up and provide level headed, calming support to our family and community across this country and to our cousins overseas.  Self Isolation is only one step away from the scourge of loneliness that already impacts on much of our community.  We already know that loneliness is a major risk factor for young people and older people especially. https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/letter/articles/vh-letter-47-loneliness This information from Vic Health gives some insights into the issue.

These groups will be very adversely affected by the pandemic with older Australians literally fearing for their lives and having all of their social connections interrupted and younger people having their ability to enjoy their normal social activities, the social side of their education and employment deeply affected.

It’s going to be tough for all of us but many working in this profession are in a better position to weather the storm that we are entering and we call upon those of you who can to step up and provide local leadership in your local communities.

Some of the things that I am doing personally is using my facilitation skills to organise online check-in services with our local community. This is some information about what we’re doing with Casey Community Connect – Download

Of course, there are also the normal demands of our profession to guide people down a path of problem resolution. If you are not comfortable using video meeting or other remote approaches to facilitate mediation there are a few options we have available to help.

  • Video Meeting Facilitation Course – Current students have access to this course in addition to the course you have enrolled in. Members have a 50% discount off the course fee. https://www.mediationinstitute.edu.au/product/video-meeting-facilitator-course/ Log into the website to access the discount. If you are experiencing hardship let us know and we’ll work something out. If you are already competent in Video Meeting Facilitation and have not been Certified get in touch to discuss the process.
  • Members can participate for free in Video Mediations as role players – We have dozens of mediation role-plays each month and often are looking for extra-role players. Volunteer as a role player or even come along as an observer to get comfortable with online mediation. Just follow the Role Play Scheduler Link in the Mi Members Course to see what’s on. https://mi.study247.online/courses/9/
  • Arrange to do some practice with other members – get together with other members and arrange some informal practice sessions. You can use the Discussions in the Groups in the Mi Members Course to propose a specific role-play or the Mi Members Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/mi.member/
  • Book in for a coached practice Mediation Role Play – this option has a fee as it is a 2 hour session with one of our trainers but a great way to really get some help with video mediation, some practice mediation if you are a bit rusty or moving into a new area of work and is worth 2 hours of Professional Development for your CPD obligations as a NMAS Mediator or FDRP. https://www.mediationinstitute.edu.au/product/coached-mediation-practice-session/
  • Collaborate – are you skilled and confident in Video Mediation and Video Meeting Facilitation? That may be a saleable skill at the moment either for money or in exchange for experience. There are many well-established mediators, lawyers and others who are very much struggling with the transition to online delivery of professional services. What are the local collaborations that you can put in place to help them and establish yourself?

Our aim is to keep the communications open and support you through these troubling times.  Let us know if you are facing difficulties.

We are doing everything we can to look after our training team, members and students as we traverse this difficult time so reach out if you are facing difficulties and also reach out to your local communities because helping others is a great way to keep yourself moving forward as well.

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