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Finishing the 2020 season online Empty Finishing the 2020 season online

Sun May 17, 2020 5:55 pm
By now I think most of us are aware that AMTA sent out a survey to the remaining ORCS teams and the teams who have qualified for NCT asking about teams' opinions on finishing the 2020 season via Zoom. I think that's a really interesting topic and I wanted to give people space to discuss it.

Along those lines, there's a new episode of The Mock Review headed to your feeds momentarily. We did a roundtable episode last night with Nat Warner of Wesleyan (and Northwestern) about several topics, including this one, and Nat said something that I really found interesting. He suggested that the three remaining ORCS could get rid of geographical boundaries since no one has to travel anymore, and could just put the 72 teams into three roughly equal groups of 24 based on TPR. This would help eliminate the possibility of one ORCS being much harder than the others, and could help make them as equal as possible.

There's still some logistical concerns - time zones is the one that jumps to mind for me, both for judges and for teams - but I was really intrigued by that idea. In general I'm curious to know if people think "some mock trial is better than no mock trial" applies even over Zoom or a similar platform, if the alternate choice is never finishing the 2020 season.
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Finishing the 2020 season online Empty Re: Finishing the 2020 season online

Mon May 18, 2020 3:04 pm
I guess for me personally, as someone who loves the activity, I'll take Zoom Mock over no Mock at all. I think it'll have pretty drastic effects on the overall success of different styles of competitors, as Attorneys and Witnesses known for much more theatrical and bombastic performances will probably be at a disadvantage with the online disconnect they'll have between their performance and the people scoring them. I would bet that teams that rely on extreme polish in every aspect of their performance will be in the best position to win on an online competition.

I am curious about how some thing would be handled. For example: Demos, would we just have witnesses set up easels they can interact with over webcam, or will AMTA let us maybe present some type of online demonstrative in trial. Could maybe open the door for super creative teams to do things never possible in an in person tournament.

I also wonder how they'll deal with the issue of teams using the internet during trial. AMTA has always been strict about teams not communicating with anyone outside their roster until the ballots are turned in. Strictly speaking there is no way they could actually enforce that rule. Outside of an honor system, there's nothing to stop competitors from communicating with coaches or other individuals in tabs outside of Zoom.

But even with these concerns, I'm willing to try it. My team made it to ORCS for the first time for our program since 2013, and we were unfortunately unable to compete before COVID shut everything down. The fact that AMTA appears to be doing everything they can to give us this experience is really admirable to me. I'm willing to try it despite my concerns. It may not fully replicate what we would have gotten before the shutdown, but I think as a community, we're creative enough that we can make it work and sort out its kinks as best we can.
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Finishing the 2020 season online Empty Re: Finishing the 2020 season online

Wed May 20, 2020 10:44 am
Either way it's a bad outcome, but getting as much participation as possible is preferable over nothing. No matter what happens there will be heartburn by plenty of people/programs. The real fly in the ointment is the logistics. The people who make these tournaments happen area already volunteering a huge amount of time and effort. At some point it is unfair and unreasonable to expect them to add to that to invent a new tournament format that might only be used one time. Maybe this will be the way it goes forever. If so, AMTA will have to adjust long term but a quick switch for one year seems next to impossible given the scale of what would be needed. Several tournaments, with dozens of teams, so many judges needed, and no way to make sure each of the teams has equal access to technology. What is Team A has great tech and Team B doesn't? Team A has a member who happens to have recording tools, some good mics, a decent camera. Team B has a laptop. It's like the problem with "professional dress" comments but now it's about your tech. Can you imagine the outcry the first time a judge says "You really need to make sure you have a better picture for your presentation, you were grainy and that was distracting for me."
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Finishing the 2020 season online Empty Re: Finishing the 2020 season online

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