Mr Cotton,Charles L. Cotton wrote:We need to decide on a format for the conference and the fact that it will be on video will influence that decision. I'd like to get input from folks now so we can put something together by Dec. 5th.
This is not something that is a lecture with questions from the floor. It needs to be more of a roundtable, but we need to decide on how to put questions and speakers in que. The system allows all participants to send text messages to specific participants or to everyone and that can be used to take questions during the conference. I also think we should take questions in advance so we can have those lined up to begin the conference and not have to wait for questions to come in by text. We can publish those questions/topics so people can prepare and to prevent several people from texting the same questions.
There are also settings that will allow the system to automatically "feature" the site speaking, but depending upon the size of the group at various locations, this could be problematic. Ambient noise in a room may cause problems trying to use the automatic feature mode. We won't know until the conference. The alternative method is to "manually" select the speaker from the administrator console.
I'm going to open a thread in the TFC sub-forum to be used for submitting questions and topics for discussion. Anyone can submit a question or topic even if you will not be participating in the conference.
I have used video Teleconferencing (VTC) quite extensively in my job.. On both propriety systems only available to the military, and commercially available ones used in the business community.
When dealing with a large (more then 3-5 nodes) "untrained" audience, (a group that does not have a weekly reoccurring VTC, will be considered "untrained or experienced)
I commonly used three people to control the flow of the meeting.
1:Main presenter... or moderator
2:Main permissions ("voice") controller. (watching in incoming "voice " requests, giving and taking "voice" permissions as needed to control the flow)
3:Secondary observer with no other tasks than to watch the incoming voice permissions requests, track who has asked what and if they received a response..and prompt a distant node that a question or statement was made which they can/should provide a response to.
These three people are seated and in direct communication with each other ideally, though I have done it remotely with folks I've worked with before and using a secondary comms path.
(NOTE: #1&2 can be the same person if the presenter can manipulate the system efficiently while folwoing the VTC format, Q&A, and conversations in chat, voice, side bars in the room)
With these new, or untrained groups I used a manual "voice" permissions mode.. The presenter stated a topic, question ect.. those that were required to respond sent a "chat" when ready.. or those desiring to respond sent a "chat" when ready.
The ask, pause, respond all in manual mode worked well, it dealt with latency issues that become very confusing when a distant node viewer "thinks" no one else is talking, so starts up,,, only to actually be talking over another presenter on the line already.
It worked well to help get responses from nodes that may not have heard the question or topic.
The open mic free for all works very well in smaller groups of users (1~5) who are experienced and familiar with the system in use, the procedure and format of the VTC, and know the limitations of the system (latency or one or more nodes).
The Automatic voice mode works well for nodes that are well disciplined, have dedicated VTC locations free of distractions and stray noise. They become very confusing when those conditions are not met in my experience.
Hope that in some way helps....