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Reflections on NE Cluster Virtual Session

Posted by C Elizabeth Thomas on August 27, 2006

This morning 7 students and one faculty member came together in the first official virtual meeting of this cluster. We met via Skypecast. The Skypecast was open for login for 1/2 hour (15 minutes before and after the start time). This allowed me as the host to communicate with people who were not from Fielding, asking them to exit and ejecting when the time for the session was closed. The upside of this approach was we had a private session, essentially. The downside was two people had to exit due to technical problems and could not re-enter.

We had a well conceived agenda that followed the usual path of our cluster meetings:
Checkin (people report where they are in the program or life in general!)

Then we had reports from national session by those who were present, a bit on student leadership opportunities, conversation about the LCSS project (asking people to make sure they submitted comments on the project to the project team), update on library WebEX sessions and review of the schedule of meetings for the year.

We discussed the schedule for the upcoming year and made a few changes. Folks were glad to know of the scheduled presenters (Mike Suarez in September, Norman Harris in October… rest to be finalized… details on Felix forum).

We discussed the potential formats for the virtual sessions, of which I proposed there were three. There may be more but this set seemed appropriate for those present. Each type of session requires some up front preparation by the faculty in the form of a (1) video blog; (2) narrated Powerpoint (or similar); or, (3) suggested reading list. The group decided they would prefer either 1 or 2. I agree. Attendees will view the up front materials and come to the VC session prepared. I am to finalize the schedule with Four Arrows and Mark Scanlon-Green for December and January. Yolanda Gayol possibly for March, but for other reasons that may not work the best.

November RRI plan is not going to work… Jenny is not available. Sue will suggest other possible faculty participants.

My KA for TLT has me giving a presentation to the VC in either February or March (I recalled that after the meeting today) so I will need to consult with Sue G and the group on that.

From a research perspective, the group felt very good about a partipatory action research project. Sue G will be providing participant forms. I need to repost my questions (I think I’ll do this through surveymonkey or some online survey tool in order to make it easy to followup!) so folks can provide some baseline data. (Survey is out for review on 8/27/06… link is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=697612513831.

Here are the questions….

Was the meeting on August 26th your first experience with non face-to-face meeting? Feel free to share other relevant experiences.

Was the preparation and participation in the cluster meeting on August 26th your first experience with Skype/VOIP? Feel free to share experiences in other contexts.

Was the August 26th meeting your first experience with Skypecasting? Feel free to share any other relevant experience(s).

What are your concerns about using a virtual approach (specifically Skypecasting) for Cluster meetings? Please don’t hesitate to share any and all as each of brings different experience to the table that can be incorporated into the ongoing planning for these types of meetings.

What are your hopes for a virtual approach to meeting?

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