04 July 2008

Gmail Chat Makes Summer Meetings Easier

On Wednesday the yearbook staff had their first official online meeting using Gmail Chat. It was a great success! We decided to try this avenue because some staffers lack transportation to school or have summer classes and the like (okay, some were still sleeping). This was an easy way for all of us to get together. Our primary goals were to talk about ideas for a domain name for staff and to set up training schedules for photography and writing. We did talk about all of those and set up a face-to-face training for next week, but the whole experience was much like talking to teenagers in person. They were all over the place. Someone mentioned craving a frappucino and it took five minutes to get everyone refocused! Several staffers were unable to attend the meeting so they emailed later requesting the transcript of the chat. What a great way to get everyone caught up.
So, what worked and what didn't?
  • Worked great way to get everyone together
  • Worked students are able to follow the progression of the chat easily
  • Worked the whole process was probably more efficient use of summer time than a face-to-face meeting
  • Needs Improvement a few of the kids kept dropping off the chat and we couldn't figure out why. One came back but could no longer see text responses.
  • Needs Improvement I'd like all of the kids to have their photos (or some graphic representing them) online. I like seeing the picture of the person. Maybe avatars would be a good idea.
  • For Next Time assign a moderator to get participants back on track. It would be much easier to move forward if just one person had that job.
  • For Next Time meet with editors early and email the meeting agenda to participants so they know what to expect.