The internet has brought much greater flexibility to getting people who live in different parts of the world together. For truly global networks, one issue with this is that at any given time, some participants must be awake in the middle of the night. However, the advantages of saving resources and time far outweigh this inconvenience. Free web-conference services are available for all of these options.
Web technologies are constantly evolving and being upgraded, which means that the options for arranging virtual meetings are constantly changing. Generally, web-based session options can be differentiated according to the following main types of interaction between participants:
- Auditory interaction: Conference calls or Teleconference
- Auditory and visual interaction: Videoconference
- Textual interaction: e-conference
Advice for CHOOSING this option (tips and traps)
- Web-based options need high-quality connections and high bandwidth: the more complex the technology used, the more demands it has (e.g. when using video, or including large numbers in a conference call).
- Meeting through the internet provides the advantage that discussions can continue beyond the time you might allot to a physical meeting.
Advice for USING this option (tips and traps)
- All of these options are based on simultaneous interaction and therefore require to have at least one moderator/facilitator. During a web-conference of several days, for example, the facilitator can help the discussion by posting summaries of the discussions at the end of each day. Also, the facilitator can help to steer discussions away from irrelevant tangents.
- All of these options have some extra features in common, such as the possibility of sharing files and chatting on the side between participants.
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