Tuesday, 26 April 2011


On the 7th April I attended an e-Responsibility event at Gateshead College.  This was a follow up event from the e-Responsibility Conference that was held there last November.  The conference had been a really interesting and positive event with good speakers including Dr Tanya Byron, author of the Byron Review. 
The e-Responsibility event this month was the next step after the conference and was the inaugural meeting to set up a forum that will meet regularly.  There were representatives from colleges, both staff and students, from schools, from Northumbria Police, from NGfL and other institutions and interested parties.
There were a variety of presentations which were very interesting especially the ones showing how students studying Performing Arts had created perfomances for children in schools to make them aware of e-Safety.  It was a different approach and the impact was clear i.e. that the primary and secondary school children were engaging with the older students and the performance.  The presentations were interspersed with activities for delegates at the tables and were useful in forming opinions and collecting views about where the forum should go from here.  The collaboration was useful and it was interesting to hear the views of others.
From my point of view I think it is important that we consider e-Responsibility as a wider issue not just as e-safety and also to make it positive and upbeat.  The advantages of using the Internet outweigh the disadvantages - however it is essential that it is used carefully in the same way that you would use any powerful tool. 
I also think it is essential that a different approach is used for FE students than is used for primary and secondary school students - sometimes they have heard it all before in exactly the same way so disengage. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Advantages and disadvantages of online meetings and conferences

Advantages and disadvantages of online meetings and conferences


  • green issues - no travel costs, reduced cost of setting up a venue
  • use of technology
  • can use features of the software such as voting
  • can 'see' presenter - better than teleconferencing
  • can 'chat' at same time - put forward questions


  • Not as exciting / inspiring / interesting as a live presenter or speaker
  • Presentation needs to be interesting - risk of 'blahing' as captive audience
  • Presenter isn't getting feedback of feel of audience - can't adapt as going along
  • Need opportunities to interact otherwise not interesting - audience lose interest
  • Technology sometimes doesn't work.

This is just a very brief summary of advantages and disadvantages of delivering online meetings and conferences. I think it is important to distinguish between the two - for meetings it can be very effective especially if the partcipants have met in the past, if the remit of the group is known, if there are short sharp agenda items, if the purpose and outcomes of the meeting are clear and, as in all effective meetings, the chair is good at facilitating. This is not to say that online meetings shouldn't be used for more informal gatherings and sharing ideas - this is great if that is the purpose and all the participants are enthusiastic - in fact this is probably the best way and situation to use online collaborative environments.

Online conferences are different, I think although I'm not an expert. From a personal point of view I don't want to log in to an online conference and see someone presenting from their sitting room. I would like to see the person delivering just as they would at a live event. I suppose what would be ideal is for the presentations to be streamed live plus a view of the presentation slides plus a chat or text wall for comments plus an interaction opportunity...... plus the chance to 'wander' between sessions to parallel presentations ......I'd get my own tea and biscuits!

If you have any examples of great online conferences that you have attended or participated in then please let me know, I'd be really interested.

Posted by claire donlan at 01:55 0 comments