Telling Campfire Stories from Multiple Campgrounds: An Exploration of Effective eMeeting Tools

Concurrent Session 8

Brief Abstract

We all love a good campfire story, but what do you do if you’re not all at the same camp site? There are so many online meeting solutions to choose from nowadays, how do you choose? Learn what questions to ask and practical strategies in this hands-on lab.


Susan Picard is the Coordinator for Technology Development at Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute. She enjoys web development and design, and supervises a Help Desk specializing in support for online students, faculty, and staff. Favorite activities include any kind of water sport, especially those she can share with her family and two goofy yellow labs. Ask Sue about online collaboration!

Extended Abstract

We all love a good campfire story, but what do you do if you’re not all at the same camp site?  What if you’re a master outdoorsman, but your team consists of junior rangers and greenhorns?  Or vice-versa? How do you set up your campfire so that everyone gets that genuine, goose bump inducing experience, even from afar?

It’s a known fact that it’s not a matter of whether to meet online or not – the question is really HOW.  With the plethora of meeting tools available, it’s hard to select the correct tool to get your unique engagement experience handled well. Some tools excel at handling complex collaborative tasks such as file or application sharing, while others succeed in their ease-of-access and ability to get teams up and running quickly. You may have instances where you simply want to share a resource and discuss. But at other times, you may want to have other folks share their resources, annotate, and more.  How do you choose?

Have you ever tried to share video in a web conference, only to find out the audio won’t work?!  Have you tried to have a large meeting, only to find out that you’re limited in the number of attendees?!  We have!  And better still, we know which solution works best for sharing a myriad of presentation types.  By the end of this session, you will learn new methods and tool that will ensure that your team members will be able to feel the chill of your scariest campfire story, even if they can’t feel the warmth of your fire.

This casual and engaging session will demonstrate several product offerings and take attendees on a tour of some scenarios they might encounter using these tools. We’ll show how we came up with our solutions and also share our stumbles along the way. You’ll be able to see first-hand how things look from different campsites. 

After completing this innovation lab, participants will come away with ideas for questions they should be asking to evaluate needs when planning a virtual meeting event. Based on the corresponding answers, they will then be able to assess the best options available to suit the needs of their emeeting. In addition, attendees will have a handful of ideas for using online meeting solutions in new and creative ways, giving them the spark to light their own campfire and make better campgrounds!  Lastly, handouts will be provided to illustrate experiences using meeting solutions in a variety of different situations. The session will conclude with details on where to get more information about additional tools and sources of inspiration to make virtual meetings work for you, keeping that campfire glowing brightly.