||Region 3 Newsletter
Volume 15 Number 2
Region 3 e-Conferencing Experiences
Region 3 E-Conference Chair
For nearly 2 years now the seeds of electronic conferencing to support distributed /
collaborative work efforts have been developing and growing into a new way of working
together here in Region 3. Electronic Conferencing (e-conf) is one of the
elements in this transformation and therefore one of the subjects of this first issue of
the Web Based Region 3 Newsletter. This goals of this article are to:
- Acquaint you of the status of e-conferencing
- Provide insight into the resources to get you connected
- Challenge you to get involved
Brief History (How did we get to this point? )
The cost of conducting face to face meetings and conferences is proving to be a
limiting factor in many projects within IEEE, universities and some industries. The
results of the Region 3 e-Conferencing Project are very promising on filling that
time gap between face to face meetings and making the face to face meeting more
The journey continues, but the following milestones have been achieved so far:
- The e-Conferencing Guideline version1 (released at Sections' Congress '99) was developed
to provide a "road map" for IEEE entities that wish to get started in using
e-Conferencing as an integral part of their communication process. In this first phase of
the project, the Guideline concentrates on synchronous meeting tools and techniques that
model face to face meetings. This Guideline goes far beyond just applying technology to
the problem; rather, it provides a relatively complete solution involving tools, sound
meeting methods and the experience of participants.
- On 29 January 2000, the Region 3 Executive Committee (Excom), with 31 members in
attendance, conducted a business meeting utilizing the e-Conferencing Guideline. The
members, located in their homes or offices throughout the southeastern US, were online for
over 4 hours (two sessions of 2 hours). A full agenda including a "closed"
executive session was successfully completed.
- The preparation for the Region 3 Meetings at SoutheastCon in Nashville (April 8-9, 2000)
utilized e-conferencing to conduct an Excom Caucus on April 1, 2000.
- Region 3's Excom has dedicated one hour of each of its last two face to face meetings
for specialized training of e-conferencing principles. This training, dubbed
"E-conferencing 101 / 102", prepared the Excom members and many area, council,
and section chairs for the electronic conferencing process.
- A CD ROM containing tools, guidelines, and other documents was handed out to attendees
to assist those who did not wish to download these items from the Internet.
The next phases of the e-Conferencing Guideline development are underway. The goal is
to add asynchronous meeting techniques (web, e-mail, newsgroup, etc.) to the mix of tools
and techniques available. Region 3's Excom has voted to set up a dedicated experimental
server to speed these efforts along.
Introductory sessions have been recently conducted ...
- Papers were delivered to JamCon 2000 and Professional Development Conference 2000 by
Charles Lord with interest being expressed by IEEE volunteers around the world.
- A presentation to the IEEE Awards Board by David Green in May also sparked an interest
with a follow up Training session being scheduled in late September.
The focus continues to be on making the current technological capability
"friendly". The project itself is the product of collaboration using currently
available electronic conferencing tools. The new users of the e-Conf Guideline will still
have a learning curve to overcome but will be able to concentrate on conducting a meeting
and not on developing the meeting tools and methodologies as well.
The design criteria includes:
- An emphasis on using currently available tools that can easily be installed and operated
on the volunteer's computing platform.
- A phased development/deployment with ample opportunity for critique based on actual
- Recommendations regarding automated tools will be developed based on those that have
been actually used in the project.
- Continual release of revisions to the Guideline will be performed following extensive
use internally in the project and external beta Testing.
- Since "one size will not fit all", the Guideline should contain more of what
to do rather than a cookbook of how to do it.
The details of the project can be found on the web at http://www.ewh.ieee.org/reg/3/e-conf . If
you have any questions, please feel free to contact the members of the team by sending an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are welcome to join the project at any point in time but the sooner you do the
sooner you will reap the benefits. The most important thing you can do as a volunteer in
Region 3 is climb aboard.
Midst the glamour of the tools and the glitz of the technology resides the
collaborative work ethic that drives the volunteer based organization we know as IEEE. In
"It ain't just the technology but the total methodology of how
we work together that is important".
Preparation by: The Region 3
e-Conf Project Team.
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