Friday, July 9, 2010

Face2Face meetings: a thing of the past?

As some know I'm now a part of Project Umonya, a Google CS4HS initiative at UCT. Since it is being run by essentially computer geeks we seem to have moved away from face to face meetings (this is difficult at the moment with 1 in Austria, 1 in Switzerland, 1 in USA, 1 in Stellenbosch and 1 in Cape Town). Instead we have moved entirely into the realm of online meetings and planning tools.

Firstly meetings are scheduled on Doodle to find a time that suits everyone. The time is then decided and a Google Calendar invite/iCal event is sent out as a reminder.

Meeting agendas are posted on Etherpad for comment and editing a day or two before the scheduled date/time, you can save revisions, highlight changes by different people in different colours (the only drawback are no attachment/image facility).

The meetings themselves take place on IRC or Google Group Chat (depends on the SA internet connection). Any supporting documents are posted on pastebin for review. A bot on the IRC channel then takes minutes (I'm not kidding, you set it to meeting mode and tell it to record decisions and full log and attendance). If we need to conscript volunteers, we create a Doodle form with time availability options.

Minutes are compiled at the end and sent via email for review of decisions and todo lists and then the cycle starts again for a progress meeting. I know it sounds crazy but it seems to be working

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