Distance meeting or distance learning technology may be used when distances are too great for participants to travel, great meeting frequency is required, timeliness is a factor or simply greater efficiencies are desired. The Great Plains United Methodist Conference spans two very large states and requires group leaders to think strategically about the proper combination of face-to-face meeting interaction and the use of interactive meeting technology. Following is a menu of meeting technologies currently employed by Great Plains United Methodists and how you can initiate their use. The following meeting options are provided from smallest to largest meeting format.
Using traditional telephone conference call technology, the number of connections is unlimited and several meetings can be conducted simultaneously. Conference calls are best with groups of 3-6 people, 12-15 is an absolute maximum with the organizer setting a precise model for conversation, such as each person identifying themselves before speaking, and other ground rules. To schedule a telephone conference call, contact the appropriate liaison for your department.
Number of possible connections: 1 to 1 (unless participants pay for a multi-person account, Skype Premium.) This option uses a webcam with built-in microphone and your computer speakers.
Number of possible connections: 25 (including presenter); number of simultaneous meetings: 1
This format is good for small meetings where it is important to share visual aids. Participants using their webcams can use facial expressions and other non-verbal communication. It is also excellent for two-way communication where discussion and feedback are important elements of the meeting. Meetings can be recorded, allowing participants to access the material and discussion later.
Schedule through the communications office, firstname.lastname@example.org (Rachel Moser), 402-464-5994 x115. GoToMeeting leaders will receive confirmation with meeting instructions for participants. Your conference is not scheduled until you receive this confirmation.
First-time leaders can schedule a training in advance to ensure familiarity with the platform. Meeting leaders will be responsible for distributing meeting connection information to participants.
GoToMeeting is an application that uses a webcam and online download. Phone conferencing is available through the GoToMeeting platform. Normal long distance charges apply.
Number of possible connections: 100 (including presenter); number of possible simultaneous meetings: 3
This format is good for meetings where it is important to share visual aids. Participants can see the presenter’s facial expressions. Two-way communication is possible, contingent upon the number of participants. Meetings can be recorded, allowing participants or people unable to attend the meeting to access the material and discussion later.
To request a meeting time and date, send an email to email@example.com. Leaders will receive confirmation with meeting instructions for participants. Your conference is not scheduled until you receive this confirmation.
First-time meeting leaders are encouraged to schedule a training in advance to ensure familiarity with the platform. Meeting leaders are responsible for distributing participant connection information.
Adobe Connect uses a webcam, an online application and VOIP (voice over internet). Integrated telephony is available with Adobe Connect and is recommended for connecting locations with low bandwidth. Conference call fees apply.
The Great Plains Conference has 14 video conferencing locations throughout Kansas and Nebraska (see map). A limited number of simultaneous connections are available.
Site capacities range from 8-10 participants up to 40 participants. This format is good for education/instruction/preaching sessions as well as small meetings where it is important to see facial expressions and other non-verbal communication. It is also excellent for two-way communication where discussion and feedback are important elements of the meeting.
First-time meeting leaders are encouraged to schedule training in advance with your staff liaison or one of the communications staff members to ensure familiarity with the system. Meeting leaders are responsible for distributing participant connection information and local videoconferencing site management once a meeting is scheduled.
A map showing all locations is available at www.greatplainsumc.org/VideoConferencingLocations. A video conference reservation form link is located at www.greatplainsumc.org/distancemeetingoptions under the Conference Leadership Resources link under the Administration tab. Alternatively, contact Ann Manske in the Wichita Office at 800-745-2350 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to initiate a video conference meeting. Manske will reserve the locations with each site’s scheduler for the time requested on a space available basis.
All site-specific needs or requests such as refreshments or special room setup should be coordinated through the local site scheduler. The reserved videoconferencing sites and the initiator of the meeting will receive a meeting request through Outlook notification for the booked video conference.
To arrange for a video conference using any of these sites, please take the following steps:
Great Plains Conference video-conferencing facilities including contact person, address and room capacity.
Alliance UMC (30)
Chanute First UMC (20)
Dodge City District Office (8)
Hays District Office (8)
Kansas City District Office (15)
Kearney First UMC (40)
Lincoln Conference Office (40)
Topeka Conference Office (20)
Wichita Conference Office (20)
Webcasts are similar to broadcasts, but usually to an invited audience delivered over the Internet. Webcasts are useful for the presentation of educational material and presentations to large target audiences. Interaction occurs through email and social media. Webcasts can be watched from a home computer or as a group activity in a large setting where a large screen projects the webcast for a group.
Current programs using the live streaming technology include Next Steps, ABIDE and Wesleyan Live. Traditionally it has also provided conference leadership the ability to distribute important information and dialogue on conference polity and programs. Webcasts can be originated from any location with sufficient Internet upload and download speeds. They can also be produced with one or multi-camera production values. Webcasts can be recorded for future review, editing and distribution.
The Great Plains United Methodist Conference has invested in the ability to connect people across the area. We invite you to take advantage of these many formats for communication. Don’t know where to start? Contact the communications office at 402-464-5994 to review the possibilities and to select the appropriate meeting option for your group or project.