Hybrid Meetings at DUSON

By | August 10, 2021

August 10, 2021

Two WiFi engineers got married.  I heard the reception was incredible.

As many of us return to campus, we’ll continue with Zoom meetings for a while.  Eventually, though, we will be hosting and joining more hybrid meetings.  Recall that a hybrid meeting is one in which some participants are meeting together in a conference room while other participants are joining via a video conferencing tool, such as Zoom.

Hybrid meetings can be less efficient and create issues with what is known as collaboration equity.  We’ll take a look at this, then review Zoom meeting best practices.

Here’s what you need to know …

But first, here’s our Tech Tip of the Week …

Did you know that August 6 was the 30th anniversary of the first website launch?

In December, 1990, Tim Berrners-Lee had become frustrated with the various file formats, programming languages and platforms his fellow scientists had been using to share their research.

By modeling a network system that used hypertext, Lee built a prototype that allowed different kinds of computers to share information effortlessly.  He invited the world to participate on August 6, 1991 and the World Wide Web was born.

Click here to see what it looked like

Collaboration Equity – A Definition

Collaboration Equity is the term used to describe the process of ensuring the ability for all participants to contribute equally, regardless of location, role, experience level, language, and device preference.

What does this have to do with Zoom and hybrid meetings?

Think of your last Zoom meeting.  We, as a school, are pretty good with those.  Did everyone have their cameras on?  Was everyone displaying themselves from the shoulders up with good lighting?  Did everyone have a good connection?  That’s strong collaboration equity.  Everyone participating on an equal level.

Almost like being together in a conference room in Pearson or IPE.

How about your last hybrid meeting?  Could you see everyone from the the shoulders up?  If you were on Zoom, could you see and hear everyone in the conference room?  Were you able to listen to side conversations between people in the room?  If you were in the room, how often did you look at the remote participants?  Did they participate at the same level?

See the difference?  Hybrid meetings require more consideration and have the potential for low collabration equity.

In the zoom screenshot below, the Zoom attendees are clearly seen.  Can you see the others who are in the conference room?  Would it be easy to see who was speaking?  Did you also notice that the on-site participants must split their gaze between the screen and the people in the room to see everyone?  Some attendees are only 6 pixels high, while others look natura

These distractions can make a hybrid meeting less effective than either an all Zoom or all on-site meeting.  Meeting hosts should understand these dynamics and ensure that all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally.

Hybrid Meeting Best Practices

If you host a hybrid meeting, here are some ways to make your hybrid meetings effective for both remote and on-site participants:

  • Know the room technology.  Most DUSON rooms have the same AV, but it’s good to check it out beforehand.  Call SON-IT with any questions.
    • DUSON conference rooms will have standard laminated cards showing available technology and FAQs for you to use.
  • Make sure all remote attendees have clear connection information and understand your expectations for how to participate.
  • Share an agenda before the meeting and stick closely to it.
    • This should keep side conversations to a minimum.
  • Are multiple people sharing materials?  Try to get all materials before the meeting and have one person share them from the same location.  It’s consistent and less prone to error.
  • As a host, be sure to sit in a location that has a good view of the on-site and remote participants at the same time so you don’t have to keep turning your head.
  • Make sure you engage remote participants randomly during the meeting.
  • If you are hosting a round-robin, call on each participant by name so they don’t talk over each other.
  • You may consider asking on-site participants to join via Zoom – even if they are in the room.  It works fine if they turn down their sound and mute microphones.  This allows everyone to see each other on the same level.  Great collaboration equity.
    • In the Zoom screenshot above, two of the Zoom participants are actually in the conference room, too.

If you are attending a hybrid meeting remotely, make sure to let the host know when you would like to contribute.  Side conversations?  Have them in the comments section so everyone can see them.

Zoom Meeting Best Practices

Zoom ClassroomHere’s a review of Zoom best practices for participants and hosts. Many of us are zoom pros by now. Even though we’ve spent a year using Zoom for a majority of our meetings, it’s good to review these guidelines to make sure we’re presenting our most professional selves to our colleagues.

  • If your meeting host is using their camera, use your camera.
    • Adjust your camera to show shoulders and head, just like you’d see in a conference room.
    • The only time to ignore this rule is if your bandwidth is low (< 3mbs).
      • Check with SON-IT if you are not sure of your bandwidth.
    • Update the comments to let everyone know why your video is off.
    • If your video is off, stay engaged by using the comments and/or conversation if appropriate.
  • Make sure you have a clean, simple background.  Or use a virtual background.
  • Test your audio before joining to make sure you can be heard clearly.
  • When in doubt, mute.
    • If you’re not the host, stay muted unless you are ready to speak
    • After you speak, re-mute.
  • Have a question?  Use the comments section.
  • If a dog, cat or child walks in, – or you get a phone call – mute and turn off your video temproarily.  Update the comments to let everyone know you’ll be right back.

If your bandwidth is < 1 mbs, consider using your phone and simply call into the meeting.

Are you the meeting host?

  • Make sure you provide your attendees complete connection information.
  • Consider how to make attendee introductions (if needed):
  • Instead of a general invitation for everyone to introduce themselves, call on each so no one has to guess when it is their turn.
  • Or simply introduce them yourself.
  • If you have a long slide deck, be sure to stop every 3 or 4 slides to make sure everyone is keeping up.

Following these simple guidelines will make your meetings more efficient and productive.

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