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Friday, June 12, 2009

Virtually a meeting

Just finished up the first ever virtual ICPSR Council meeting.

We used Adobe Connect as the technology, and scheduled the committee meetings last week, and the overall general session this afternoon. Asmat Noori (the assistant CNS director for technology operations) led the effort, and sat in on most of the meetings in case anyone needed technical support. So far the feedback has been pretty positive, and I expect we'll use this technology again in the future.

My own experience is that it works pretty well when the people already know each other, as we do in this case. And it also works well when a lot of the meeting is devoted to reporting on issues and projects v. intense, active collaboration to solve a pressing problem.

It certainly saves our Council members time; a couple of one- or two-hour phone calls over a two week period v. air travel to Ann Arbor for a two-day meeting. And, of course, there is a significant cost savings to ICPSR's membership since the cost of using Adobe Connect is about the same as the travel expenses for a single attendee.

I don't think we've seen the end of in-person Council meetings, but my prediction is that we'll see a blending of virtual and physical meetings in the future.

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