Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Intellectual property webinar

The Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre hosted a web based online seminar (webinar) on "IP Growth Cycle of Early-Stage Companies", 11 November 2008. This was free and a useful event, although it did not cover open access/open source. I wanted to ask about that but the event suddenly ended twenty mintues early, before I had a chance to. The "webniar" format pfoved useful, apart from the abrupt end. But then an IP seminar whi9ch doesn't address open source in the first 30 mintues is of little value.

After I signed up for the event online I was sent a message with a web address for joining. I tried clicking on the link straight away but just got a response saying the site would not be available until the scheduled time. This was frustrating as when it can to that time I found I had to download and install software. This took several minutes so I was late joining the event.

The event used Citrix 's GoToMeeting. This was used with audio broadcast to the participants and synchronised Powerpoint type slides. There was no video used. One problem was that there was no image of the speaker and so less sense of who they were (a still image would have done). Also there was only one voice talking all the time, which gets tedious. It would help to have a different person talking.

The system provides a text back channel for asking questions and for when there are problems with the audio. This arrangement works well, as you do not need to interrupt the speaker. Also there is a "raise your hand" function to get attention.

The audio worked well (I was using the ANU's high bandwidth Internet link so problems would not be expected). It is also possible to use a telephone conference with the Internet used for the slides and text chat.

Other Internet based products provide similar facilities. Also one integrated e-meeting product may not be the best approach. With the synchronised slides you can't go back a slide or skip forward to see how may are left: you are stuck looking at the slide the presenter wants you to. Also you can't read or search the actual text of the presentation (particularly important if you a re blind), as all you have is an image of the slide, not the slide itself. So it might be more useful to simply provide the slides and have people follow along themselves. A separate text chat and audio system can be used, perhaps with the text saying what slide the speaker is talking about occasionally.

Using multiple tools would also make the abrupt end which occurred with the IP webinar less likely. What happened with the Citrix software was suddenly I had a message saying the event had ended and then the application disappeared, along with the slides and text chat. This would be useful for those wanting tight control for a presentation. But for most events it would better iof the slides did not suddenly disappear and the text chat could keep going after the audio ended.

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