A conference is a meeting in which participants come together and talk to each other in order to reach agreements. Often participants discuss in small groups to discuss their results with all participants later on. A symposium is similar, but it is about transferring knowledge. What is involved in a remote conference?
The terms conference, congress, convention, seminar, symposium are sometimes used interchangeably. They overlap in terms of functionality and many meetings are actually mixed forms.
A conference is a meeting of several people who meet and agree on the common future. There are several speakers who openly discuss their points of view.
A congress is a large-scale meeting of participants exchanging ideas on a particular theme, and where joint consultation or open discussion takes place.
A convention is a meeting on a subject related to an industry, profession or fan.
A seminar is a meeting in which the aim is to transfer information about a particular area of interest or discipline.
A symposium is an international meeting with guest speakers with the aim of gaining knowledge.
Important at such meetings
- Good interaction
The participants must be able to communicate well with each other. And a speaker must be able to determine whether the listeners can ask questions or discuss during the presentation. Or that everyone is quiet and writes down their questions to ask after the presentation.
Both verbal and non-verbal communication are also essential in this type of meeting. The speakers and participants receive information via non-verbal communication about whether the other participants understand the presentation and/or discussion.
- Break-out rooms
It is often desirable at a meeting to divide the participants into smaller groups. They can then discuss specific topics in the smaller group, which will later be shared with the whole group. Or presentations are held in parallel in which the participants join the group of their choice.
Challenges at remote meetings
The organisation of such remote meetings faces some additional difficulties:
- it is difficult to organise discussions in large groups. Certainly if participants start talking to each other. Or that certain people are talking too much and others are not.
- Participants may be distracted and at the same time busy with other things.
- participants may have a different mindset because they are in a different environment or time zone
- connection quality may vary
- technical problems encountered by participants
Solutions for remote meetings
The organisations A trainer can respond to the extra challenges:
- Dividing the participants into groups that discuss a theme among themselves. After a set period of time, these groups meet again. And the results of the group discussions are discussed with all the participants.
- increase involvement by having a video and audio connection with all participants
- participants who are distracted ask for their input via private messages
- use good equipment:
- modern computer
- fast network connection (use a fixed Ethernet cable instead of WiFi or 4G)
- fast internet connection
- Use good online video conference software:
- which offers good video and audio
- where a presentation can be shown within the environment
- where private messages can be sent
- where a chairperson or speaker may temporarily turn off the audio of individual participants
- which has the possibility of splitting up into groups
- be able to work together on shared documents, e.g. to take notes together
- a shared whiteboard
Organising a conference (or congress, symposium, etc.) is a lot of work. The organisation has to find speakers and chairpersons. And the organisers need to find enough participants to register for the meeting. Holding such meetings at a distance requires specific knowledge and experience.
That is why we offer BigBlueButton support to organisations that organise meetings.
BigBlueButton is open source software which means that it does not impose any restrictions on the users: open source software can be freely used, modified and distributed.
BigBlueButton is extremely suitable for conferences and other remote meetings:
- the video and audio quality is excellent
- a speaker or chairman of the day may give a presentation in the surrounding area
- participants can send private messages to each other
- a speaker or chairperson may temporarily turn off the audio of individual participants
- the participants can be divided into groups and meet in breakout rooms. It is possible to set a time period in the breakout rooms. After this period has elapsed, the participants are automatically reinstated in the main meeting room.
- participants can work together on shared documents
- The software has a shared whiteboard function on which participants can draw to make their story clear.
Possibilities of BigBlueButton
- Do you give an online conference with different topics? Divide your participants over different break-out rooms.
- Each break-out room has its own "Presenter" with his or her own presentation.
- Record your conference for later viewing.
- Let questions come in via the chat function.
See all the possibilities of BigBlueButton