Now that we have had our first meeting I thought it would be good to start a post about what we thought worked well and what could be improved. Here are my thoughts:
Google + Hangouts:
If you are new to Google Hangouts here is a short intro video.
If you are having trouble joining the Hangout read this.
- Video chat worked well
- Recorded session creates a great record of our discussion
- “Lower Third” app is a great way to add your name and institution to your video window
- Limited to 10 people
- There seemed to be some issues with the queuing system
- Sound quality affected for whole discussion if headphones are not used or microphone is too loud
How can we improve?
For those who do not own a headset, look into getting one. Try to find one that has noise-cancelling microphone. There are good headset options that are inexpensive. I picked up a Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 headset for $15 at Walmart on Monday and I found that it worked quite well. Lots of other options are available including wireless headsets.
2. Lower Third:
Install the Google Hangout “Lower Third” app. This lets people know who you are and where you are from. Also, this provides a great professional-looking nameplate on the video when that can be seen when the recorded chat is posted online.
3. Invite the paper’s Authors!
Let’s consider inviting one or more of the authors of the paper we plan to discuss. Corresponding authors invariably provide a contact e-mail on the first page of their article, and most have their own webpage anyway. I think there is a lot of value-added here. With an author present we can ask for clarification on points that we don’t fully understand, and we can get broader insights about the paper’s significance from an expert in the field! I think we could all benefit from some clarity about the topic and the analyses used. There is also great networking opportunities to be had here, not to mention the added promo for our group! If they don’t have Google + then we could always invite them to our Hangout via telephone.
4. Google Chat:
Don’t forget to open the chat window on the left during the Hangout! People might be making some interesting points about the paper in the chat window, don’t miss out!