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Web Conferencing guidelines

These guidelines are meant as a tool to help Academy Software Foundation community members manage their meetings using web conferencing tools provided by the Academy Software Foundation.

Setting up your meeting and moderation

Zoom is the main video communication platform for the Academy Software Foundation. It is used for running the both techincal community and member meetings, along with many other Academy Software Foundation online events.

New meetings can be provisioned using LFX Project Control Center. This service uses Zoom on the backend and integrates with a user’s LF ID accounts, providing a secure and reliable virtual meeting experience. This does require the user to have an LF ID, which can be easily created and maintained in the LFX Individual Dashboard. Documentation on provisioning new meetings and sharing with participants is documented in the LFX Meeting Management documentation.

Running a meeting using Zoom and LFX Meeting Management

Generally meetings provisioned using LFX Meeting Management are fairly straightforward to run. Here are a few tips that might be helpful.

Screen sharing guidelines and recommendations

Zoom has a documentation on how to use their screen sharing feature:

Recommendations:

  • Turn off notification to prevent any interference.
  • Close all sensitive documents and unrelated programs before sharing the screen eg. Emails.
  • Test your presentation before hand to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  • Keep your desktop clean. Make sure there is no offensive or/and distracting background.

Audio/Video quality recommendations

While video conferencing has been a real boon to productivity there are still lots of things that can go wrong during a conference video call.

There are some things that are just plain out of your control, but there are some things that you can control. Here are some tips if you’re just getting into remote meetings. Keep in mind that sometimes things just break. These are not hard rules, more of a set of loose guidelines on how to tip the odds in your favor.

  • A dedicated microphone - This is the number one upgrade you can do. Sound is one of those things that can immediately change the quality of your call. If you plan on being here for the long haul, something like a Blue Yeti will work great due to the simplicity of using USB audio and having a hardware mute button. Consider a pop filter as well if necessary.
  • A Video Camera - A bad image can be worked around if the audio is good. Certain models have noise cancelling dual-microphones, which are a great backup for a dedicated microphone or if you are travelling.
  • A decent set of headphones - Personal preference, these cut down on the audio feedback when in larger meetings.

What about an integrated headset and microphone? This totally depends on the type. We recommend testing it with a friend or asking around for recommendations for which models work best.

Hardware we don’t recommend

  • Earbuds. Generally speaking they are not ideal, and while they might sound fine to you when 50 people are on a call the ambient noise adds up. Some people join with earbuds and it sounds excellent, others join and it sounds terrible. Practicing with someone ahead of time can help you determine how well your earbuds work.

Conduct and Moderation

Since the Zoom meetings are open to the general public, a Zoom host or co-host has to moderate a meeting in all senses of the word from starting and stopping the meeting, to acting on Code of Conduct issues. The Academy Software Foundation adheres to it’s Code of Conduct or the relevant project code of conduct throughout all platforms and includes all communication mediums.

If you’re dealing with a troll or bad actor:

  • Put the troll or bad actor on hold. The participant will be put into a “waiting room” and will not be able to participate in the call until the host removes the hold.
  • Remove the participant. Please be cautious when testing or using this feature, as it is permanent. They will never be able to come back into that meeting ID on that particular device. Do not joke around with this feature; it’s better to put the attendee on “hold” first and then remove.
  • After an action has been taken, use the lock meeting feature so that no one else can come into the meeting. If that fails, end the call immediately, and contact the LF Staff to report the issue.

NOTE: You can find these actions when clicking on the more or “…“ options after scrolling over the participants name/information.

Hosts must be comfortable with how to use these moderation tools and the Zoom settings in general. Make sure whoever is running your meeting is equipped with the right knowledge and skills. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the LF Staff and they will be able to provide further guidance and training.

Escalating and/Reporting a Problem

Issues that cannot be handle via normal moderation, or with the assistance of the LF Staff should be escalated to the TAC.

Meeting recordings

Meetings using the LFX Meeting Management service can generally be set to automatically record the meeting and make a transcript, both of which can be retrieved by users in thier LFX Individual Dashboard. Project leads can also get recordings from past meetings in LFX Project Control Center in the meeting management section; feel free to share those links and access key in the notes from the meeting.

If there has been any conduct or other violation which was been addressed by a host and recorded, the video should be edited before being posted. Contact LF Staff if you need help to edit a video before posting it to the public.

Pro-tips

  • If you join the meeting via the desktop or web client, make sure your name is set correctly so other attendees know who you are ( especially the person taking meeting notes! ).
  • Join on muted audio and video in order to prevent noise to those already in a call.
  • If you don’t have anything to say at that moment, MUTE. This is a common problem. You can help out a teammate by mentioning it on Zoom chat or asking them to mute on the call itself. The meeting co-host can help with muting noisly attendees before it becomes too disruptive. Don’t feel bad if this happens to you, it’s a common occurrence.
  • Try to find a quiet meeting place to join from; some coworking spaces and coffee shops have a ton of ambient noise that won’t be obvious to you but will be to other people in the meeting. When presenting to large groups consider delegating to another person who is in a quieter environment.
  • Using your computer’s built in microphone and speakers might work in a pinch, but in general won’t work as well as a dedicated headset/microphone.
  • Consider using visual signals to agree to points so that you don’t have to mute/unmute often during a call. This can be an especially useful technique when people are asking for lazy consensus. A simple thumbs up can go a long way!
  • It is common for people to step on each other when there’s an audio delay, and both parties are trying to communicate something. Don’t worry, just remember to try and pause before speaking, or consider raising your hand (if your video is on) to help the host determine who should speak first.

Thanks for making ASWF meetings work great!