Projected best practices for NetMeeting
- Use when you need simultaneous discussion. Try text chat; video and microphone may be too confusing.
- Use when under a tight deadline and you need to decide things quickly.
- Could be useful when sharing documents, but do not use "collaborate" feature. Have one person control the document and make the changes to the master that members of the group suggest. Group members would use text chat or microphone to suggest changes as all view the document.
- Use server at Carnegie Mellon to avoid high Internet traffic and slow NetMeeting response. Otherwise, choose times of low Internet usage (8am-10am EST?).
- Video may not be necessary, except perhaps in first meeting to help team members get to know each other.
- Have an agenda or strategy for meetings to reduce confusion.
Introduction to NetMeeting
Microsoft(R) NetMeeting(TM) enables real-time audio, video, and
data communication over the Internet.
Basic System Requirements for installing NetMeeting
| Microsoft Windows(R) 95 or Windows(R) 98
| At least a 486/66 processor with 8 megabytes of RAM
(Pentium with 12 MB of RAM recommended)
|Microsoft Windows NT(R) version 4.0
|At least a 486/66 processor with 16 megabytes of RAM
|Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3 required to enable
sharing applications on Windows NT
Installation of NetMeeting Software
- Down-load NetMeeting software from the following URL : www.microsoft.com/netmeeting
- Follow the steps to down-load the NetMeeting version 2.1 to the hard-disk. This step should take approximately 20 minutes.
- While still connected to the internet, double-click on the down-loaded file to install the NetMeeting software on your computer.
- Your should see a message that the installation has been complete.
Setting up the NetMeeting application.
- From the start menu, open the program menu, and start the NetMeeting program
- Go to the Tools menu in NetMeeting and open the "options" dialog box. This is used to setup the options for the NetMeeting Software. The following is recommended :
- Under the 'General' options setup the 'general', 'bandwidth' and 'files' options.
- Under the 'My Information' option specify your first name, last name, e-mail address, city/state, country and comments. Also categorize your information as 'personal' or 'business'.
- Under the 'calling' options specify the ILS (Internet Locator Server). Our ILS server will be pirate.heinz.cmu.edu. This is important. All users who want to join in a meeting should be connected to the same directory server.
- Under the 'audio' options setup the audio capabilities (simplex of duplex) and tune the speaker and the microphone.
- If you have a video camera, then setup the specifications for the 'video' option.
- Under the 'protocols' option select Network (TCP/IP).
Overview - NetMeeting Quick Tutorial
(URL : http://www.microsoft.com/NetMeeting/demo/demo_plain.htm)
Microsoft NetMeeting offers a complete Internet and Intranet conferencing solution that lets you easily communicate and collaborate with others on your company's intranet or the Intranet.
|Connect - here's one way to call others for a conference
|Audio & Video - see and hear meeting participants
|Share & Collaborate - to share applications and folders
|Whiteboard - to use the whiteboard
|Chat - to use text-based chat
|File Transfer - to transfer files
How to Use the Whiteboard
The whiteboard is fairly straightforward. One member of the call simply clicks on the whiteboard button to enable the board-all members can see the board immediately and make any changes to it. The whiteboard features are standard Microsoft-text tool, highlighter, box and oval shapes, eraser, lines, etc. The most interesting feature is the button about halfway down the left-hand side "select window"-this allows the user to "paste" an image or text from any other open window (any application) onto the screen of the whiteboard for review. For example, if you had a graphic you wanted comments on, you could select the contents of that file window for the whiteboard. Others could then make comments on the whiteboard.
Tips for using NetMeeting Whiteboard
- If you plan to paste a document or drawing onto the whiteboard, have it up in the background when you are in NetMeeting (not minimized-if you minimize it you will end up pasting the toolbar into the whiteboard).
- Note that all parties can make changes to whiteboard simultaneously. In order to avoid confusion, you might want to ensure that the mikes are active and arrange a "round-robin" for editing the whiteboard, or arrange that each person use a different color on the whiteboard. This way, everyone will know who made what changes.
- A couple of features appear not to work in NetMeeting-the "synchronize" function appears to have no effect, and the "lock out" does not keep others from making changes to the whiteboard.
How to Share Applications
This is quite easy to use. If you have a file you want to share (or wish to start collaborating on a new file), just click on "share application". Move through the dialogue boxes until you pick he document you wish to share. When the document appears on your screen, it will also appear on the screen of the others in the call. Then click on the "start collaboration" button (the system will warn you that others will be able to make changes to the document if you collaborate). All other members should also click on this button. Only one member of the call can make changes at a time in the document (or spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation), and the initials on the cursor will note the controlling user. To take control, just right-click in the document, and start typing.
Tips for Sharing
- Because anyone can take control at any time, it may be helpful to set up a rotating schedule for making changes, to ensure that everyone gets a change to edit the file.
- Although the person making the changes is clear during the editing, there is no way to tell later which caller made which changes. You may want to arrange a system (either typing a special character before the edits, or using a special color) so that the author of the text is clear. This way you can go back to the editor and ask questions.
- Remember to use the microphone to explain what you are typing. This should enable you to give your thoughts and address others concerns without having to wait for them to make their "edits" on your "edits."
- When you are finished, the "owner" of the document should take control (right-click), and click on the "stop collaboration" button. The file can then be saved with the changes.
After collaborating on a document, you will probably want to share it with the others in the call. Just click on "file transfer," select the file, and all members of the call will receive the document. Remember that everything you transfer will go to all members of the call.
Chat is essential if you are working with NetMeeting in an environment that does not permit microphones. By clicking on the chat button, you'll bring up a small window at the bottom of your screen. You may then direct comments to everyone in the group (something like: I've finished with my edits on the job proposal. Paul, it's your turn
), or to any combination of call members. You could, for example, split up a call so that two members chat to come up with ideas on one topic and the other two work on a related issue. When one mini-team completes its work, it would then send a chat message to the entire group, to let all parties know that they were ready.