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How do we run online meetings?
At Cities for Change all or most of the programme is now taking place online. Conference sessions and meetings take all place in online meeting rooms. In this page we introduce you how we do that.
The Cities for Change runs online sessions through its own online meeting server provided by meet.coop. Meet.coop, or The Online Meeting Co-operative, is an cooperative collective that provides online meeting rooms for members running on free software, renewable energy and protective of privacy. For the Cities for Change we have our own dedicated cluster of servers where we can host any number of meeting rooms. Groups and session organisers can have an account on the online meeting server and become facilitators, co-hosts and moderators of the necessary online meeting rooms.
Meeting rooms are controlled by facilitators and moderators, who can open the room and control the behaviour of the room, use moderation queues, create break-out sessions, make people presenter etc. In case of noisy participants they can silence them and in very extreme cases expel someone from a meeting.
Each meeting room has a these key elements:
- a participant list
- a public chat room + direct messaging
- a shared notes for collaborative writing
- a white board for presentations, screen sharing, collaborative drawing, polls, external videos
- a webcam area where speakers can show their webcam
Meetings can be recorded and live streamed
Recordings can be initiated and paused for off-the-record moments and after the meeting they can be downloaded.
Live streaming can be provided for the sessions with a larger audience, where the Cities for Change team prepares the room to be streamed to a streaming platform and from there to embed on the Cities for Change site. This way people can simply follow the live event through the site. See an example of a live stream here.
Joining a meeting
To join a meeting, you open the meeting link in your browser. For better results, make sure your meeting attendees use a recent version of Firefox / Chrome, have headphones and mute when not speaking. If possible use a desktop/laptop computer rather than a tablet, and a tablet rather than a mobile phone. Make sure to have good network connectivity and disable other network intensive apps/services.
The software used for the online meetings is called BigBlueButton, a long standing free software project for online courses and meetings. Further information can be found at meet.coop and at BigBlueButton.org