Web Conferencing Platforms for Online Mediators -- What is available, and what works

During today’s Online Family Mediation & Collaborative Practice webinar, I realized how important it is for online mediators to use a high-quality web-conferencing platform with adequate video capabilities, so crucial to establish an initial face-to-face rapport with the parties.


As a result, I thought it would be useful if we (online mediators) could:

First, share our experiences with different platforms.
And, more importantly, test those platforms among ourselves (before using them with our clients).

So, let’s get this forum going…

I have recently found an interesting web conferencing review at http://web-conferencing-services.toptenreviews.com/index.html  and I have been testing the first top two platforms (Netviewer and Adobe Acrobat ConnectNow, the smaller and cheaper version of ConnectPro).

If you are interested to check them out, please send me an email.  We’ will set up a video conference; find out how each platform actually works; and share our findings here – so other online mediators can benefit from our experiment.

Giuseppe Leone
PS: I live in Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If a web conferencing platform works fine from here, we can be pretty sure that it works well everywhere…

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I have just installed ooVoo, which was mentioned in tonight's discussion, and I'm also experimenting with DimDim and a few others, but I would be glad to test those two with you. The best test would be getting a group of several participants together, since many programs will work well with two users but not so well with more. Anyone else?
This may be a rumor, but I heard skype is beta testing a service for up to 10 videos at a time. I can't find info on the web for this, so am wondering if anyone can dispel or confirm this rumor.
Hi,
I have been using for a long time a software that now is reaching its best form: I can save voices, text, show videos, ppt, and all documents needed to be shared; use video to see the parties, and they can see me. It comes translated into 4 languages now.
What makes of it a powerful tool is that the monthly cost is less than 10.00 dollars a month, to have a room 24/7 with up to 50 people. I can recommend its use in Latin America, because is so affordable, and it has a help desk also in Spanish. Let me know if you want to make a try, and I will send you the link to access the conference room!
The link is here:
http://www.mediaciononline.com/go/getstarted/



Ellen S. Ross said:
I have just installed ooVoo, which was mentioned in tonight's discussion, and I'm also experimenting with DimDim and a few others, but I would be glad to test those two with you. The best test would be getting a group of several participants together, since many programs will work well with two users but not so well with more. Anyone else?
Nora, is there an English-language version of this site?
Nora:

The software you described sounds great but, as Ellen S. Ross said, it would have to be in English.

Next week, I will publish on this forum a schedule of daily tests of web conferencing platforms.

Each test will be conducted with three participants (mediators), who will assess the quality and ease of use of each platform.

Nora, if your software is free to test and in English, please send me a link, and I will add it to the above schedule.

Giuseppe
Giuseppe:
http://www.gvolive.com/conference,creativeconflictscomconference#
and let me know which times are scheduled and I'll be on this end...
And, of course, it is in English first! Thanks!



Giuseppe Leone said:
Nora:

The software you described sounds great but, as Ellen S. Ross said, it would have to be in English.

Next week, I will publish on this forum a schedule of daily tests of web conferencing platforms.

Each test will be conducted with three participants (mediators), who will assess the quality and ease of use of each platform.

Nora, if your software is free to test and in English, please send me a link, and I will add it to the above schedule.

Giuseppe
Nora:

Great. Thank you.

I should be able to post a first schedule and related instructions during the week-end. If everything works fine, starting next week we (online mediators) should have an easy way to test "hands-on" different web conferencing platforms and assess how well they meet our mediation needs.

We might start testing Adobe Acrobat ConnectNow, Newviewer, DimDim, and Gvolive.com, the platform you recommended. And as we go along, we can add other platforms and run more tests.

Giuseppe
This is a follow-up to my previous message.

Next week, we will test four web conferencing platforms -- Adobe ConnectNow, Netviewer, Dimdim, and Gvolive). The goal of this test if to find out which web conferencing platforms work best in an online mediation setting. That is, (1) they provide good video, audio and document sharing features, and (2) they are easy to use.

Depending on how many online mediators are interested to participate in this experiment, we can later run more tests and review more web conferencing platforms.

How It Works
Each test will have 1 host (somebody who is familiar with the platform being tested) and 2 participants.

Being a Host
As a host, you are expected to perform the following tasks:

** Set up the online meeting. That is, you will tell the two participants (by email) what they have to do to join your video conference.
** After the video conference starts, you will show the two participants (1) how to use the platform being tested; and (2) how you would perform the tasks typically required in an online mediation. For example, how would you establish a visual rapport with parties; deliver the opening statement, use the whiteboard; share documents, and so on.

Being a Participant
Put yourself in the shoes of one of the "parties", somebody who has probably never participated in mediation before – let alone online mediation. And ask yourself if the platform being tested is easy and simple enough to understand, or you find it distracting, complicated, and so on.

Survey
At the end each test, host and participants will complete a survey form, to assess how the platform test went. To take a look at a survey sample, click this link -- http://bit.ly/axXMGp

The result of those surveys will be later published and discussed on this forum.

Test Time
To keep things simple, all tests will start @ 6:00PM Eastern -- 3pm Pacific -- 10pm GMT

Interested?
If you are interested to participate in this project – either as host or participant -- just click the following link and enter your email address in the related platform/day/role -- http://bit.ly/cVxehS

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Giuseppe Leone

PS: Please spread the word… The success of this experiment depends only on how many online mediators are willing to participate in it.

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