- Closed membership: Private conferences are established and password protected for selective audiences.
- Restricted posting: Posting may be more restricted than general participation.
- Moderation: Discussions can be moderated or unmoderated at the discussion leader's discretion.
- Moderator control: Discussion leader can have control over start and end of the discussion.
- Discussion organization: A variety of discussion organizations are required:
- Threaded: discussion follows a single theme. New (parallel) themes can be spawned as needed.
- Hierarchical: top level discussion spawns lower levels discussions (to multiple levels) with some representation of the hierarchical relationships between topics.
- Archives: Discussion is left on-line until the conference administrator deletes it or archives it.
- Mult-media: Selected products must support a rich set of media types for inclusion in the discussion, including graphics, sound, video, JAVA applets.
- Navigation: Selected products should support hot links to relevant URL's and Usenet news groups.
- Whiteboard: Selected products should support an electronic whiteboard feature which allows discussion participants to share a real-time, text and graphics environment. Read and write ability for any participant should be at the discretion of the discussion leader.
- Scalability: Selected products must be able to support a large number of users (greater than 200 simultaneously, greater than 5,000 authorized).
- User Interface: Selected products must support access from a standard Web browser (at minimum Netscape Navigator).
- Authentication: Selected products should be able to use pre-defined (and in some cases pre-existing) campus-wide authentication systems (like PAS or school-based timeshare system namespaces) to authenticate participants.
- Management: Administration of selected products should be accomplished as much as possible through an authenticated Web client.
- Encryption: Selected products should support encryption of passwords and data as they travel on insecure networks.
- Conference participation can be restricted to a designated set of individuals.
- Conferencing uses familiar Web browsers.
- Conferences offer near real-time discussion.
- No additional load on campus electronic mail servers.
- "Threads" of specific conversations are easy to follow and very well documented.
- Variety of media may be posted.
- Software to support private conferencing not yet deployed on campus.
- An active means of communication: reader must log on to conferences to see if there is any new information.
- Uncertain use of server resources.
Strategies for Effective Use
- Faculty should expect conference activity from students at all hours of the day (and especially) night, and may want to log in from home at night to facilitate this discussion.
Links to Other Resources
Contact: Dr. Noam H. Arzt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: 01 February 2012