The value of online meetings using Google Apps

The  presentation below was given to all first year Computing students and introduced online meetings and the use of Google Hangouts along with other tools.

The affordances of online meetings

  • you can meet remotely from different locations
  • save on travel costs
  • hold ‘out of hours’ meetings
  • blend a face to face meeting with online peers

There are a number of tools used for online business meetings in the workplace. Some of  these are free and include Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime.  At Sheffield Hallam  we also have access to Blackboard Collaborate. Tutors can organise online meetings and tutorials with students and set up a space for students to meet.

Within some of the online meeting tools mentioned it is possible  to

  • share slide show presentations
  • live and streaming video
  • share your desktop
  • activate interactive whiteboards
  • text chat
  • polls and surveys
  • one to one or group conversations
  • record the meetings

Examples of using these tools might also extend to setting up mock interviews, observing group dynamics and personal communication skills. Here you may want to consider recording the meeting using  a screencasting tool such as Screencast-o-matic.


Tips for preparing an online meeting

  • Think about your real surroundings (how tidy is the room)
  • Choose a quiet location
  • Get to know the platform you will use before the meeting
  • Pre agree and agenda for the meeting and keep this to hand (this can be recorded in Google Docs and accessed online)
  • Assign a chair or leader of the meeting
  • Agree a minute taker
  • Pay attention to the process of the meeting – make a note of who takes part
  • Keep an eye on the time allocated for the meeting – avoid distractions
  • Summarise as you go along – this will help the minute taker
  • Be concise and speak clearly
  • Above all make sure you also listen to others

Some good practice

  • Encourage participation from all
  • Ask questions
  • Maintain eye contact by looking at the webcam
  • Don’t move around


  • Be on time for the meeting
  • Don’t just ‘listen in’ – contribute
  • Don’t speak out of turn or interrupt
  • Keep focussed and pay attention
  • Don’t have side conversations
  • Dress appropriately



About Sue Beckingham

Senior Lecturer in Computing and Educational Developer (TEL)
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