Fifth International World Wide Web Conference

May 6-10, 1996, Paris, France

Notes for Session Chairs of Multicast Sessions

Please be aware that the session you are chairing is going to be transmitted live over the Internet via a technology known as MBONE (Multicasting backBONE). This will allow people from around the world to view and hear the session, and to participate during question periods.

Multicasting will be a new experience for many meeting participants. Success of a multicast session requires the active and skillful collaboration of the chair. Please note the following:

  1. The reaction of the audience to the multicasting activity depends largely upon the attitude evinced by the chair. If you remain relaxed and patient, the audience will also. It is also important to set realistic expectations for all of the participants at the outset of the session, so please read the document "Multicast Chair Remarks to the Audience" at the beginning of the session, slowly and clearly.

  2. One of the persons sitting in front of the workstation which is doing the multicasting is known as the interlocutor; it is part of this person's job to interact with you concerning questions from remote participants. There may also be a separate operator, who concentrates on the technical aspects of the multicasting. Introduce yourself to these people before the session and write down their names, so that if you wish you can introduce them in your opening remarks. If a presenter is speaking particularly quickly or unclearly, or moving projected materials too frequently, the interlocutor or operator may pass you a note to this effect, or whisper a remark. Use your own judgment as to how to best act on this information (feel free to do nothing if that is most appropriate!). You may want to sit next to the operator during the presentations if you are curious to see what multicast video looks like.

  3. The principal challenge for you, the chair, is to keep things moving smoothly by means of verbal cues; remember that many of the participants are listening remotely and require explicit cues in order to interact with the hall constructively rather than disruptively. The sequence of events during question period should proceed as follows:

  4. Be certain that each person asking a question begins by announcing his/her name and institutional affiliation. It's disorienting for remote listeners to suddenly hear an unidentified disembodied voice. Local attendees also want to hear the name and location of remote questioners. The introduction of local questioners also helps local attendees to get to know one another better.

  5. Relax! This is all a lot easier than it may seem at first. Multicasting can be quite fun and engaging for all participants.

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Created: 22 March 1996
Last updated: 22 March 1996