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The National Voice project kicked off in earnest with 27 participants on May 18th. From May 18th till June 23rd we held a series of live online meetings using a range of synchronous tools. ( These sessions averaged 5 – 7 participants per session. Initially there were no specific topics for these sessions as people got to know each other and became familiar with the skills and techniques required to effectively participate in these sessions. Later sessions featured specific topics such as

  • Use of Asynchronous Tools; comparison with Synchronous Approaches
  • Skills of the Online Presenter
  • How do you teach using these virtual classroom tools?
  • The Role of Virtual Classroom Tools in the Educational Future

Full audio archives of several of these sessions are available at

There were also two asynchronous tools made available to team members (voice email and a voice discussion board) but these have not been much used to date. It’s clear that project team members were more likely to use voice tools in live events scheduled at specific times.

Although it was not the same group of participants present at each live session, the more regular attenders have commented on how the immediacy of voice communications made them feel they were getting to know each other in way that does not occur via text only communication, and there is a sense of an incipient community of practice around the use of these tools.

As well as the scheduled live events some participants have conducted independent inquiry into other tools (Flash Communication Server, Skype), and have conducted, or plan to conduct, trials of voice tools with clients in their workplace in the next phase of the project.

The project went into recess during the month of July as the facilitator was on leave. Much of the activity for the remainder of the project will centre on preparing people for NET*Working 2004 (focusing on the Elluminate virtual classroom tool – the endorsed live presentation tool for the conference), though some team members have expressed a desire to repeat live events using the same range of the tools as in the first half of the project to become more comfortable and familiar with them.

Aside from the sharing of ideas at the live events, asynchronous communications have largely been via the Yahoo Groups email list established for this purpose. 175 messages have been posted to this list to date – evidence of regular, almost daily, ongoing communication. It is a curious fact that although the focus of this project is the use of voice tools, the bulk of communications between events is via written text!

Of the 27 people who are nominally involved in the project, 18 have participated in live events or contributed to discussions on the email list.

Project home is at

Michael Coghlan
Natvoice Facilitator
August 9, 2004 

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