Oct 8 to Oct 15

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Status: Meeting Completed

msaul: Ok, I haven't chaired any meetings (in my life), but here goes my summary:

Brief Summary

This first meeting was a practical test of using a WIKI to conduct an on-line meeting over a period of one week. The individuals that participated in this on-line meeting were:

  • Murray Saul
  • Sandra McLauchlan-Abuja
  • Earl Williams
  • Lynne Smith
  • Janet Jones

Many items were discussed in terms of how to get people involved in using wikis. Near the beginning of the week, suggestions were made to produce a training video (which Murray has nearly completed). Murray posted a portion of the training video (Logo) for Westminster just for fun. Murray also provided an interesting YouTube video link that defines how a WIKI can be used for collaboration (it doesn't use a computer!). Would be an interesting link for other facilitators / congregation to get general impression of how a WIKI can be used for collaboration. Earl questioned if WIKI minutes of meeting would be acceptable for the "Policies and Procedures" framework for the church.

As the week progressed, Lynne suggested that we use the computer lab for training, which "sparked" discussion between Murray and Earl of specific objectives to get Computer lab hooked up to the Internet. Lynne added that Tom Smith would be available to help out on the "cable-run". Murray also tested at home how to install a "personal WIKI" for training (without having to be connected to the Internet). This was tested on Murray's home computer, but not at the church (but should work). Unfortunately, the appearance and formatting flexibility isn't the same as the wiki our meeting members are currently using, but could still be used for practice.

Towards the end of the week, Murray was worried about the "lop-sided dynamics" of the meeting, although Janet indicated she and others may be watching, but may not have anything to add at the moment. Janet also indicated that using WIKIs in the computer lab may be a good tool for conflict/crisis resolution and other youth/programming related tasks. Janet indicated problems of simultaneous users overwriting data...

Call to Action:

  • WIKI meeting training video (Murray will complete within one week)
  • WIKI training Sessions (Murray will test out some Personal WIKIs on computer lab, but will require he take server home to install)
  • Cable run to hook Computer Lab to Internet (Date to be determined)
  • Determine if WIKI minutes is acceptable for "policies and procedures" framework for the church (Pending Earl?)
  • Send link of "WIKIs in Plain English" to others (Pending approval by Communications)
  • Obtain feedback from meeting members to make meeting more accessible (To be determined)
  • Launch another WIKI meeting (perhaps another group or topic) for further WIKI meeting practice (Date to be determined)
  • Check "locking mechanisms" to prevent simultaneous users overwriting contents (To be determined)

Sign-off on Meeting

Please replace the dash beside your name with an "X" to indicate that you have read and acknowledge the meeting summary. If you have concerns, please add your concerns beside your name... It is assumed that if you were sent an invitation to this meeting and haven't participated, you are unable to attend and send your "regrets"... When participating members have "signed-off" the facilitator will cut and paste these "discussion contents" to the original page as meeting minutes...

  • X Murray Saul
  • X Sandra McLauchlan-Abuja
  • X Earl Williams
  • X Lynne Smith
  • X Janet Jones
  • (regrets) Brian Bleasdale
  • (regrets) Brian Heimbecker

Meeting Conversation:

msaul: Hi, please feel free to brainstorm. Please read the rules to follow proper form for this meeting. I welcome creative, and proactive suggestions from all participants.

msaul: One suggestion that I have is to create a video on how simple it is to use WIKIs to collaborate on a project or task. I would like to post that completed video up to YouTube, and then share that link with other facilitators for an FYI... In time, this YouTube link could be shared with the congregation via a link with the e-mail distribution to show what the church is doing (i.e. gently sowing the seeds). This video could show WIKI meeting but cut away to several people from their homes. I know of a way to capture screen operations to video. I also know how to use a powerful, free, open-source, non-linear video editor (called Cinelerra) to produce video with music, titles, and many effects... Anyone interested in participating in this?

smclauchlan: I am on today because I want to practice every day. I like the idea of a YOU TUBE video After Thanksgiving I would like to pull the c.e. people together to learn this as it could really help with planning. I am signing off now...no church work until Sunday

msaul: That is a good idea Sandra... Jennifer and I are going to the farmer's market :)

msaul: I'll see if in a couple of days if I could do some video screen captures of instructions of how to use a WIKI, and post to YouTube...

ewilliams: I think a video would be a great idea. I believe the first people to expose the "WIKI system" to, would be facilitators. I think that if a solid starting point is put in place, the rest will follow. I would like to hear comments as to whether or not the use of WIKIs, be put into the "Policies and Procedures" for action group facilitators as a communications and record keeping tool. Since "Policies and Procedures" require minutes of all meetings, would copies of the WIKI discussions, suffice and be accepted as minutes?

PLUS... I'M IN FOR "CINELERRA"!...Have A Great Day!

msaul: Well Earl, funny you should mention that... I'm starting to create the video. I have captured screen shots on the computer yesterday, and have created this
"Westminster video logo" just for fun. It is entirely "royalty free". I used Open Office Impress for the automated slide show, and then recorded it playing on application called GTK-RecordMyDesktop. Then I got samples from a pipe organ (sound font), and other various "royalty free samples", conceived and performed the musical accompaniment (Using Qsynth and Audacity), then edited with Cinelerra non-video editor (all of this performed in my basement Ubuntu Studio!)... That is the "empowerment" of having a Linux studio at home! You are only limited by your imagination...  :)

I won't post to YouTube (that would require permission), but here is link for members of this meeting:


lsmith I think you should use the computer lab and have a hands on training!

msaul: That's a great idea... Thanks Lynne... One problem though... the computer lab would need to be hooked up to the Internet to allow this to happen. Earl, do we have an approximate date for the Internet hookup in the Computer Lab? Also, when I have time, I will check to see if there is a program in Ubuntu Lab to run a WIKI locally on the machines...

msaul: This is good to see people participating... That make me :)

ewilliams: Thanks Lynne, get him on my case again! OK OK I have been thinking about the internet problem. For those who don't know, the internet line at present, would run directly through one of the possible (and most likely) elevator sites. The possible solution I have come up with would be to run half of the line through the "Permanent route" and leaving extra cable, route the balance of the run, in a temporary route, until the renovation plans are established. That way we only have to unplug, coil up and reroute the temporary portion of the cable when the time comes. Once I have permission to string this cable wherever need be (It may be an eyesore ... blue cable ... beige walls) I would say we could run it at the first available time that I can get volunteers together. I also need to run cable to the Nursery at that time, as my latest "Wireless monitor" attempt for the Nursery failed, due to all the "CFL" lighting we now have in the Church. So... I will get back to you on that one.

msaul: Hi Earl, would that require a day to do that cabling run, based on what you see?

lsmith Remember Tom as a volunteer for running wiring!

msaul: Thanks for that info Lynne...

msaul: It may be a good idea to create a schedule (with proposed dates) for WIKI training... how feasible would this be to create? In this way, it is physical...

msaul: Here is a link to a simple and funny YouTube video on WIKIs for Collaboration (WIKIs in Plain English):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY <- This is a "must see" (Doesn't even use a computer! I love it!)

This would be a great link for people trying to understand what a WIKI is. It's funny: approximately 90% of people will respond to WIKIs with the question, "What is a WIKI?" But when you say it is short for Wikipedia, then they say, "Oh, I know Wikipedia...". Unfortunately, most people associate it with getting information, and not collaborating together as a team to generate that information (rather ironic...).
Here is a link to the How to Use the WIKI Tutorial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial
It would be good to find good resources so we don't have to "re-invent the wheel"...

msaul: Apparently, the term used for a WIKI to be run on the local machine is called a "standalone WIKI". There is a package called Media WIKI ( http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki ). I will try to install and test out later... This application is easy to install (since it is already contained in the Ubuntu repositories - in English, this is a "good thing"...). I also recall reading that this wiki would have the same "look and feel" with the WIKI we are now using - again, this is a good thing...

msaul: I tried the application "WIKI in a JAR". Although it has a different appearance than the WIKI we are using, it should be OK for training for people to get the "idea"... Here is a link to a screenshot of it running on my computer:
It would be interesting to see how this runs on the Linux Lab at the church...

'msaul:' Since this is the first "real WIKI meeting" that I have participated in, I am studying the "dynamics" of this meeting:

I myself find this meeting useful as a "think-tank" and a way to lay-down physical tasks to be accomplished... I am also impressed that Lynne simply suggested training in the Linux Computer lab which sparked a lot of analysis on the part of Earl and myself... not bad for a meeting during the Thanksgiving weekend!
On the other hand, I am noticing a "lop-sided" contribution from myself. I'm worried that I am dominating the discussion here... A number of questions come to mind:

  1. As facilitator, should I just be "guiding" and not "hogging" the conversation?
  2. Are participants checking this WIKI (or checking their watch-lists) on a consistent basis? (If you were busy, did you still check your e-mail, but not WIKI?)
  3. Are participants just reading the discussion, but not adding comments?
  4. Are participants reading and want to participate in the discussion, but feel intimidated, or feel that they don't have anything to offer on this particular topic?
  5. Are there additional strategies that could increase a balanced discussion among all participants? (offers greatly appreciated)

I have gotten the impression from several individuals that the current face-to-face board meetings are productive because they are more active and engaged among all members (instead of just listening). The adhoc WIKI meetings should be designed to have the same effect; otherwise, it will seem these on-line meetings are a "step backwards". Also, if many of these meetings are conducted, we have to be careful not to place an "overload" on certain individuals, but instead, help to distribute the load to various members. We need to train people, so they can conduct these meetings with their own groups (like CE) and allow them to be empowered and take action (within the guidelines of their responsibilities). This would require that people become comfortable with WIKI meetings, and ensure balance to get the "dynamics" correct...

Do you folks have any ideas on this? Just curious... I believe these types of meetings are useful, and perhaps rules or guidelines could be "tweaked"...

Brian had mentioned this year is where the "rubber meets the road", in my own opinion, these WIKIs represent part of that latex and asphalt (they only work if "mixed properly")... and there is a learning curve associated with this technique... Personally, I cannot think of any other more efficient method to plan for the coordination of training and use (computer-wise at least)...

msaul: Interesting article from CNN regarding Myths Regarding Technical Innovation: ( http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/10/15/how.to.innovate/index.html?hpt=Sbin )

Myth No. 3: Ideas form most often during 'alone time'

"Perhaps it would be wise to stop sitting in that chair, staring out the window and hoping for your next great idea to waft into your brain from that cappuccino you've been nursing. Good ideas most often come from group brainstorms, writes Johnson, or at the very least from contact with a well-informed network of people."

nutwhaley: Alrighty! I've tried to add a few words in three times... and even after saving, it's not appearing. Gonna try this again dagnabit :) **Yay! It's still there!** I was trying to type: (a) You're not hogging the conversation. We're still learning, you're guiding. Yes, reading. I haven't had anything to say yet (shocker, I know). Would love to receive notification of updated watchlist activity - maybe once in the day or something. There are so many things to do and check online that adding another will take some time to establish in the routine. Not feeling intimidated - just haven't had anything to add. Hope this helps

msaul: Yes, that does help Janet... I'm new to the watchlist feature as well, maybe there are some settings that can be "tweaked"... I'm wondering how training is going to occur to get other volunteers to take action to get the Computer Lab going... I'm guessing the WIKI training would take time for people to adapt to... What's cool, it that I copied and pasted this meeting forum to a "crisis situation" we had at work (not available to all meet together, and had the problem solved in approx. 8 hours. I'll tell you, I'm now a believer and user of these WIKI meetings at the college!...

msaul: Yes, I tend to be more "selective" with "social networking applications" - for example, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook. For me, it is nice to see other people that I haven't seen for years, but I don't like the commercial aspect... I again find Facebook to be very "linear". I guess I look at it from an accessing information to achieve something approach... or to build a database of technical information that I can go back to in case I "wipe" my computer system... In the past year, I have been "blown away" by how much information I have generated on a WIKI like using / configuring Ubuntu Linux... in a way, it has become an on-line journaling tool for me...

nutwhaley: I'd like hands-on training in the computer lab. That's my learning strength. This would be an absolute awesome tool for a crisis and/or pandemic situation... I don't suggest using social networking. I really do enjoy the Wiki idea and can see where the benefits may lie. I wonder, though, if for example, the reason my message wasn't saving was because you were posting around the same time and wonder if that could be a glitch to meeting in this format at the same time... just some thoughts. Going to get off the computer for the night, but would love to talk about computer lab training in the near future - if not for this, at least for the youth and some other possible 'programming' ideas.

msaul: I may have experienced the same situation when Lynne may have added something nearly a week ago... I believe there are setting for a WIKI to lock the area to prevent accidental overwriting... In the long-run, from what I understand, the Westminster's website will have its own WIKI, so this can be looked at during development...