Transitioning Online

Transitioning Online

Now that club activities are transitioning online, there are some things for student organizations to think about:

Choosing Platforms

What platforms will work best for your group? This is a personal decision for your group to make, based on the needs of your organization and its members. 

When choosing a platform, reflect on and consider the following: 

  • What are the features of the platform? – Does the platform allow group chats? Voice calls? Video calls? 

  • What are the limitations of the platform? – Is there a limit on how many people can be on the platform? Is there a time limit for calls? Is there a cost to use the platform? 

  • What are your needs? – Do you need a platform that provides video calls? Do you need a platform that can be organized into various channels? 

  • What are the needs of your members? – How user-friendly is the platform? How accessible is the platform? How engaging is the platform? 

  • How accessible is the platform? – Do users need to create an account? Do users need to download an app? Do users need to pay to use the platform? 

  • Privacy Concerns – Can anyone join the platform? What user information is being collected by the platform? 

Some platforms you can look into include: 

  • Zoom, Asana, Slack, Telegram, Discord, Trello, Google Suite (Drive, Meet, Hangouts, etc), Microsoft Teams & Sharepoint, Flock 

Running Meetings Online

Adapted from 

Running meetings online can be difficult as many in-person cues and interactions will be missing. Online meetings also introduce potential issues, such as communications problems, connectivity issues, or delays – so here are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting online meetings: 

  • Begin with something interactive – Especially for new teams, beginning with self-introductions or activities can help break the ice before a meeting and keep everyone engaged

  • Have a clear agenda set up for the meeting – Meetings run without a clear purpose or structure can lead to confusion and wasted time

    • Prepare a formal agenda for the meeting in advance – list out the key points that need to be covered in the meeting and organize them according to your needs

    • Share the meeting notes at least 24 hours in advance so all participants are aware of what will be discussed and can start formulating their ideas and/or contributions

  • Assign someone to moderate the meeting – Meetings can often go off track, so having a moderator can ensure that meetings stay on topic

    • This individual can also be tasked with keeping track of the time to ensure that all topics in the agenda are covered within the time allotted for the meeting

    • It may also be useful to ask everyone in the meeting to mute their mics to minimize interference or background noise. Individuals can unmute themselves whenever they would like to speak, which can be monitored by the moderator. 

  • Prepare your systems in advance – Technology can always present a problem, so ask participants to turn their computers on early and make sure their camera and microphone are working properly. Meeting hosts must make sure to test the software used in advance and ensure that it supports the features your team needs. 

  • Set time limits – Setting limits on the time allocated for meetings can boost productivity to meet goals within the time set

    • This will provide everyone with an idea of how much time to spend on one talking point and keep everyone focused so the meeting doesn't go off-track

  • Minimize distractions – Distractions are natural in the environment of calling from home

    • Try to encourage participants, if they can, to find a quiet and well-lit space as well as use headphones or earphones with a mic for clear communication. 

  • Conclude with clear action items – A lot is discussed during a meeting, often leaving vague ideas in the minds of participants by the time the meeting is over.

    • At the end of the meeting, ensure that you review or keep a list of action items, which are clearly designated to certain executives, to ensure that everyone is clear and on the same page regarding tasks to complete

    • The key is to identify an action items, delegate it to a team member, and agree on a deadline – this allows for the task to be adequately tracked. 

  • Share meeting notes – After the meeting, ensure that meeting notes are shared with all team members

    • Make sure that your notes list out all action items along with the individual(s) responsible for completing each task and their deadline

    • Ask all participants to review the meeting notes to ensure the team is all on the same page and everyone is updated.