DISTSS – online conferencing

DISTSS took the step about 8 months ago to invest in some online conferencing software called Elluminate. Some of the reasons for this was to:

  • try to look at new ways of doing things
  • improve the way we connect with the sector
  • make our work more appealing to Gen Y

What is Elluminate?

Elluminate is online conference software which allows people to connect in real time through the internet. Elluminate allows you to:

  • view PowerPoint presentations
  • use icons to make gestures like raising your hand, laughing or agreeing
  • use text chat to ask questions, make comments or answer questions
  • use headset with microphone to  speak using VOIP technology
  • use a pen and symbols to draw on a whiteboard
  • use polls to gain feedback from participants

How we have used Elluminate?

We have used Elluminate to run a number of workshop, advisory group meetings, focus groups and community of practices using Elluminate. Some of these have been:

  • Focus group looking at: The Review of the Community Services Training Package
  • Ready4work Resource Advisory Group: Meetings of the advisory group to look at the update of the Ready4work
  • Recruitment and Retention Community of Practice: This group met a number of times using Elluminate.
  • Workshop – Recruitment and Retention Online Forum – Practical Techniques for Assessing Potential Employees – Dr Ken Byrnes

The most successful forum that we run through the Recruitment and Retention Community of Practice was the “Recruitment and Retention Online Forum – featuring Dr Amy Hewitt and John Sauer from the University of Minnesota”. This was very exciting having technology that enabled us to utilise an expert from the USA to share information with key stakeholders within the disability sector.

Our experience in using Elluminate

People who have attended any of the meetings, forums or workshops etc that we have run using Elluminate have been very pleased. A particular response from people is the extent of that people interact in the Elluminate sessions.

The communication, whether it be through talking or texting has allowed the session to be very relevant to the participants in the Elluminate room. The use of text particularly allows the facilitator to get instant feedback from the group allowing a change in directions of presentation if needed.

The use of Elluminate to run informal meetings has also been very successful. The Ready4work advisory group was responsible to provide feedback on the update of the Ready4work Induction resource. Using Elluminate allowed us to get experts from rural regions to participate. The people from the rural regions probably would not have participated if they had to travel to attend these meetings.

Problems in using Elluminate

Their has been hesitation and reluctance from some people to attend an Elluminate session. Some of the reasons is people not having a real grasp of what Elluminate can do and being a little afraid to take the plunge and give it a go. We have managed to convince some people to come on board and but others it has not been possible. those that we have convinced to come along have been pleasantly surprised at the ease of use of the software and the exte4nt of participation that occurs.

Other issues around using Elluminate is due to some workplaces not being able to overcome the firewall problems to allow them to participate. these have generally been large organisations that don’t have direct contact with their IT departments.

Have a look at some of our sessions

More Information


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