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Virtual Meetings

by Jim Olshefsky

ASTM International has recently expanded its menu of standards development tools by contracting with PlaceWare® to offer members Virtual Meetings, a Web-based tool that combines teleconferencing with Internet document viewing and editing. You can access this function beginning this month.

Virtual Meetings combine teleconferencing with Internet document viewing and editing. It offers another way for members to “meet between meetings,” complementing the existing ASTM Forums, which permit task group and committee members to comment on documents 24/7.

The new tool is convenient to use and has numerous applications for ASTM committees. There are no plug-ins or accessories required for attendees—just a telephone, Internet connection and browser. It is user-friendly and fairly simple to operate, even with limited training. Virtual Meetings can be used for task groups to develop draft revisions and new standards; for officer or executive subcommittee meetings; training sessions and presentations; standing committee meetings (COS, COTCO, COP); strategic planning meetings, and more.

The newly formed Committee Services Department will provide the support structure for Virtual Meetings including scheduling, training, and evaluation. To schedule a Virtual Meeting, ASTM members should contact their committee’s staff manager with the following information:

• Committee/subcommittee designation;
• Topic of the meeting;
• Time and date requested;
• Length of meeting;
• Approximate number of participants; and
• Presenter’s name and e-mail.

Upon receiving the request from the ASTM staff manager, Committee Services personnel will check the Web conference schedule and reserve the space for the meeting, if available. Committee Services will then contact the member who requested the meeting (the “presenter”) with the time and date for the meeting and request more detailed information including:

• Meeting purpose;
• Attendees’ names and emails;
• Agenda; and
• PowerPoint slides (if applicable).

Finally, ASTM staff uploads the agenda and slides to the PlaceWare server and e-mails invitations to the presenter and attendees. At the time of the meeting, a member of the ASTM staff will be available to answer any questions.

Adding this tool to our existing base of technology resources for technical committees further strengthens and positions ASTM International as a technology leader in standards development. For more information on Virtual Meetings, visit the ASTM Web site under “Technical Committees.” Any questions or comments regarding Virtual Meetings can be directed to Jim Olshefsky. //

Copyright 2002, ASTM

Jim Olshefsky is ASTM director of Committee Services.