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Synchronous Communication Tools

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NIDE Meeting Minutes
Synchronous Communication Group
July 21, 1999

Present: Deborah Fels, Bertha Acevedo, Carolynn Whiteley, Anastasia Cheetham, Luo Dongchuan, Chris Ridpath

The meeting was held at the Center For Learning Technologies and started at 9 a.m.

  1. Welcome - Anastasia and Luo were welcomed to the group. They will now be starting work on the project.
  2. User survey - Carolynn presented a draft version of a questionnaire that is designed to find the difficulties encountered by users of synchronous communication software programs. The survey is close to complete and Carolynn expects to have it finished within a week. Results from the survey will be used to guide the design of the ‘jam session’ software. Chris will contact the ATRC to find subjects for the questionnaire.
  3. Literature search - Deb informed the group that she has performed a literature search to try and find synchronous communication programs that were accessible using screen-readers. She found that none of the existing programs were accessible to any degree.
  4. Screen reader testing - Bertha informed us that she will be getting a copy of the JAWS screen-reader and will be testing several chat programs for accessibility.
  5. Software design - The group discussed several design ideas including nicknames used in chat programs and the similarity of chat transactions to email. We decided to complete the user survey using Carolynn’s questionnaire before making any design decisions.
  6. Database - We discussed the database program that will be used in the project. Luo will investigate several database products and report back to the group at the next meeting. Products that may be used in the project include Microsoft Access, IBM DB2 and Oracle. Luo will be evaluating the products for the following tasks:
    • Rapid prototyping
    • Query language
    • Interface to Internet
    • CGI and Java interface
    • Access speed
    • Cost
  7. Support for DB2 - Bertha will provide support to Luo on the evaluation of DB2.
  8. Web site - Chris will update the web site with all of our documents.
  9. Java software tasks - Anastasia and Bertha will contact each other to determine how the Java programming of the ‘jam session’ software will be managed.
  10. Current courseware software - Chris will gather information on the evaluations of web based courseware creation packages and report back to the group.
  11. Next meeting - Scheduled for August 11, at 9 a.m. at the Center For Learning Technologies.

The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre

J.P. Robarts Library, First Floor, University of Toronto Information Commons
130 St. George St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H1
Telephone: (416) 978-4360 Fax: (416) 971-2629

For additional information please e-mail Laurie Harrison