This is the basic structure of the VTF situation:
|a distributed group|
|a live conversation on a direct unmediated channel (audio or audio+video)|
|a visual facilitator
who generates a text|
|fresh copies of the
meeting map are continually distributed live to the telegroup on the mediated
|the meeting map serves as an explicit group memory|
|the telegroup uses the direct unmediated channel to refer to items on the meeting map|
While contemplating the basic structure of the VTF situation, it will probably help if the reader refers to Figure 2. "Visual Telefacilitation in action with extended group".
The group shown in Figure 2 is having a live telephone conversation. The audio connection of the phone constitutes a direct or unmediated channel of communication among the members of the telegroup. By direct or unmediated we mean raw, unfiltered and uninterpreted.
In addition, the group also has another channel of
communication available to them at the same time. This
is the text
For truly effective group communication, both channels are needed. Direct is good; so is mediated. The real power of Visual Telefacilitation is in the synergy between the two channels.
The facilitator carefully listens to the direct audio
channel and presents a real
The meeting map provides a common frame of reference for the telegroup's discussion, used by the group to help navigate through the issues of their working task.
So for instance Sally in London can easily refer to an earlier comment by Joe in New York, "I basically agree with what Joe said on page 3, but I would like to add some pricing details."
It is important to note that the meeting map is not a
transcript; it is not an exhaustive (and exhausting)
record. Instead, the meeting map is just that
It is also important to note that the addition of video
to the unmediated channel does not change the basic
dynamics of the telemeeting situation, nor reduce the
need for a mediated text
But that richness can in no way replace having a live
and persistent high
© 1997, 1999 PGC