At least in the highest edition, the future is a new norm of combined physical and virtual meetings.
I don’t think here about classes, courses or academic programs. We can move on to Fr. giflex educational future.
But we are rushing to the equivalent of a culture of meetings on the Hyflex campus.
In my experience, the quality of meetings where some people are in person and some are virtual is mostly very high bad.
Participants with the worst meeting experience are always virtual participants.
Even with the best of intentions and some degree of planning, developing a meeting that works equally well is when some people are together in the room while others zoom in.
Virtual meeting participants miss nonverbal cues that control a large number of face-to-face meetings. If everything is virtual, we can signal what we want to say by turning on the microphone. Conversational distribution becomes more complex when signals need to transcend physical and virtual modalities.
In most cases of “regular” on-campus meetings — these meetings of academic or administrative units or regular meetings — virtual participants will have less influence on decision-making than those who may attend in person.
People on Zoom will talk less and are less likely to challenge the consensus of the group that is. A productive argument is especially difficult in a mixed physical and virtual environment.
But not always.
There are some cases where physical / virtual meetings work well. I wondered why this might be so, and all these reflections led to what I would like to suggest. Let’s call it Kim’s law on physical / virtual meetings.
Kim’s law states that:
The quality of the physical / virtual meeting is directly proportional to the status of the virtual participants.
If there is a person with a high status or a person participating in a mixed meeting in Zoom and in Zoom, then the meeting will be great. Or at least great for Zoom people.
It is observed that status prevails over modality.
If a person with high status increases the scale, then the microculture of the meeting will give the privileges of remote participants with high status.
This shift, to emphasize the voice of the strongest participant with an enlarged scale, can also “penetrate” to help all distant visitors. All meeting participants will be more attentive to virtual participants.
A mixed remote / face-to-face meeting with great cheeses is also likely to benefit from more thoughtful planning and get better support during the meeting.
The more valuable the time perceived by the participants, the more effort will be put into creating high-performance meetings.
What are the implications for Kim’s law?
Should a person of the highest rank (whatever that means in academia) always be remote in a mixed meeting?
Should everyone agree to pretend that the virtual people at the meeting are “just like” the vice-chancellor or the main donor?
Should those of us who are in person during the meeting prefer the experience of our virtual colleagues?
Do you participate in mixed meetings?