Toolbox Newsletter, Issue XV

Dec. 15, 2020

Alternative to Zoom:

Tired of Zoom meetings? Jeremy Caplan, author of the Wonder Tools newsletter, demonstrated a new platform called Run the World to a group of journalists and professors recently. The interface is somewhat familiar to Zoom and Google Meet, but offers MANY more useful features and has a cool feel to it.

The good: The free version of the start-up platform allows up to 500 people to attends, and you can schedule “cocktail hour” one-on-one breakout sessions. You can change colors, add “stretch break” videos and design of the platform, easily share links and polls (much easier than Zoom). Attendees also can shoot/share selfies with the group. The host has full control over who can talk by granting access through a “grab the mic” feature.

Some drawbacks: Chat is pretty basic, similar to other platforms, but functional. And it’s difficult to share and play music and videos because of strict copyright infringement rules. Depending on where you stand or how you’re using it, that can be a good/bad thing.

I plan to experiment with the platform next semester with my UIC students and will let you know how it goes.

Example of the poll feature in Run the World.

Around the Web …

Qwoted is a free platform that helps the media connect and collaborate with subject matter experts when they’re working on a story. More tools worth exploring:

In Quotes …

"Journalists are accused of being lapdogs when they don't ask the hard questions, but then accused of being rude when they do. Good thing we have tough hides."

-- The late Gwen Ifill


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