RUSA Virtual Participation Guide

SPECIAL NOTICE: RUSA will switch to Adobe Connect software for virtual meetings and webinars starting June 1, 2013. Information on reserving virtual meeting space using Adobe Connect and training can be found here.

Your RUSA committee or group may want to hold virtual meetings, discussion forums, or webinars. Please see below for information on suggested tools, how to request the use of a teleconference line or Blackboard Collaborate, and special instructions for webinars. If you have any questions, email Susan Hornung, RUSA Executive Director (

Suggested Tools

There are several tools you can use to meet your needs. Use the chart below to identify the best tools for your needs.

We recommend you use the simplest technology to meet your needs. For instance, if your meeting does not require your group to interact with a document or share a visual, using a teleconference line may suffice, rather than a sophisticated web conferencing tool like Blackboard Collaborate.

If your group needs to… Suggested Tools

Hold a simple meeting or discussion, without visual aids

For 20 people or less:

RUSA Toll-Free Teleconference Line
RUSA has 2 toll-free teleconference lines available for use. See below for how to request use of a teleconference line. NOTE: Calls will not be recorded.

For more than 20 people:

Blackboard Collaborate (see below)
(NOTE: Maximum of 100 participants; up to 20 can connect using teleconference line in lieu of headsets, which are recommended when connecting to a meeting via the provided URL)

See the same object , such as a PowerPoint, Word document, websites, etc., during a meeting

Blackboard Collaborate (see below)

Support interaction, such as editing documents, making lists or timelines, voting in real-time (synchronously) during a meeting

Blackboard Collaborate  (see below)

Hold a discussion forum (i.e., an informal session that allows discussion of topics of common interest in large or small groups of participants; not centered on a speaker or formal presentation)

Blackboard Collaborate  (see below)

Hold a webinar or program, with speakers and presentations

Blackboard Collaborate  (see below)

Instant Message (Chat)

ALA Connect

Save documents, brainstorm ideas asynchronously

ALA Connect

Take polls or vote (with a future deadline)

ALA Connect

Co-edit documents (asynchronously)

ALA Connect; email


Requesting Use of a RUSA Toll-Free Teleconference Line

Chairs of RUSA-level and RUSA section-level committees (or other kinds of groups, such as subcommittees and task forces) may request the use of one of RUSA’s toll-free teleconference lines to conduct RUSA business. NOTE: Calls will be not be recorded.

IMPORTANT: This teleconference line is separate from Blackboard Collaborate. It is a teleconference line only. If you want to reserve a meeting using the Collaborate software, please go here.

To request the use of a toll-free teleconference line:

1) View availability here (Events in Eastern Time).

Find 2-3 dates/times that will work for your group, at least 2 weeks in the future.

NOTE: 30 minutes must be left between meetings! RUSA has 2 teleconference lines that can be used concurrently. If one is booked, the other line may be open. If both are booked, you will need to find an alternate time.

2) Send an email to with the following information:

GROUP (Section or Division – Committee or Group Name):

3) Within 3 business days, you will receive a response with a confirmation and phone number for your use, or a request for an alternate date/time for your session.

If you encounter any problems with requesting a teleconference line, email Susan Hornung, RUSA Executive Director (


A webinar is a kind of virtual session that primarily revolves around speakers giving presentations. In an effort to avoid duplication and in order to set possible registration fees, RUSA requires that webinar proposals are reviewed by the RUSA Professional Development Committee.Please send proposals to Jim Rettig, Chair of RUSA Professional Development Committee (

Please note that webinars may also need to go through your section’s approval/review process. Please review your section’s policies and procedures for webinars before sending a proposal to the RUSA Professional Development Committee.

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing software tool available to RUSA members to conduct official RUSA business or hold RUSA-sponsored virtual opportunities. Blackboard Collaborate can only be used by RUSA members to support RUSA activities; it cannot be used for personal reasons.

Collaborate is best used when you want to conduct a meeting, discussion forum, webinar, or other session that requires shared visuals or real-time interaction with documents or web sites.

RUSA has access to 4 virtual meeting rooms that can be used concurrently. Each room has a maximum of 100 attendees. A RUSA Collaborate Scheduling Team is responsible for scheduling sessions.

To use Collaborate for your meeting, you will need to:

1) Receive Collaborate training (only for moderators)
2) Reserve a Collaborate room for your session

Please see below for more information about these steps.

Collaborate Moderator Training and Practice

Anyone who will be moderating a Collaborate session should receive training and practice before their session. Moderator trainings are held regularly and are also available on demand and practice sessions can be scheduled. An online tutorial is available as well. Please see the Collaborate Training page here.

Reserve a Collaborate Room

To send a scheduling request to reserve Collaborate for your session, please follow these steps:

1) Find out when Collaborate is available.

Look at the Collaborate calendar posted here. Identify dates/times available for your session at least 2 weeks in the future.


  • Sessions are scheduled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Webinars must be reviewed by the RUSA Professional Development Committee before they can be scheduled.

2) After determining the dates that Collaborate is available, find out your group’s availability/preferences for the session among the attainable dates. 

You can use Doodle ( to help your group pick the best dates for your session. Identify 2-3 possible date/times for your session.


3) Send an email request to containing the information below.

EMAIL SUBJECT: Pick one of the following subjects listed below. Using the correct subject will ensure your email is auto-forwarded to the appropriate scheduler.


Email Subject


BRASS Meeting Request


CODES Meeting Request


HISTORY Meeting Request


MARS Meeting Request


RSS Meeting Request


STARS Meeting Request

RUSA-level committees
(NOT section committees!)

RUSA Meeting Request


EMAIL BODY: Copy this template below into an email and fill it in.

GROUP (Section or Division – Committee or Group Name):
DESCRIPTION OF SESSION (optional, will show on calendar):

4) Within 3 business days, you will receive a response with a confirmation and access information for your use, or a request for an alternate date/time for your session.

If you encounter any problems with requesting the use of Collaborate, email Susan Hornung, RUSA Executive Director (

Headsets and Telephones

It is strongly recommended that all attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during a Collaborate session. The software audio works best with headsets and there is an additional cost for RUSA when a teleconference line is used. Attendees can also use a mic with headphones or earbuds if headsets are not available. The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo.

If a committee member is not able to purchase a headset, they may borrow one from RUSA and return it after their term or appointment ends or they no longer need the headset. Headsets will be available by August 31, 2012.

RUSA committee members who wish to borrow a headset from RUSA should email with the subject Headset Request. They should include their committee name and their mailing address in the body of the email. It may take 2 weeks for delivery.

If needed, all Collaborate rooms also have a teleconference line available for attendees to use if they are having audio issues. During each Collaborate session, no more than 20 attendees at a time can use the teleconference line.