Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 20, 3, February 2005, pp. 38-47.
Audiences have most likely always been subject to distraction and drift during all varieties of presentation. While these activities were often confined to solitary activities since inter-person distractions were limited by their visibility to the speaker (ever been caught passing notes in class?), in the current networked-enabled presentation room, multi-person off-task "distractions" are now possible (ever read your e-mail during a conference talk?). This paper explores the potential for positive effects of this ability; back-channel discussions that are on-topic and can even lead to a more involved audience and better interaction with the presenter