There are a number of different ways in which you can talk to colleagues face-to-face over the web. All are free and, once you get started, easy to use.
If you just want a one-to-one conversation Skype is probably the easiest. This link will allow you to download the software to your PC: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-gb/. You will need a webcam and microphone- for those at Warwick the Early Modern Forum has several of these available to borrow.
For the more complex requirements of conversations involving several people and document-sharing, the Early Modern Forum will offer a (free) facilitation service open to all members. Just let us know who you want to talk with and when, and we will set the conversation up using software you can access through your browser and provide live technical support as needed.
As we will explore over the coming months, this method is ideal for discussing drafts of academic work, commenting simultaneously on primary sources, and running online seminars (we will trial allowing listeners to comment / question both orally and via text chat). There is also the possibility of recording proceedings, either for yourself or (we hope) to share with the other members of the Early Modern Forum.
For more professional events and/or meetings, we might consider using the Access Grid (Warwick), and similar environments elsewhere. This is a bit more complicated, but superb for larger-scale seminars or workshops across more than one institution - especially good for colleagues who are located in far-flung places. Again, David will provide technical support as and when needed.
Involved in this particular seminar were scholars from Hull (foreground) and (small images, clockwise) Essex, Keele, Oxford, Sheffield, Royal Holloway and Newcastle, as well as (large images left to right) Leeds and UEA. The quality of the projection and the responsiveness of the image-movement means that Access Grid provides an workable and effective communication environment.