I was helping out a faculty member the other day who had a request to record a phone interview and found a website called Free Conference Calling.  This site is free and after signing up you are given a phone number, conference code and host code that allows you to initiate a conference call with up to 1,000 callers (note: only 25 can talk at one time).  This site allows you, the host, to control the conference call completely, either via your phone or a call management web interface.  Using these tools you can fully control the conversation.  You can mute all participants and have the participants “raise their hand” to speak, invite guest speakers with a special code that exempts them from the Mute All feature, request caller names, and best of all record the call.  The great thing is when you turn on call recording all call participants are alerted to the fact so no one is recorded without their knowledge.  This recording can be made public or private, shared via Facebook, Twitter or email or downloaded to your computer as an MP3.  No need for a fancy or expensive conference phone, everyone can just dial in from the comfort of their own office or even their home and participate in the call.

This free account allows you to talk and/or record for up to 6 hours at a time and is available 24/7.  There is no scheduling needed, just send your conference phone number and participant code out to those you wish to participate and that’s it.  They can call in up to 10 minutes before you, the host, call in and can listen to music while they wait for you to dial in and join the call.  It was super easy and in our test I was up and running in less than 5 minutes after signing up.   I really liked the service in my short test. The only think to watch out for is that you call in to a toll number (not a toll free 1-800 number) so long distance charges can apply depending upon your phone plan.

Possible Uses:

  • Conference call for research groups with individuals across the country or world (note: international charges apply for those outside the US and long distance charges apply for those within the US)
  • Record a phone interview for research or class project
  • Record a phone conference or interview for individuals that cannot participate in the call
  • Record a phone call with native or international speakers and link the mp3 file in OAKS for your students to hear
  • Conduct a conference call for job interviews
  • Conduct a conference call for journal editing
  • Create a podcast or record an audio file of only you on the call.  Great for when you need to record something but don’t have a microphone.

Remember – this call is being routed through a 3rd party number and possibly recorded therefore you should refrain from discussing personal or FERPA protected information.

Website – http://www.freeconferencecalling.com/

Image – http://www.homeincomeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/telephones.jpg