OPEN MEDIA -- While everybody understands the virtues of IRC, there are other options worth considering, such as Flash Meeting. Tim Kirby showed me this back in the days of Intellisign. He ran it on his desktop as an easily scaleable multi-party audio/video option that did cool things such as automatically record meetings for replay. The Knowledge Media Institute runs with it as part of the Open University courses. Downside: Flash. Upside: Flash.
You type your comments into the chat window. No setup. No downloads. All you need is the Shockwave plug-in on your computer. Most people do.
Open University isn't selling the package (yet) but they permit a bunch of temporary evaluation accounts. I'm going to try it at Tipperary Institute because I need something to pass video through the firewall and I think it can happen over the SWF format.