I was chatting with someone this morning about this seminar, and realized and enormous assumption that I made when setting up and writing the discussion questions: that we'd be talking about on-demand video, forgetting entirely about videoconferencing.
Have you used much video conferencing? What preparations do you make? What does it do well? How does the dynamic in the room change if there is a combination of f2f and online participators?
One barrier that I've run into is the very real issue of hardware: computers that are too slow, that are too locked down, or bandwidth that just can't handle the stream. Consequently, I'm cautious about trying or recommending video conferencing as a communications method with a large reach. That said, we have conducted meetings with Skype with some success.
I'm popping in here quickly now and will be back later with a more thorough report, but yesterday we ran a session that was a videoconference to watch and discuss videos together. We've tried this before at SCoPE, and it has always been a bit of a challenge to set up. When it does work it can be a really powerful way to anchor a discussion.
Here are some earlier SCoPE seminar examples:
Culturally Diverse Learners -- this is a video series developed at Thompson Rivers University.
Art of Teaching - video series developed by Vancouver Island University
During these live sessions we had the videos online in sections, and participants were "sent away" to watch a clip then come back to the Elluminate room to discuss as a group. We had to set up protocols to bring everyone back together -- like a green check mark when you're finished. There was quite a bit of technical overhead with several windows open, etc. Originally we thought we could use webtour but of course you run into issues with audio, or upload the videos to Elluminate but that had its own issues (can't remember what now)
Yesterday we met up in Google Hangout and watched videos that had been uploaded to YouTube. This worked very well because we were all together in the same space. One person controlled the video, you can actually speak over the video if you want to, we relied on visual cues (thumbs up, oops forgot to unmute, etc). I have some video clips of us in a video conference watching videos together (!) which I'll put together and share here.
We're lucky enough to have full room videoconferencing from our main college campus to 10 different community locations (Tandberg now owned by Cisco). Our territory also has an extensive Telehealth system that uses the same equipment and our high schools have a fairly strong network. In the last couple of years our local First Nations have been installing units and we often have students participate in courses delivered to their FN offices in small communities outside of the centre.
In terms of webcam web conferencing, we have Adobe Connect Pro in-house and I have personally taught various workshops to our community campuses using that technology (allows sharing of desktops, breakout rooms with whiteboards, live presentations, chat, recording). Some of our totally online courses use Adobe Connect to provide troubleshooting sessions for students in Northern BC or around the Yukon; they also will use it to deliver presentations and explanations about difficult course concepts to help students learn.
We tend to use Skype for HR interviews or quick one-to-one sessions although I recently heard that one of our community campus coordinators was coaching her student in Teslin as she travels to Whitehorse for meetings.
Bandwidth is always a concern but we've found ways to minimize the demands; we only use the shared video cameras to introduce people; most of us only use webcam when we're presenting and, if bandwidth is still an issue we'll take the audio out of the session and talk through a Premiere teleconference.
Got to run. Interesting session Thanks Amy.