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spacer spacer Videoconferencing and Web-based Presentations at Keene State College

Keene State College is a member of the Granite State Distance Learning Network (GSDLN), which has a goal of delivering opportunities for distance learning, professional development; and resources for community-based video conferencing and high-speed Internet access across New Hampshire. GSDLN is a public/private partnership comprised of over 30 organizations dedicated to the partnership's goals.

What is video conferencing?
Instructional Technology offers video conferencing services for academic purposes to the campus community. Video conferencing is a way of communicating from separate geographic locations in which the participants are able to see and hear each other in real time. Video conferencing technology enables the transfer of audio, video and digital material, such as MS Word documents or PowerPoint presentations, to multiple locations. Using video cameras, microphones, monitors, and other peripheral equipment such as DVD players, computers and document cameras, video conferencing participants around the globe can communicate in real-time.

What is a web-based presentation?
Instructional Technology supports Media Site, which is a presentation tool that captures lectures, events, training sessions, and video conferences in digital format. Presentations can be published to a web server and accessed live or on-demand by any student with a web browser. Media Site together with streaming technology allows students to see immediate playback of a presentation without having to download files to the desktop. This avoids time consuming downloads of large files and protects content from being unlawfully distributed.

How can video conferencing or a web based presentation be used in an academic setting?
The ideas below are just some of the reasons to consider using video conferencing or web-based presentation technology with a traditional face-to-face class.

  • Guest expert: When a live visit is not possible, video conferencing makes personal interaction possible and opens students to a greater and more varied point of view. Inviting a colleague to campus to speak might be impossible due to geographic location or time constraints. Video conferencing and/or a web-based presentation would remove these constraints and students would benefit from interacting with an expert.
  • Efficiency and time-space constraints: Video conferencing and/or a web-based presentation can be more efficient than a face-to-face visit, allowing more frequent communication, and saving time and resources.
  • Meets needs of non-traditional students: Students who are unable to attend on-campus classes can still benefit from personal interaction with a guest expert because of the accessibility that video conferencing and web-based presentations allow.
  • Reaches different learning styles: A video conference and/or a web-based presentation can improve retention of information for some students by appealing to a variety of learning styles. The formats include diverse media such as video or audio clips, graphics, and computer applications, which are easier for some students to understand.
  • Relationship building: Supports the formation of relationships between learners and mentors/role models. It can serve as an introduction to the world for students from different social, cultural, economic, and experiential backgrounds.

What do I need to do to learn to use this technology?
Thankfully you don't have to learn a lot of new technology. Both video conferencing and Media Site are configured with ease-of-use in mind. In addition, Instructional Technology has a distance learning support specialist assigned to assist faculty and presenters with material preparation, program scheduling, and technical training. It's highly recommended that you arrange a meeting with the support staff well before your class/event takes place. You will need to be clear about your goals as they will help determine the best options and method available to you for content delivery. An overview of the technical setup is included, and is an important piece of the planning phase. The training offered by a support specialist is added assurance that your presentation will go smoothly.

What do I need to do to prepare my content?
Plan ahead! While this may seem obvious it can't be emphasized enough. Content that was created for classroom delivery has different challenges when delivered through video or the web. Below is a list of things to think about as you create material for you class. Remember, you will have a distance learning support specialist who will assist you with the items below.

Permission to use copyrighted materials must be given! Please do not assume that because material is used for educational purposes that Fair Use is in effect.

Preparing presentation content for applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint:

  • Be aware of the amount of text on the screen: Too many words on a screen make it difficult to read and appear cluttered. A good rule of thumb is to limit the lines of text per screen to 6. In this format information is best presented using bulleted points or key-words.
  • Use large, bold text. A sans-serif font such as Arial or Helvetica works very well and is easy to read. A 24 point font is a safe size to work with. While other font faces may look more appealing on your computer screen, they're often much more difficult to read.
  • Use a mix of upper and lower case letters: It's difficult to read only upper case letters so consider using a combination of upper and lower case.
  • Use colors in the middle of the color spectrum. Bright saturated colors are difficult to read on a monitor and should be avoided. Blue background hues and yellow or white text are easy to read. Avoid reds and greens as they don't transmit well on TV monitors.
  • Be certain that your materials can be accessed from the distance learning classroom. Your "P" drive on the KSC network, a USB drive, CD-ROM or other means of accessing material must be thought out and tested before the 1st day of class.

Preparing to use multimedia such as DVD's or audio:

  • Cue audio or video tracks ahead of class.
  • Double-check sound and visuals. Make sure everyone can see or hear your media well before you launch into your lecture.

Teaching a distance learning class:

  • Plan for spontaneity: This is an oxymoron; however, it's critical to think about interaction between the local classroom and the remote site(s). The use of touch-to-speak microphones might take 1 or 2 times before students become comfortable with this form of communication.
  • Allow enough time for viewing: Display text material (i.e. chart or list) long enough for students to read text. Non-text material, such as graphics, often requires less display time.
  • Interactivity: Group activities can be done in this environment, but it does take planning and may take someone at the remote site to help facilitate. The use of an asynchronous component can help further the interaction between students and between remote sites. KSC uses Blackboard, which is a web based course management system with a variety of tools used to encourage interaction such as threaded discussions, email and group tools, and can easily be integrated into the class.
  • Netiquette: Classroom management can prove to be a challenge especially when teaching at a distance. Clear expectations about behavior and interaction will help you manage the classrooms from the start. Please visit "Strategies for Using Videoconferencing Technology" web site below. Communicating expectations and etiquettes guidelines will help both you and your students.

Is there anyway to capture my class on video tape and/or in digital format?
Yes, in fact this is one of the primary reasons to contact the distance learning support specialist well ahead of the scheduled class.

  • Video conferencing: We can record your presentation on a VHS tape that you supply. Due to space constraints we are unable to maintain a video archive. We can create a single copy if requested but are not able to create multiple copies.
  • Web-based presentations: Digital capture, content streaming and archiving must be scheduled in advance for Media Site presentation. Please review our archiving policy to fully understand how the process works.

How many KSC campus locations offer video conferencing capabilities?
Science Center 101 is KSC's fully dedicated distance learning classroom and includes Media Site's streaming capabilities. A video conferencing cart is available in Elliot Hall; however Media Site is not available with this setup

How do I schedule a video conference or a web-based presentation?
Please give at least 5 days notice.
Science Center 101
Agnes Anderson: 603-358-2323

How do I request training and support?
Distance Learning Support Specialist
Greg Prevost: 603-358-2386
Additional Reading:
Further reading about video conferencing and web-based presentation classroom use:

Strategies for Using Videoconferencing Technology - Etiquette

Web-based presentation examples - Media Site showcase

Updated: October 12, 2007 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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