Tech Tuesday: Videoconferencing at UST
From Information Resources and Technologies
What is videoconferencing all about?
In videoconferencing technology, two or more people at different locations can see and hear each other at the same time, sometimes even sharing computer applications for collaboration. Videoconferencing offers possibilities for individuals, colleges and libraries to use these systems for a variety of purposes, including formal instruction (courses, lessons and tutoring), connection with guest speakers and experts, multischool project collaboration, professional activities and community events.
Where is videoconferencing being used at St Thomas ?
The university provides two general purpose spaces for videoconferencing:
- Room 102, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center, St. Paul campus (slated to become the E-Center for faculty learning and development)
- Room LL09, Terrence Murphy Hall, Minneapolis campus
The College of Business and the Law School each have a dedicated room for videoconferencing:
- Room 439, the Strategic Board of Governors Room, Schulze Hall
- Room LL36, School of Law building
Additionally, there are two office systems used by Information Resources and Technologies to communicate internally via IP or over ISDN lines.
What connection technology does UST use for videoconferencing?
We are connected to the Internet2 Commons (I2) as well as the public internet. I2 is a not-for-profit consortium led by more than 200 U.S. universities that use a myriad of site coordinators around the world to collaborate and share information. The I2 provides large-scale deployment of tools for one-to-one, one-to-group, and group-to-group collaborations enabling the I2 research and education community to hold distributed working groups, classes, meetings and events.
Videoconferencing also can be done over the public Internet; however, when using the public Internet, the same types of resources and support are not available. UST primarily uses I2 to connect to the outside world, especially for large-format events.
What are the benefits of videoconferencing?
Sometimes it's just not possible or practical to have a face-to-face meeting with two or more people. Sometimes a telephone conversation or conference call is adequate. Other times, an e-mail exchange works just fine. There are times, however, when videoconferencing adds another alternative.
Consider videoconferencing when:
- A live conversation is needed;
- Visual information is an important component of the conversation;
- The conversation participants can't come physically to the same location; or
- The expense or time of travel is a consideration.
Here are a few examples of how videoconferencing can benefit people around campus:
- A faculty member keeps in touch with class while gone for a week at a conference
- A guest lecturer is brought into a class from another institution
- A researcher collaborates with colleagues at other institutions on a regular basis without loss of time due to travel
- A faculty member participates in a thesis defense at another institution
- A researcher answers questions about a grant proposal from an agency or review committee
How do I set up a videoconference at UST?
If you would like to set up a videoconference, the first thing to do is talk to your ATC or CORE representative. They will be able to assess your needs and help coordinate the conference.