Classroom Support Services (CSS), a unit of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, is pleased to work with the Student Equipemtn Loan Program to bring video conferencing capabilities for faculty and students of all disciplines. For non-academic uses (other than by students who can use the system for free) of the videoconferencing system please contact CSS for the fee schedule. The equipment is capable of videoconferencing with anywhere in the world, bringing the UW just a screen away from universities and internet cafes all over the world. Whether you wish to interview students in tsunami-affected countries, chat with colleagues in Cairo, or design a course jointly with students from Red states or foreign universities, this equipment can revolutionize your education. The UW community now has the world at its fingertips, free of charge.
The videoconferencing equipment is located in the basement of Kane Hall, and can be toured or reserved by contacting CSS Videoconferences. However, before making reservations, please review the following guidelines for use.
Classroom Support Services encourages the use of videoconferencing by faculty, students, and student groups for educational, administrative and social purposes. Creating connections between students, organizations and universities around the world can create an international interaction normally only offered through study abroad programs. We hope that this program can be an important step in fostering and developing those connections at the UW.
Faculty are welcome and encouraged to participate in this service, especially in helping students design unique alternative and creative projects that take advantage of this connection to the global educational community. This equipment will also allow professors to invite colleagues from around the world to lecture here at UW without paying for a plane ticket or hotel, and can be the foundation of joint courses that add a rich cultural perspective to the classroom.
We are interested in making this technology usable, flexible and available, and would love to provide assistance not only in using the technology, but also designing and promoting projects. CSS is interested in helping bring an international education to UW, and are eager to assist in any way possible to bring success to your event.
The Polycom Model HDX 9000 high definition videoconferencing system is a Boardroom class unit, with two 50" plasma screens, document camera, full room microphone system and a High Definition camera for improved video images. Although the equipment is not portable, the room can accommodate a maximum of about 25 people, all of whom can clearly watch, listen and speak during the conference. If you have any questions about connectivity, and would like more technical information, please email CSS Videoconferences for assistance.
There are a limited number of Apple iPad2 tablets available for loan that have a videoconferencing applet allowing connection to a H.323 compatible videoconferencing systems worldwide, providing similar capabilities to a full system. These iPads are appropriate for extended checkout periods if you will be studing abroad. If you have any questions, would like more technical information, or want to make a reservation for one of these limited iPads please email CSS Videoconferences for assistance.
Use this URL to plan meetings World Clock Meeting Planner.
Videoconference compared to Skype
Skype is a proprietary point-to-point IP service and software application. It uses a slower software codec to connect to another point and uses the computers running the program to provide the background processing to function. Because the protocol is point-to-point, rather than conforming to H.323 videoconferencing standards, the data packets it sends are slower and are not prioritized in their transfer, so Skype is more susceptible to connection problems, dropouts and disconnects. A dedicated videoconference system using H.323 standards uses multiple routers to connect the participants, the data packets are prioritized and if too much packet loss is detected, instant rerouting kicks in to maintain the connection.
Skype is predominately used from a laptop or desktop computer using a low resolution webcam and a microphone. Webcams are best used for only a couple of people in close proximity. Skype supports video chat between two points at no cost; a group chat of up to 10 participants is available for a charge. Our dedicated videoconference facilities have a high-definition video camera with pan, tilt, and zoom functions. The camera and PZM microphone allows for a room full of people to actively participate in the conversation. The multipoint control unit that is part of a dedicated VC system allows for multiple endpoints in simultaneous communications. Two screens allow all participants to see and hear all other participants, as well as other media (video, computer, document camera images). It is not possible to show a computer display to others in a Skype conversation.
The higher quality and reliability of videoconference connections makes a more professional impression during more formal communications such as job interviews, dissertation defenses, meeting with influential people, etc. H.323 protocol has been widely accepted by government, private business and educational entities as the videoconference standard due to improved security, better use of bandwidth and resources. Here at the UW, it is common to get videoconference requests to communicate with military and governmental agencies that do not support Skype, so having a dedicated videoconference facility that is able to connect with these agencies and add to the educational opportunities of UW students is important. Skype is very appropriate for more casual connections, with classmates, friends or family.
Availability: Reservations of this facility are first come, first served. We recommend that you make your reservation request as early as possible, in order to allow for any conflicts.
Making a Reservation: Reservations can be made by emailing CSS Videoconferences with as much time before your event as possible with the following information:
- The desired local DATE, TIME and DURATION of the videoconference.
- Information about the party you are connecting to: name, email, phone, location, and agency/affiliation.
- The name, email and phone number of the videoconference technicians at the other end.
- The IP address of the party you are connecting to.
- We will need to conduct a connectivity test prior to your conference (firewall and equipment problems can be solved at this time, ensuring a smooth event).
- The projected local attendance of the videoconference.
- Will a computer be used to send a presntation to the facility at the other end? If yes, the computer should be at the connectivity test.
Things to Do Before the Day of Use: The following should be done before the day of use in order to facilitate a smooth and successful conference:
- If there is to be a computer presentation, we recommend sending a copy of the presentation to the far side participants just in case there is a problem. This will allow them to follow along on their own computers.
- Arrange for a contingency plan in case of connectivity issues (i.e. if the connection fails will you contact the other end via AIM, email or a phone call).
On the Day of Use:
- Please arrive 15 minutes before the conference is scheduled to begin in order to initiate the connection, and work out any last minute technical or furniture issues.
- Please remind the audience that no food or drink is allowed, and that the microphone will pick up all conversations in the room. Even quiet chatting can disrupt a lecturer’s presentation.
The videoconferencing equipment is not available for obscene or commercial uses. CSS, STF and the University of Washington is not liable for the transmission of obscene, commercial or copyrighted material. Violation of this policy will result in the permanent loss of access to the equipment for all attendees of the conference.
If you have any questions about the equipment, its capabilities or possible uses, please feel free to email Classroom Support Services.