George Chacko, senior manager for AV services at Pace University in New York, will be speaking at UB Tech® 2019 on “Seasoning Your Online Collaboration With Web and Video Conferencing.” During this session—which Chacko will present with Antonio Soares Jr., manager of educational media at Pace—attendees will learn about web and video conferencing solutions and ways to use them as a flexible online platform for classes, meetings and more.
The evolution of these services over the past few years has changed the way we connect users essentially anytime, anywhere, says Chacko. Most importantly, the interoperability between platforms has been a key advancement in enhancing the user conferencing experience.
Here’s more from Chacko about the subject and his upcoming presentation.
How can videoconferencing impact the learning environment?
The biggest benefit is that it makes it more dynamic. Instead of students sitting in a classroom and staring at the back of a professor’s head as he writes on a whiteboard for 80% of the class time, the classroom is more active. There’s a constant flow of information—not just one person speaking or writing. There’s information being exchanged, student to student, faculty to student, specialist to student, whatever. It’s a more dynamic style of learning.
Why should educators embrace video and web conferencing?
At Pace, we’re moving toward this active learning technology style, which was part of my presentation last year at UB Tech. The active learning style of teaching is changing rapidly, and at Pace, we like to bring topic experts into the classroom to share with students, or have students from a previous year’s class join a learning session.
For this presentation, we want to talk about how videoconferencing is blending in with active learning. It’s fairly simple—and cost effective—to bring in web conferencing, whether it’s a guest speaker or having multiple rooms if someone’s sick and can’t be there. With a laptop and a webcam, you can join a classroom.
Faculty may be resistant to technology in the classroom. We’ll be digging into why that is, and put that into perspective as well. We’ll discuss some of those methodologies and trainings that we’re providing to help those faculty who feel like “maybe this is not for me.”
What’s an important aspect to consider for those new to videoconferencing?
Talk to the participants beforehand. Don’t decide the night before that you’re going to do a web conference, and then walk in there with a webcam and completely destroy people’s expectations for what was supposed to happen.
Start a couple of days ahead, have a discussion and set expectations. Work with the networking crew so you understand what’s going on. If you’re doing web conferencing, it’s always good to have all the stakeholders involved in the conversation beforehand. In short, make sure there’s strong planning.
What will attendees take away from your session?
The whole web or videoconferencing concept in a classroom seems to scare people. I want people to walk out of the session saying, “You know what? It’s really not that hard. We can do this.”
One of the angles I’m going to target is the four different types of setups you can do in a classroom. One would be your very expensive, full-package solution—spend a half million dollars, everything’s face-to-face, the works. That’s the easiest thing to do, but it’s expensive. Then there’s a tier two in which you can use a video bridge with multiple cameras in a classroom and pump that into a lecture-capture solution, but it’s still kind of expensive because there’s some integration involved. The third tier is two cameras in a classroom, using a BlueJeans or WebX. And the final one is a webcam, in which you point and shoot and go.
You can still use any of these options and bring a topic expert into the classroom from another university or from somewhere around the world. Or, for example, you can bring in a previous class for a project—maybe not everyone is in the area—and you can have a quick conference, get into a huddle space, and get some insight into whatever you’re working on. Any kind of flow of information that’s simplified is best; it shouldn’t be challenging. There are easy ways to do it.
For the most part, I want people to get this information. It’s not too complicated or expensive to have a solution like this, whether it’s “out-of-box” or in a room.
For more information about UB Tech® 2019, visit www.ubtechconference.com.