Teaching with Technology
Videoconferencing @ Centre
Videoconferencing is quickly becoming a championed method for connecting students with professionals in their field of study, broadening student world views and perspectives, and extending learning beyond the classroom. Options for videoconferencing span the spectrum in terms of price and complexity, yet Centre College prides itself on providing cost-effective solutions for faculty, staff, and students to connect with the world around them. Using programs designed to make these significant virtual connections when physical connections and visits aren’t as feasible help inspire growth while saving the college money. Alternatively, in times when faculty or staff are unable to make it campus, virtual connections can be a saving grace for conducting classes, interviews, or meetings. With the flexibility to continue conducting business-as-usual, individuals and the college as a whole benefit.
Where Can I Use Videoconferencing?
There are currently 26 classroom spaces and 2 conference rooms that are equipped with permanent videoconferencing technology.
The following rooms are equipped:
In each of these spaces, a high-powered HD Logitech Webcam with a built-in microphone is installed for on-the-spot video conferences.
The CTL also has webcams and tripods available for checkout for videoconferencing setups occurring in rooms that aren't currently equipped with this technology. Of course you may use your own webcam and microphone to conduct videoconferencing sessions in any space you would like. If you have any questions regarding the setup of videoconferencing technology for an event you are planning, please do not hesitate to contact the CTL for assistance or to checkout equipment.
Choosing the Best Tool For the Job
Determining your goals for the videoconferencing session is the number one priority. Although many tools exist, we want to make sure the setup and connection for both parties is as smooth as possible. For videoconferencing at Centre College, our tool of choice is Zoom.
Zoom is a videoconferencing software company that allows flexibility, mobility, and interactivity for users whose wishes range from a simple chat to screen sharing and recording.
Zoom is the best option for:
Users can setup their own free accounts using their Centre email address:
If you would like a pro account, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also used at Centre:
Google Hangouts - Click here to read more
Effective Classroom Uses
Using videoconferencing in the classroom opens up an exciting new world where students and faculty can experience learning beyond traditional instructional practices.
Creating a virtual presence allows faculty to take their students on a journey to other lands, bring in guest speakers in an instant, or create cross-disciplinary courses and team teaching opportunities that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
Some of the ways our faculty have already used videoconferencing to enhance the classroom experience are:
Connecting students with professionals in their respective fields of study -
In the fall of 2013, DRA 355 students were connected with five professionals in the field of dramatic arts, where they were able to conduct interviews with each individual about their line of work, experiences, and their lives.
Bringing in guest speakers to talk to the class on a topic -
Several classes have taken the opportunity to create space for guest speakers in their courses. Some of them have been able to bring in speakers from other cities, states, and even countries to speak with their students about a topic. Some of the courses that have been able to do this have been FYS courses, both in CentreTerm 2014 and 2015. Courses ranged from Math and Economics to Creative Writing and History.
Bringing in an author from a book that the class is reading would be a great way to connect the students with the reality of writing, storytelling, and the lives of those who encounter the world around us. Having someone speak to the class about her experiences with the gambling industry can help enlighten students to the realities of casinos and the money-making business that they are.
For more ideas about using videoconferencing in your teaching, contact email@example.com.
To ensure the best possible experience when using videoconferencing in your classroom, the following best practices are recommended:
1. Use a headset
If you are conducting an interview or meeting with individuals in separate locations, using a headset can drastically increase the audio quality of a videoconferencing call by eliminating background noise and feedback.
2. Mute your microphone when not speaking
Particularly in large meetings, background noise is picked up by the microphone(s) very easily and can become very distracting to the meeting. When possible, mute your audio when the other connections are speaking. Don't forget to unmute when you want to respond!
3. Try to avoid rooms with windows.
While this is not always possible, especially in academic classrooms, it is important to try to minimize the amount of natural light that can impact the video quality.
4. Always test both the audio and video connection prior to the meeting.
Testing the connection will allow you to see and hear the quality of the feed prior to going "live". If there are any issues, you will be able to address them ahead of time, instead of during the meeting.
5. Use the chat feature
All of the videoconferencing tools have a built-in chat feature that can help with technical difficulties, Q&A, and comment management throughout the session.
6. Be yourself...
When you're conducting a videoconferencing session, it should operate as if you are sitting in the same room with the person or people with whom you are connecting. You don't need to shout, but do make sure to speak clearly. Limit unnecessary movements that can make jerky renderings on the screen. Finally, do one audio check, then speak normally and assume all is well. Someone will interrupt you if they can't hear you or others.
7. Have a backup plan
Remember, if the technology fails, as it sometimes will, employ an alternate method of communication (e.g. cellphone, chat, conference call). Always have a backup!
Where Can I Use Videoconferencing?
What Program Should I Use?
Effective Uses in the Classroom
Centre College | 600 West Walnut Street Danville, KY 40422 | 859-238-5288 | firstname.lastname@example.org