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Virtual Topical Seminar 9/21/04 Tom McNeal Note: this transcript prepared for possible submission for captioning. Start time: 00:23 Dr. Johnson is standing in the middle of the screen; there are chairs next to him and behind him. There is also a cabinet of some kind behind him. Dr. Harold Johnson: It's ah 1:45 on Tuesday, September 21. I would like to welcome everyone to our first of a series of Virtual Topical Seminars. The topic for this one is Technology and Structure, particularly as it relates to the use of Internet-based videoconferencing. Today the presenter that I will introduce is Mr. Tom McNeal. Tom is the Director for Desktop Videoconferencing here at Kent State University. And Tom is also one of the Topical Team Leaders on the Join Together grant. John, Tom is going to be giving a presentation in some of the major concepts related to ah the use of Internet-based videoconferencing technology. Ah, then he’ll answer some questions that are frequently asked about this technology, then a brief summary and that will be it. Hopefully, we will be all completed ah in about 45 minutes. And of course, a full range of Virtual Topical Seminars is on the web where you used to register for this website. Ah with that brief introduction, I would like to introduce Mr. Tom McNeal. Ah, Tom is individual, again leading our effort throughout the nation, to actually apply this technology, to enhance teaching and learning by facilitating collaboration reducing isolation, and through that, recognizing some of the best of our teachers. So Tom thank you very much and um take us away. Tom McNeal: Ok. Thank you Harold. And ah, ah, as Harold said, I’m Tom McNeal one of the leaders of the Objectives ah 1.1 Technology Infrastructure and ah what we're doing is trying to find out what’s the best way to hook up videoconferencing equipment using your infrastructure at your particular building. We’ve been experimenting with a number of different ah programs, softwares, ah hardware, and tried to get, ah, good fit for wherever you are. Well the first thing I want to do is to switch over to the Elmo that I have over here. And go ahead and show you a brief presentation of everything we’ve been doing. Ok. This is Objective 1.1 and the team leaders is Tom McNeal and Jorge Maldonado. Now with our… with our objective, Technology Infrastructure, what we're trying to do is to create a network of videoconferencing systems for our Members so they can carry out their project activities. And we're doing this with mainly a 8233 or Internet videoconferencing. Ah, some of the things you are going to see are the high end and there’s lower end, but we're trying to do it where that it fits your system in your school or university so you can jump in and join us. Now in order to ah meet this objective, we have a number of goals that we're working on. First thing we need to do, and we already started, is to conduct a needs assessment of our Members. Our Team Leaders, our ah Executive Advisory Board, our Master Teachers, our schools and universities we're plan on ah interviewing them all and find out what kind of network they have. What kind of set up. And is it easy or does it take a little work in order to set it up for 8233 videoconferencing. We’re also providing some technical support. We can’t come out to your school, but we help a lot by finding out who your network people are and talking to them, giving them the information that they're going to need to help set up your system. And we're also giving support for purchasing systems. This is one of the first things that we did, we moved into with, an agreement to get you the best price on ah videoconferencing equipment. After we’ve done that, we want to find a way, how we can give out all this information to you so you can use it. And at the same time, conduct a research, a research project concerning the use of H323 or Internet videoconferencing and ah so we can find out if its impact, what's its impact on, on the project in Deaf Education. Time: 5:02 There is a slide on the screen only, it is labeled Team Members and it has nine bullets on it. Tom McNeal is talking, but you cannot see him. Tom McNeal: In my team I have a number of Team Leaders, Experts, Members that have joined us in this project and we’re always looking for more teams. And if you're looking at this slide right here you can see that they're from all over the United States. And most of them have ah some experience with videoconferencing or with Deaf Ed. And they're interested in videoconferencing. We're always looking out for more people to help us. And ah we wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of the things we have accomplished so far if we tried to do this alone, we're only able to do it by working as a team. And later on I’ll talk to you about maybe joining us. The first thing I want to talk about here is our purchasing assistance. Well, we went into an agreement with Review Video that in many cases cut the price of the videoconferencing system in half. We made this available to you by placing it up on our website, that you can go at any time and download it, so that you could look over the different prices for a Polycom equipment, for a Sony equipment, and ah I think they may even have Tandberg equipment at this time, that you could purchase and a save up to fifty percent. And I also found a site called ah vu-video where you could purchase slightly used systems at a fraction of the cost. I know some of you may say, "no, no, I don’t want to use any equipment used, used any used equipment", but I, I’ve purchased two used ViewStations and they worked just fine. The cost of both of those systems had been about one-forth of the regular price, so if you’re interested in that, let me know and I’ll give you their website and also their phone number. You can call them up. When you talk to them you're talking to the owner. One of the main things that we want to do with ah Objective 1.1 is to help provide some technical support for you there. We can’t come out to everybody’s school and set up your system but we can give you some help through white papers, through phone and e-mail contacts, and through ah talking to experts and relaying the information over to you. If you ever called up a ah, ah technical support line before, sometimes it makes you feel like your talking to someone who’s looking through a book and going down a list. That’s not the way we ah we do our technical support here. You’ll be talking to people who are using the same systems that you’re using, and gone through many of the same problems that you've gone through, and they have many good ideas about what you could do to alleviate your problems. Also, we, we try to make contact with your technical people at your end so that we can give them white papers that we've had developed so that they can use those papers to best set up your systems and give you the best possible quality. And finally, we have user contacts. Sometimes the best thing is to talk to somebody else who's in the same situation that you are..who are..had some of the same problems, who can give you some ides about what they did in order to ah correct any problems that they may have had. One of the first things we did was we had a Topical Team Leaders survey. Where we surveyed about 16 Topical Team Leaders and 14 ah ah Executive Advisory Board Members *laugh* to see if they're using any kind of videoconferencing at all. And we found out from them, from these surveys that the majority of them do have some kind of videoconferencing system, but they're not really using it a lot right now. They're occasionally using it and we're gonna have to work on that. If you're looking at this chart right now you can see from the, the Topical Team Leaders and ah the Executive Advisory Board Members, you can see how many, the percentage of them, are using it every day, once a week, once a month, or a few times a year and ah we're gonna have to work on that to get those numbers up. But if you go on in the survey, that we're going to post on our website, you’ll find out all of them want to use these virtu ah these videoconferencing systems Time: 10:01 The whole screen shows a slide with a title of “Topical Team Leaders Survey” You can hear Tom McNeal talking in the background. Tom McNeal: for student observations, to provide teacher support, and it collaborates with ah other teachers that are in other parts of their state and maybe the country. And they..also in the this survey..you’ll find out that even from the data for what they believe now and impact for the future, they both believe that videoconferencing is going to have a great impact in the future. So, I think all of us are very interested in seeing how far we can take videoconferencing. Right here you see some more of the data that we collected. Talking about what our Topical Team Leaders believe is the future the current and future impact of virtu..of ah… videoconferencing on Deaf Education. And we see that most, a large majority, believe that it’s going to have ah a really tremendous impact on ah on Deaf Education. Like I said before, this survey the complete survey is going to be on the Deaf Education Website. There is also a Master Teacher survey where we're trying to find out where our, our Master Teachers have access to videoconferencing. Not as many Master Teachers are able to get up on videoconferencing, but we, we're in the process of completing a second survey where we're trying to find out if they're interested in doing videoconferencing, especially if they're interested in iVisit for videoconferencing. Now that’s going to lead us right into the section where we're talking about iVisit. Now over the last ah few months we have been investigating a program called iVisit, which is a teacher collaboration tool. One of the things that we really like about this program is that it is cross platform and we’ve been looking for something that is cross platform for some time. It will work on both the Mac and the Windows. And it will work on a basic on the Windows side, it will work on a basic web cam that you can get for twenty dollars. On the Mac side it needs a slightly more expensive web cam that goes for about sixty. The software, the basic software, is free, but we're also going to make for all the Master Teachers that, that ah decide to use this we're going to make the ah Plus version available to them. That makes it possible for them to talk to more then one person at the same time. Ok, now with this software its..you have the capability to share documents, webpage, and slide shows all while you're in the project. Another really interesting feature about this project is that if you’re setting it up and you found out..this out…before when you go to set up the Polycom or Tandberg or Sony, there are a number of firewalls that you have to open. With the iVisit, there’s only one firewall that you need to open up in your system. Now that, that makes it ah that opens it up to a lot more sites and a lot more people. No, it does not have the quality of the ViaVideo, the Sony, the Tandberg, but it’s a great way for ah Master Teachers to collaborate together, for teachers to collaborate with a class and it’s ah very inexpensive and easy ah to use. Now if a you need something a little bit more robust, at Kent State University we have a program called LearnLinc that we're in, we're testing here. With this program, it’s ah similar to webCT with a video component. With this ah with this pro ah software and hardware, if you choose to have hardware with it, you can ah ah video conference with a classroom of students that could be in one place or in different places and all of the people at one time can see you and talk to you and use chat and share documents and webpages. But here’s one thing that is really neat about this, the professor, the leader of the class, has control of what each student is looking on their particular desk at any time. Time: 15:03 A slide is covering the whole screen. The title is “Learning Linc” and Tom McNeal is talking in the background. Tom McNeal: The teacher can give it over to the student, to give that student some time to explain something, but mainly ah all the control rests with the instructor. This is a program that is set up here and ah I think we have one of ah our Team Leaders who’s going to be using this with their class to see if it fits our needs as a tool for ah pre-service teachers in Deaf Education. Mostly we’ve been using the higher end H323 conferencing equipment. We’ve been using ViaVideos, ViewStations, Sony’s and Tandberg’s at all of these systems will work great, but sometimes we run into situations where the schools do not have the bandwidth to be able to use this equipment or they may not be able to open up all of the firewalls or they may simply may not be able to afford it. But this is the step that you may want to build up to. You may start with iVisit, that you could download and have on your computer at home or in your office. And then you may move up to maybe trying something on LearnLinc and then after that you might really feel lucky and then go to a ViewStation or a Sony or a Tandberg system and ah place that in your school. With these systems you can do multipoint, you can video conference at a much higher rate, you could use an Elmo just like I am using right now ah these ah sheets that for my slide show your seeing here are on an Elmo and I hook it up into the back of the ViewStation and I’m able to project them out. Ok, Virtual Topical Seminars. Nw what we're doing right now is a Virtual Topical Seminar. Where we're taking a video signal going into an encoder and then streaming out the video to ah potentially hundreds of users to that all they have to do is bring up their webpage, type in the URL, and they can participate in ah a video conference. It’s slightly delayed, it’s slightly delayed,just like ah maybe about fifteen seconds. But, ah people on the other end can’t tell that it’s slightly delayed. It is a way of getting the message out to people all over the country whether they have a video system or not. All you really need is a computer hooked up to the Internet and Windows Media Player, that you can download for free. What we're doing, how we're doing this is that ah we're using the video streamer over at Kent State to send it out. But, ah, this past year we did a three test Virtual..Virtual Topical Seminars. And then ah the first one we made our own system. We took ah one of our computers, we downloaded to streaming and coder software that was free. And ah we went a head and streamed out that way. So this is something that is not beyond many of you out there. In fact, some of you may have this video streaming technology in, at your universities or schools. At the same time we were streaming we were also capturing these programs for viewing at a later date. Ah and once we did that we said, "Wait a minutes." What ah some people were asking is, "Can we have this in captions? Can we have captioning on there?" And we found out that we could have it in captions. We don’t have the equipment and everything to do it while the video,while the video streaming is going on, but we do have ah, ah some of the technology to caption it after it’s been ah after it’s been streamed. And we're working on that, we have a few bugs on it, but ah we're hopefully will have it out soon so that all of these ah Virtual Topical Seminars will be captured, captioned and ah ready to stream out at any time. All you have to do is go to a particular ah URL which we will give you and then you can go ahead and ah send it out. Time: 20:00 The whole screen shows a slide titled “Captioning”. You can hear Tom McNeal talking in the background. Tom McNeal: Well..I coming..that’s about the last thing on my list. And I know I went over a lot of things there and I know you may have a few questions. I, I had a few questions from before. I can go ahead and go over those and if you have any more you can send an email down to Sherry or Michelle and then they'll run it right down the hallway to me and then I’ll try to answer it as best as I can. Ok, here’s one basic problems…all right…right off the back…you know the two basic problems that have been slowing us down and giving us headaches from the beginning. Ah number one is bandwidth, ah that’s how much space you have on your network to get on the Internet. And I know a lot of you have T1 lines, maybe even T3 lines, but it..a lot of it depends on how many users you have on your campus or in your school that are using it at any particular time. So..if you..may have a lot of bandwidth that works great in the morning before anyone’s there, but in the afternoon it slows way down and that that’s usually because everybody’s getting' on there and everybody is taking their share of the bandwidth. There is only so much and we all have to share. Some things we’ve been trying to do in order to relieve this problem is work with a new standard that’s just coming out and moving into Polycom and moving into Sony. It’s called H264 that lets you get twice the quality at half the bandwidth. That’s something that we're going to be testing as the year go along. The second big problem, which is something that is defiantly ah ah defeatable, is ah firewalls. Now usually there’s many firewalls that ah, ah your tech people may have a hard time in getting through and once again that’s why we're here to help you out. We have a number of white papers that shows you how to configure your firewall to let the video signal in and out. And also, that’s another reason why we started to investigate things like ah using ah, ah iVisit. Because with iVisit there’s only one firewall port you need to open. So those are some of the things that we're going to be working with. If you're at a place and you're running into firewalls the main thing that you need to do is have your tech person contact us and I will make sure to get the information that could help them. If that..they can’t find the information in there, I’ll turn them over to one of our Team Members that is working with firewalls and they'll help them one-to-one. Remember you're talking to someone who's doing the same thing that you are and they know some of the same..they had some of the same problems and some of the same hurdles that you had to overcome. Ok, another question. What where..are some of the, the advantages of it? The advantages of it is that you can use it practically anywhere you have Internet videoconferencing; the price is coming way down so it’s almost affordable to anybody. It’s getting easier to use and ah and you can practically do it anywhere now a days. Really, anywhere if you have enough bandwidth and there are not firewalls blocking. Ok, we have one more question. Ok, what were changes that are coming out that we want to talk about that are happening in the future? Ah, changes, we really want to get as many of our Master Teachers as possible involved with the ah with this videoconferencing. And we want to get them hooked up with the iVisit so we can see how it can work with them and see if they can use it. See if it's something easy for them to use. Remember this works with Mac or Windows ah so you don’t have that issue anymore. It only needs one firewall so that defiantly is do able to be able to get open. And we will ah supply you with the Plus software once you’ve gone online downloaded the free version of iVisit and you contact us, we'll make sure you get the Plus version that makes it possible for you to do a multipoint. Where, where you can talk to up to eight people at the same time. Now, also the camera, if you’re a PC person we have some of the Logitech Messenger cameras that we can allow you to use if this is something you want to use. Time: 25:06 Tom McNeal is in the center of the screen talking with chairs and a cabinet in the background. Tom McNeal: So those are some of the areas that we're going to go into. Ah..for..so I don’t have anymore questions. Do you have any more questions, maybe not. If not, I can..you can always send me an e-mail later. I can send you an e-mail back or call you on the phone and answer your question at that time. So to rap up the whole thing, Objective 1.1 job is to help build a technology network of videoconferencing systems throughout the country where teachers can talk to each other and collaborate on different activities related to the project. Two we're surveying all of our members to see if they have a network that can support videoconferencing. And if not, we can see if they can start out maybe on something like iVisit. Related to that, if ah if you answer to.. when you answer a survey a number of people have listed me as their tech person or Harold’s tech team. *laugh* That, well, I can’t really be your tech person because I am not at your school or building and there is somebody in your building who’s in charge of setting up your computer for the Internet who, who, who comes in and takes care of problems. If you could send me that person's information, I could make sure that they get all of the information they need. Like even though we may want to hit everybody there’s a lot more of you then there are of us. So if you included me, and Sherry out information to all of you, if you said, "Well my tech person is Tom McNeal." Well, we want you to go back and rethink that a little bit and find the person who's in charge of setting up your computer in your office and give me that person's name. Another thing we talked about…where we talked about…LearnLinc..how it’s a distance education program we have here at Kent..you're welcome to use it. You're welcome to join in. We have one our Leaders who's using that at this time. We talked about the different kinds of videoconferencing systems that you can get. We talked about are ah are ah ah purchasing assistance where we’ve been able to get a agreement Review Video to get the product at many times at half the cost. And we're also talking about some of the things that we're doing right now, like the Virtual Topical Seminar where we're streaming out the video to computers all over and all you need is your Internet connection and Windows Media Player. Ah one more thing, I am going to be here again on Thursday and at that time I am going to talk about ways you can use your videoconferencing system and also ask for people to join my project. I need more tech support people who are really interested in videoconferencing and ah who may have some ideas about some things that they want to try with them. Ok, with that said I’m going to turn it back over to Harold and he’s going to rap it up. Dr. Harold Johnson: Thank you Tom that was superb. Tom makes a awful complex subject seem incredibly doable and it is as long as you're working, with people like Tom, as a tech team. This is of course the first of a whole series of Virtual Topical Seminars. The next one, as Tom said, will be on Thursday, September 23, at 1:45 Eastern Time Zone. These seminars are also being captured and will be kept up on our bulletin boards and can be pulled down at any time, any synchronized place. So, we thank you for participating on this first Virtual Topical Seminar. You will be sent a form giving us some feedback. And we encourage you to join us again on the next one. And again, Tom, thank you very much, that was a superb presentation of other wise a very complex information. Take care. See you on Thursday.
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