A video conference is a live communications connection between people in separate locations involving audio, video, and often data transmission (text, graphics, PowerPoint presentations, sharing Word or Excel documents, etc.). At its simplest, video conferencing provides transmission of static images and text between just two locations. At its most sophisticated, it provides transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations. Video conferencing systems typically consist of cameras, microphones, a codec (coder-decoder, which handles the video, audio, and data signals), network access equipment, a network, and other specialized equipment.
It is important to distinguish between conferences with only two remote sites and those conferences where a larger number of sites are involved. A point-to-point video conference is only between two sites. A multi-point video conference includes more than two site, and requires some method for each site to receive the communications from all the others. A central Multi-point Control Unit (MCU) is used to accomplish this. Each site connects to the MCU and the MCU receives and sends the video and audio from and to each of the connected sites. The university has access to such a device, which can be used to connect several video conference systems together for a meeting.
Video conference rooms can be used for instruction and administrative meetings. Rooms are typically specialized for one of these purposes. Therefore, the advanced features and functions of the instructional classrooms may not be available in the administrative video conferencing rooms.
The instructor facilitates the course from one video conference classroom and simultaneously broadcasts the lecture and course materials to students in other video conference classrooms. Each instructional video conference classroom is equipped for full motion, interactive, two-way audio and video. Students can see and interact with the instructor and classmates at other locations at all times. Although the instructor will be based at one location, he or she may visit and teach from other locations throughout the semester. Instructional Video Conference Classrooms are located on Pensacola, Combs, NWF State College-UWF, and REEF campuses.
Several facilities are available for administrative meetings. Administrative meetings conducted via video conference can greatly reduce travel time and costs associated with attending meetings. These facilities are located on the Pensacola and NWF State College-UWF campuses and at the Bowden Building for WFHPI.
Each academic and administrative unit will identify one or more support persons who will be able to train end-users, provide reactive support, assist end users with the operation of the system, and facilitate classes, conferences, and meetings. Information Technology Services provides a train-the-trainer program for most systems and technical support for equipment malfunctions. It is the responsibility of the administrative or academic unit using the system to provide operational assistance.
For technical problems with equipment in an Instructional Video Conferencing Classroom, instructors can receive on-site support from 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Friday during regular academic semesters on the Pensacola campus by contacting the ITS Help Desk at 474-2075. Other campuses’ hours of support differ; please check with the Local Support Provider for more information.
For administrative meetings in the John C. Pace and NWF State College-UWF libraries, technical support is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on normal business days. Contact the ITS Help Desk at 474-2075 for assistance. In other administrative video conference facilities, contact the Local Support Provider.
Video Conferencing Equipment in the John C. Pace Library