Technology Update - February 27, 2012
Video-Conferencing and Webcasting Resources
Since 2008, IRT has been expanding and enhancing its video-conferencing and Webcasting capabilities in the Korman Computing Center. At the same time, the Video-Conferencing and Audio-Visual Services (VCAV) Team, has served as a vital resource and advisory group for academic and other administrative units throughout the Drexel community.
Focused on flexibility, presentations can be Webcast and captured from every Korman classroom and conference room. Five classrooms are equipped with high-definition video-conferencing capability; additionally, portable units are available for use in smaller settings or offices.
The VCAV team is able to broadcast and capture up to five video conferences simultaneously with multiple end-point capability. The capability also exists to redistribute Presentations from any room to Korman rooms or onto the Internet, thus providing both live and virtual realtime presentations and archived material for later viewing. VCAV can Webcast any type of event in Korman and archive it for later viewing (or re-viewing).
For example, late last year, Dr. Elizabeth Dale, SVP Institutional Advancement, sponsored an American Council on Education event that connected participants from 12 locations throughout the United States. Other Drexel leaders and academic or administrative units have taken advantage of this capability. They had high-quality experiences, benefitted from the technology-enabled engagement, and deemed it a very cost-effective approach.
Last fall, IRT was instrumental in the broadcast of an NSF event, entitled STEM Smart: Lessons Learned from Successful Schools, to a large virtual audience. The panel of speakers featured many VIPs, including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Drexel President John Fry, US Congressman Chaka Fattah, and NSF Director Subra Suresh.
Another example involved the Middle States Commission on Higher Education whose leadership partnered with IRT to use Korman space, technology, and experts to hold regional meetings, virtually, with their constituencies. As MSCHE was building out its own communication technology capabilities they tested the virtual-meeting approach through this alliance with IRT. They had high-quality, engaging experiences, were able to have good attendance from members, saved all travel expenses, actually held more meetings, and were pleased with the results.
It is challenging to describe or quantify the benefits that all of the above possibilities have brought to Drexel's academic and administrative endeavors. Suffice it to say that almost every individual who has had a video-conferencing experience with high-definition equipment has come away extremely impressed and feeling rewarded.
Increasing numbers of Drexel faculty and professional staff are taking advantage of IRT's expertise and technology. This chart illustrates the skyrocketing number of video-conferencing hours over the last four years (quarter-by-quarter basis).
The second chart illustrates a similar rise in Webcasting hours. Note the winter quarter activity in particular (red line). When Philadelphia winters hit, Webcasting can readily become the class delivery method of choice when students cannot travel safely to campus or when Drexel needs to close the University.
At the outset in early 2009, the establishment of the Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento, California was the impetus for much of the video-conferencing activity at Drexel. Faculty needed to deliver high-quality lectures and feature prominent guest speakers to students nearly 3000 miles away. At the same time, students expected a technology-enhanced experience in Drexel classes, and they needed to be able to actually interact with their East Coast professors and presenters.
In other examples, IRT's Video-Conferencing team is actively partnering with the School of Public Health to produce a new documentary on the work of the American Cancer Society Asian Advisory Committee in Pennsylvania. Other recent events include Drexel basketball games, Geoffrey Canada, Commencement, Convocation, Dragon Drive, the US-China Virtual Symposia, a National Health Law Conference, and other global and national conferences hosted at Drexel.
In addition, the Video-Conferencing team facilitated recent institutional collaborations involving Swarthmore, Boston University, Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and Duke. Corporate-based collaborations include Astra Zeneca, Xerox, Danon, other international companies, and the US government. IRT has serviced clients in over 15 countries, including China, Brazil, Japan, Germany, France, England, New Zealand, Chile, and Dubai.
For further information contact Rob Rasberry, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-895-2364.