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Michael Sankey and David King discuss the video conferencing facilities at USQ

Michael:
Thanks for joining us. I have David King here. David is the Manager of Audio Visual Services here at USQ in the Division of ICT Services. Thanks for joining us David. We have lots of different ways in which we can capture lectures and things. We have Camtasia Relay for capturing lectures, Wimba or virtual classrooms for doing interactions but there is also the need for group to group or one to group interactions. We use video conferencing for that. Can you tell us a bit more about video conferencing here at USQ? Where it is available and why we would use it?

David:
Well, there are several different types of video conferencing at the university ranging from basically simple desktop video conferencing in the office using web-based or software orientated conferencing right through to room-based systems that have dedicated hardware for conferencing. Obviously the difference between those two is that the room based conferencing caters for large audiences as opposed to one to one. So we have a range of both of those types and there are a few in between which would consist mainly of board rooms or special smaller classrooms that are also video conference enabled

Michael:
So unlike the desktop tools most people can operate, do you need to be Einstein to figure out these room-based ones?

David:
They can be a little bit complex to use. That is the nature of video conferencing and as such, we recommend that people who intend to use conferencing in that scenario have training and there is training available for staff to learn how to use the system particularly from an ICT perspective, to use the tools. There probably also needs to be consideration given to how to use the technologies from a pedagogical point of view but certainly from a technical point of view ICT can provide training for that.

Michael:
And there are a number of rooms round the different campuses. Do you have to book those rooms?

David:
Generally you do, yes. If we are talking room based systems like the lecture theatres, for example, as a normal course of business they would have a lecture theatre booked at both ends or at multiple ends if it is a multi-point conference and in doing that you automatically book the conference facilities as well. So as long as you book the venue, you are right.

Michael:
From my understanding, when you use a video conference, there is actually a phone number that you have to ring – like a bridge or something like that. How does that work technically?

David:
Ah. How long have we got? In a nutshell, we have tried to simplify the way conference connections are made. So yes, it is essentially like dialling a special telephone number. What is really happening is that it does go through the bridge or the MCU and translates that simple number into an IP number which the system can understand. So from the end users’ point of view, basically it is dialling a phone number.

Michael:
OK, so we don’t have to go there – it works – and that’s all we need to worry about. Who do we call if we get in trouble?

David:
If you get into trouble, your first port of call would be the ICT Service Desk – 1900. That’s the one to ring and basically if a conference fails during the event it is generally because of something fairly catastrophic in the way of either network connectivity or something like that. There may not be a means of salvaging that particular session but call 1900 and someone will be there as fast as possible to see what can be done.

Michael:
Fantastic – thanks for that David. That’s been very helpful.

David:
No worries.