Videoconferenced Seminars


A videoconferenced seminar is much like any other seminar that you would conduct: students gather and you lead the seminar in a focused discussion with or without a presentation, such as PowerPoint. The main differences with a videoconferenced seminar are that your students are in multiple locations and you have a layer of technology between yourself and some of the students.

Successfully leading a videoconferenced seminar poses a few challenges. You may not be familiar with the technology, and as a result, may be intimidated by it or unsure of how to use it. Additionally, you must be conscious of the group that isn’t in the room with you. This primer will give you an introduction to the technology and some techniques to use to ensure that your videoconferenced seminar is successful.

What is videoconferencing?

  •  Two-way communication: all participating sites can communicate
  •  Live communication: not prerecorded and viewed later
  •  Live video, audio, and can include the live presentation of data (such as a PowerPoint or the internet)
  •  Participation of two or more locations (point to point or multi-point)
  •  Videoconferencing uses specific telecommunications technology to bring people together in remote locations.
  •  All participating locations must have videoconference technology
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A two-display example
A one-display example

Most videoconferencing set-ups are configured with the camera very close to the displays, so that when participants are viewing each other on the displays, they are also facing the camera and the appearance is that they are looking at each other.





The Remote Control

Below is a picture of a typical remote control used for videoconferencing.

remot with callouts

While the remote controls may vary depending on the company that supplies the videoconferencing technology, the buttons highlighted will be present on any of them. To operate, the remote should usually be pointed in the direction of the displays.

Highlighted functions:

Mic Mute/unmute – toggle mute/unmute button for your microphone.

Volume control – for controlling the volume that comes out of the speakers at your site.

Pan and tilt camera – use these controls to adjust the camera at your site.

Selfview – allows you to see yourself on your display.

Zoom camera – allows you to zoom the camera in and out.

Presentation button – if you are including the output of a computer, such as PowerPoint or the internet as part of your seminar, use the presentation button to display it.