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Wanted: Participants for a University-wide Web conferencing pilot project
Wanted: Participants for a University-wide Web conferencing pilot projectOctober 08, 2007SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
Syracuse University faculty and staff have a unique opportunity during the fall semester to use a state-of-the-art Web conferencing system, Elluminate Live!, to connect students in virtual classrooms, to facilitate collaborative research activities, or to simply connect any number of people in real time for any reason, regardless of where they are located.
A limited number of faculty and staff members used Elluminate Live! during the Spring 2007 semester as part of a pilot project to test ideas to develop a campus-wide administrative and support system for the tool and provide participants with opportunities to conduct live Web conferencing sessions. The pilot project is now being expanded to people in all academic and administrative units on campus who are interested in learning about the possibilities available with Web conferencing.
The collaborative communications subcommittee of the University’s Technology Leadership Committee (TLC) launched the pilot. The Elluminate Live! project is being managed by Peggy Brown, director of instructional design in the School of Information Studies (iSchool), and Marian Berda, computer consultant for SU Abroad, in partnership with Information Technology and Services (ITS).
“Our goals with this new phase of the pilot are to expand usage of Elluminate Live! across campus, provide the support people need to hold successful Web conferencing sessions, and increase the pool of trainers who can teach people to use the system,” Berda says.
Brown and Berda are recruiting 30 people for the fall pilot, which ends on Dec. 15. They are looking both for people who are interested in holding live Web conferencing sessions and for people who are interested in becoming trainers. Trainers help people in their departments or units hold interactive, successful Web conferences with Elluminate Live! The ITS staff will be participating in the effort to train people to use the software. Information about the pilot project is available on the ITS website or by e-mailing Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or Berda at email@example.com.
Elluminate Live! is platform-independent, which means that all participants who are invited to a session can tune in regardless of whether they own a Windows-based computer, a Macintosh or a Linux-based computer. In addition, the system does not require participants to have access to broadband. Those with 28K dial-up modems can participate alongside those who are connected via cable modem, DSL or Ethernet, Brown says.
No microphone or Web cam attached to the participant’s computer? No problem. Participants can still see and hear what is going on in the session and communicate with the group via text messaging. Other system features include a shared, interactive whiteboard; the ability to record and index sessions; an application-sharing feature that enables all session participants to virtually use a software tool that has been uploaded to the system without the tool being installed on the participant’s computer; and powerful, easy-to-use session moderator tools.
Among the ways in which the system was used last spring:
- The Office of Disability Services used the system to conduct orientation sessions with parents who were unable to come to campus during orientation weekend. Disability Services also used the application-sharing feature of Elluminate Live! to teach students with learning disabilities to use assistive technology.
- SU Abroad connected with the University’s London center;
- The College of Law’s NYSTAR program conducted a Web seminar for NYSTAR centers across New York state, and College of Law students collaborated on project papers.
- The iSchool formed a digital classroom to present student capstone projects to an audience that included representatives from Central New York nonprofit agencies, who viewed and participated in the presentation from their office computers.
Elluminate Live! was first brought to Syracuse University by iSchool assistant professor Derrick L. Cogburn, Director, Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities. Cogburn is internationally known for his research on developing a socio-technical infrastructure to support geographically distributed collaboration and knowledge work. Last spring’s Elluminate Live! pilot project was hosted on the Cotelco server. Elluminate Live! has now been installed on a server hosted by ITS and is being supported by ITS system administrators for the duration of the pilot.