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Update, 20 July 2012: this event is the subject of a case study in JISC’s Greening Events II report, giving more insights into the event model and how it was run on the day. The event tested Janet’s potential role in the delivery of hybrid events, with presentations made from four different locations. The report also includes an appendix on the environmental and sustainability impacts of events.
Inspired by another 20 things post here’s my ‘things’ from JISC’s Videoconferencing in universities and colleges event on 6 March. Some useful slides available on JISC’s Green ICT Programme Slideshare account, and more coverage may become available in Eventlink’s event archive. For more see Marieke Guy’s post and Kirsty Pitkin’s Storify.
- Two screens can be handy if you want to following an event remotely – see @whaa’s setup.
- CoveritLive’s RSS feed is OK. Need to investigate how you pull tweets in though. Wouldn’t have had the patience to sit through this live. And only like to make considered comments after the fact : D
- There seemed to be some audio and visual issues throughout the day – so it’s not that easy? Even had two streams available – JIC or other reason? Plus people still feel the need to say if they can hear OK.
- Research from the Greening Events II project has found that the impact of personal ICT use is often overlooked in the fixation on the carbon impactf travel (a bit like the plastic bag fixation). “The plane will still fly whether I am on it or not.” (Roy Meuronen)
- Cost models - some costs may be absorbed centrally. Need to track time, cash and carbon savings.
- Another new concept – travel managers!
- Rebound phenomena – what do you do with the time and money you save by videoconferencing? What do you do during your travel time?
- Travel has positive aspects, especially if you use the time in positive ways. Paraphrasing Rob Bristow (I think): travel is stimulating and on some level a perk of the academic job. Virtual meetings cannot replace the human and social interaction, but they can replace routine meetings.
- We had a videoconferencing demonstration suite as part of the demo centre in a European funded project in the Department of Computer Studies in Sheffield I worked at many years ago, aimed at SMEs. These suites have now gone mainstream – Warwick (of course, ever commercially aware) allow SMEs to use their suite FOC. But many academics don’t even realise their institution has VC facilities. Do they want to have to go to a special suite? How to drive take-up?
- JVCS, Janet Video Conferencing Services, was new to me, although apparently they’ve been offering services since 1994. Offers collaboration tools and is launching a new desktop client in April. All quite complex with what can be used on mobile, firewalls, etc. Need technical expertise.
- More into low entry stuff me, but don’t use Skype self, offers group chat, document sharing etc but limited and doesn’t interoperate with other systems. Discouraged at Plymouth for anything formal, but it’s a disruptive technology that users have embraced because it’s ‘good enough’ and they are familar with it from personal use
- JISC use Skype for chat, with audioconferencing done via BT MeetMe and bigger events through Collaborate.
- Surfnet in the Netherlands is even pulling out of offering it, leaving it up to the market to supply – see Suftconext.
- Universities can share classes by VC, specialising rather than averaging their knowledge – useful for remote areas and smaller countries. Example: primary schools in Warwickshire linking up with the Universitiy of Georgia and doing live Astonomy lessons with their observatory.
- Nice accessibility point from Sarah Fitzgerald: VC has helped a deaf person be able to have an online signer who translates – signs – during meetings, thus saving on travel expenses.
- Summing up from Will Allen - people are habitual and don’t want to change the way they do things. Behavioural change required to develop digital literacy to utilise these meeting/conf technologies (marketing, publicity etc only goes so far).
- This ‘things’ approach works quite well at getting things down and roughly rearranging thoughts, but it’s raw notes or a draft really.