Videoconferencing Service Now On Line

Available at five campus sites

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Desktop videoconferencing systems are now available at five sites around campus, allowing administrators, faculty and students to participate in long-distance, face-to-face discussions without leaving campus.

The Office of Information Technology has installed the equipment in Gasson 06, O'Neill Library 413, More Hall 126, the Dorothy Book Conference Room in McGuinn Hall, and Room 108B of the Kenny- Cottle Library on Newton Campus.

Network Cable Technician Giuseppina Russo, Network Installation Technician Daniel Donovan and Information Technology Consultant Sandi Wang (from left) conduct a videoconference from Gasson 06 with Program and Events Director Gail Darnell and Information Technology Senior Engineer Paul Flynn, who were in More Hall. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Using this technology, students can sit in on lectures via cyberspace from universities across the world, while administrators and faculty can hold simultaneous face-to-face conferences with colleagues in far-flung locations. In addition, the system could be used in scientific research projects for controlling remote cameras that enable users to monitor the progress of an experiment.

"This fills the gap between the phone and in-person visits," said Network and Desktop Services Manager Randall Titchner, who has overseen the installation. "The possibilities are endless. Our notion is to put the technology out there, and let the user community determine where we go next. The possibilities here are only limited by what you can think up."

Carroll Graduate School of Management students have already used the hookup in Gasson for job interviews with recruiters from General Electric and GTE, Titchner said, while the School of Nursing is looking into a "distance learning" arrangement with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester.

In a recent demonstration of the Gasson videoconferencing system, Titchner contacted University of Massachusetts technicians in Hadley, Mass., who zoomed their camera on a quarter so closely that the viewers in the Gasson facility could inspect the engraving on George Washington's nose. This feature is especially popular with entomology professors who use it to scrutinize insects, the technicians noted.

Members of the University community may schedule videoconferencing sessions by calling ext. 2-1820. Two weeks advance notice is recommended.

Titchner said a basic, hands-on training session on the new system will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 17 in Gasson 06.

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