Video Conferencing at BC
Boston College offers video conferencing services in several locations and configurations on both the Main Campus and at the Law School on Newton Campus. Video conferencing is a cost effective way to conduct a meeting between two or more participants at different sites by using computer networks to transmit audio and video data. To schedule a Video Conference, complete the online request form. A representative of ITS will contact you to confirm your request.
On this page:
Desktop Video Conferencing
Video Conferencing on a personal computer is most appropriate for individuals who wish to do face-to-face conferences with one other person. Please contact your Technology Consultant for information.
Video Conferencing Rooms
There are two rooms on campus that have dedicated video conferencing systems available. These rooms are used when a large group of people will participate in the conference. Room scheduling is based upon the needs of the user and the availability of the room.
Portable Video Conferencing Systems
These systems allow the user to hold a video conference in any room on campus that has network connectivity. These systems are recommended for smaller video conferences of 2 to 3 participants.
Services are available to Boston College faculty and staff for academic and university purposes. Video conferencing services for students wishing to participate in employment interviews are coordinated through the Boston College Career Center.
If you have any questions regarding video conferencing you may contact:
Richard Howley, Media Technology Services 617-552-3231
Lisa Taddeo, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services 617-552-1202
Newton Campus/Law School
Wayne Daley, Media Technology Services 617-552-4355
To schedule a Video Conference, complete the online request form. A representative of ITS will contact you to confirm your request.
Four weeks notice is preferred for video conferences that will require one of the dedicated Video Conferencing rooms. This advance notice allows for scheduling and time to conduct for test calls prior to the actual video conference. Information Technology Services will work hard to accommodate all requests for video conferencing services.
Requests for additional services for the video conference (catering, etc.), are the responsibility of the person or group requesting the service. Video Conference clients are responsible for providing a site coordinator to be present at the video conference to oversee registration, official greetings, and other administrative details.
- Can I video conference with more than one location?
- How do I schedule a video conference?
- If I need additional media equipment to use during the video conference, what do I do?
- What type of things can I use video conferencing for and what does it provide?
- Can students use video conferencing?
- Will BC's video conference units work with the other site’s video conference unit?
- Do I need to do a test call before the actual video conference?
- Can I do a PowerPoint presentation or chart with video conferencing?
- How do I prepare if I am doing a lecture?
- What do I wear in a video conference?
- What type of equipment does Boston College use for video conferencing?
- What software is required for desktop video conferencing?
- I have iChat on my computer, can I use this to take part in a video conference?
Can I video conference with more than one location?
How do I schedule a video conference?
If I need additional media equipment to use during the video conference, what do I do?
One of our rooms is fully equipped with a wide array of media equipment such as DVD player, VCR, computer connectivity, etc. If you are in a location where this is not available, you may request equipment by contacting Classroom Support Services at 617-552-4219.
What type of things can I use video conferencing for and what does it provide?
Can students use video conferencing?
All of our Video Conferences are oriented around faculty and staff for the purposes of teaching, guest lecturing, meetings, or participating in conferences. If a student needs to participate in a video conference for academic purposes, this must be facilitated through the faculty member teaching their course. The Boston College Career Center is considering the purchase of a videoconferencing system for students wishing to participate in a video conference for employment interviews.
Will BC's video conference units work with the other site’s video conference unit?
Each video conferencing system is standards-based and interoperable with most other systems. Because we comply with the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) using H.323 (IP) and H320 (ISDN), users can communicate without concern for compatibility.
Do I need to do a test call before the actual video conference?
Can I do a PowerPoint presentation or chart with video conferencing?
One of our systems does support this function. It is very important that you follow certain guidelines when creating a presentation for a video conference. Elements such as type of font, size, and color are very important when transmitting as part of a video conference. ITS staff can give you suggestions on how to properly create your presentation.
How do I prepare if I am doing a lecture?
Try to direct your voice toward the microphone, as the audio on the far end may vary based on the type of system being used. Tapping your fingers, shuffling papers or other background noise can be heard, so it’s essential to keep this at a minimum. Also note that there is a slight delay of approximately one second, which can take getting used to.
What do I wear in a video conference?
What type of equipment does Boston College use for video conferencing?
The video conferencing System at Boston College is built around the H.323 standard for video conferencing. This standard is widely used of IP based high-quality video conferencing. The Boston College Video Conferencing System supports calls to and from other IP connected systems and to and from sites that are connected to the telephone system. A Gateway has been installed to provide the connection to the telephone system. In addition to the Gateway, Boston College has installed a Multi Conference Unit (MCU), which acts like a voice bridge and allows multiple video conferencing sites to communicate and view each other during a call.
What software is required for desktop video conferencing?
OhphoneX is a standards-based open source software video conferencing application for the Mac. It runs H.323 and is open source software. Some versions have been unstable, but the latest seems to work. Counterpath's Eyebeam is another standard (SIP) based product that runs on the Mac.
Even though Apple computers have good graphics and sound, there has been little or no support for standards-based video conferencing.
Mirial is a software video conferencing endpoint that uses a Windows computer with an inexpensive USB camera. It differs from the Polycom Via Video II and the Vcon Vigo in that it does not require the external video encoding device, only a small external camera.
Desktop video conferencing from Polycom has reached premium performance levels typically reserved for the most expensive group systems!
The Polycom PVX personal video conferencing solution delivers business quality desktop video conferencing from the convenience of your PC.
The Polycom PVX extends the ultimate Polycom video conferencing experience to your PC and webcam with the first software application ever offered. The Polycom PVX works in conjunction with your PC and USB camera to provide the highest quality video and audio experience in the industry. Add the Polycom PVX to your PC and within minutes you'll be talking, via video, to customers and colleagues around the world. The Polycom PVX solution is an easy way to communicate face-to-face from your office, from your home, or on the road.
I have iChat on my computer, can I use this to take part in a video conference?
iChat is good for simple video conferencing. It should be noted however that iChat is not a standards based video conferencing protocol. The only people who can be contacted directly on iChat are other Mac users using iChat. iChat does work through AOL IM to connect with Windows users. Often these chat conferences do not produce the quality of video that the standards based systems produce. They are good for showing small images on a computer but when enlarged for use in a conference room or classroom, the quality of the image is not adequate.