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Web/Video Conferencing


Web and video conferencing are ways to interact directly with people around the world.  Web conferencing supports individuals or small groups conversing and working with small groups on the other side of a virtual connection, while video conferencing is a high quality connection often used for full class or large group interactions.  Not only can you see and talk to one another, but you can share documents, computer screens, video and more.

    1. Common web conferencing tools include Google Hangouts, Skype (not supported at Smith) and FaceTime.  There are also tools such as GoTo Meeting and Adobe Connect which support presentation oriented interactions where the organizer can share information with many simultaneous connections.  High quality video conferencing tools are provided by Cicso, Polycom and Vidyo.

    2. At Smith we support web conferencing over Google Hangouts, which every Smith community member has easy access to through their Google accounts.  We do not recommend Skype, although we recognize that it is highly used, because their license claims the right to use your video in any way they want. Smith is currently running a pilot project using Adobe Connect to support academic projects with the potential for multiple simultaneous virtual connections.  Smith also has one classroom, one meeting room and one mobile video conferencing setup from CISCO.  We are partnering with Mount Holyoke College to provide easy connections from individuals’ computers to any of these video conferencing systems.

How Is It Being Used?

French 250 currently uses Google Hangouts to support six groups of Smith students working directly with six groups of students in Paris.  Each group is responsible for their own projects over the course of the semester.  Several times a semester, the two classes also meet using video conferencing, which can facilitate the full class interactions.

In addition to classes such as those described above, web and video conferencing is being used across campus to bring guest lecturers into the classroom, allow students to interview for positions anywhere in the world, allow faculty and staff to interview prospective employees, bring the Smith College Trustees together between campus visits, allow community members to attend webinars on a variety of topics, and more.

How To Get Started

    1. To schedule a video conference, contact Jeff Heath at jheath@smith.edu

    2. To start or participate in a Google Hangout, log into your Smith mail account and follow the instructions at https://support.google.com/hangouts/?hl=en#topic=2944848

Revised March 3, 2015