Technology & Facilities for Distance Learning
Information on the equipment and technologies available for videoconferencing.
UCLA has been
using Polycom® Viewstation units for the videoconferencing aspect of the DL
LCTL courses. As of April 2003, virtually all UC campuses report having compatible
equipment (UCSD, UCI, UCR, UCLA, UCSB, UCSC, UCD, UCB). Anyone interested to verify
just what equipment his or her campus uses, or with questions about capabilities
and compatibility, should consult the local campus's videoconference office. You
can get a listing of UC videoconference coordinators and their telephone numbers
from the UC Office of the President, here (pdf).
For more equipment details and published specifications, begin
looking at: www.polycom.com and navigate to 'Products & Services -> Video Conferencing Products ->
The assumption is that a school-wide audiovisual or specialized
videoconferencing office would own and handle all equipment
matters, but that is not obligatory: it is possible that a department
or cluster might own and handle its own equipment.
One of the distinguishing
features of the initiative's use of videoconferencing at UCLA has been running
the classes out of ordinary classrooms - possible because of the portability of
the equipment. All that a general classroom minimally needs is (a) a network connection
to the Internet (it need only be 10Mbps shared for the current Polycom units);
and (b) a video monitor - one permanently installed is a great help, otherwise
one has to be brought in for each class, along with the Polycom unit.
if a fixed videoconference site / room / studio can be booked for all class
meetings for the quarter or semester, that remains possible, and may offer certain
advantages in seating, acoustics, or the like. At UCLA, the Instructional Media
Lab in Powell Library has reserved one of its viewing rooms for receiving incoming courses from
another UC campus. Outgoing UCLA courses transmit from
their regular classroom.
The course Website
housed under the online course management system should be students' and instructors'
focal point for a vast array of course material – audio, video, and print
– outside of the live classroom. UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities automatically
creates Websites for every undergraduate humanities course every quarter, and
every enrolled student – including those from another campus – has
access to their course sites. The home for the course management system known
as E-Campus, which you can look at here. A DL LCTL course taught at another campus and received at UCLA can also easily
have its Website hosted at UCLA; contact the DL Coordinator for LCTLs.