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Video Conferencing at UNH: The Next Best Thing to Being There

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High definition video conferencing provides a two-way communication that allows participants to feel as if they are in the same room. It is a real-time alternative to packing a suitcase and traveling miles to hear a lecture or conduct business.

In simple terms, video conferencing enables individuals and groups to connect over long distances in a cost effective manner, saving travel time while also reducing costs. It is consistent with the UNH sustainability mission, and greatly decreases the possibility of functions being canceled due to weather conditions or other unanticipated travel interruptions.

UNH offers high definition video conferencing. These facilities host remote team meetings, topic discussions on research, and conferences between experts from various institutions around the world. All have saved time, travel, and costs.

Video Conferencing at UNH
UNH has two active video conferencing sites:

  • The distance learning studio (located in MUB 14 and 15) offers a six-person conference room, and a 30-person learning facility. These services are made available through UNH IT Media and Collaboration Services, a part of Academic Technology. Both are equipped with high-definition video and audio equipment, and are staffed by an on-location expert. These resources are free to UNH faculty for academic use for any course available through the Registrar’s Office, and are fee-based for non-academic uses. These facilities can be scheduled by contacting the distance learning studio, through the IT Academic Technology at 862-7039. For a list of services, visit it.unh.edu/videoconferencing.
  • The second floor conference room in Thompson Hall can accommodate 10–12 people and is also equipped with high-definition video and audio equipment. It can be reserved by contacting Kimberly Marciano at 2-2450.
Video conferencing used for Read Across America Day

Going Beyond the Technology
Sharing educational resources with those in remote parts of the world is critical. No value can be placed on the importance of literacy and knowledge sharing, but the social and economic costs of keeping prospective students isolated is incalculable.

Betsy P. Humphreys is the leadership education in neurodevelopmental disabilities interdisciplinary training director and started using the distance learning studio’s facilities this semester to facilitate an HHS 898 graduate level class. “We have a large faculty from three institutions and this technology will enable people to participate in our program in new and innovative ways,” Humphreys said. “Last week we facilitated a faculty meeting using both voice and video technology (provided by the distance learning studio). We had attendees from around N.H., several locations in Maine, and one in Burlington, VT. As we become more comfortable with the technology I can see there will be many possibilities. We’re very excited.”

In 2008, an overseas deployment kept a U.S. Army sergeant fromattending his daughter’s graduation from Dover High School. Thanks to the help of video conferencing technology and facilities provided by UNH IT in the MUB’s distance learning studio, the sergeant attended the graduation, albeit virtually, by use of hi-definition video conferencing. While there’s no substitute for the real thing, virtually attending an event as meaningful as a daughter’s graduation was the next best thing.