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Faculty Guide for Video Classroom Network

Video Network Overview

This guide is designed to give faculty an overview of the many capabilities of video network classrooms at Idaho State University. You are encouraged, however, to make an appointment with a staff person to have an on-site orientation of our rooms. Contact names and numbers are listed at the end of the guide.

The following sections cover many topics related to the technical delivery of video network classes that apply to faculty needs. If you have any questions about topics covered or not covered, please contact a staff person.

*Important Note: Staff will always try to accommodate any requests that are technically possible. Advance notice is appreciated and will help guarantee that class time will not be interrupted or delayed, but we know that advance notice is not always possible. We will accommodate last minute requests whenever possible as quickly as we can and try to keep class interruption to a minimum.<

We currently have classrooms in various locations on the I.S.U. campus in Pocatello, at the Center for Higher Education in Idaho Falls, on the College of Southern Idaho campus in Twin Falls and at the  ISU Meridian Sam and Aline Skaggs Health Science Center.

We use a compressed video system for our interactive video network classrooms. It allows us to connect to several sites simultaneously. The video and audio are high quality, but it has the characteristic look of digital video, where the motion is slightly stilted. We have found that students and faculty quickly become accustomed to it, but you should be aware that motion handling is limited. Slower, more deliberate motion is preferred.

For every video network classroom, there is video network staff at each location involved in the class to take care of the technical aspects. You are encouraged to communicate with the video network staff at each location if you have any questions, requests, or need assistance.

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The Interactive Video Network Classroom

Our classrooms have fully interactive video and audio. The compressed system is voice-activated, which means all locations in a class can hear all of the other locations, and they will see whichever site has the dominant speaker. In practice, this allows all of the distant locations to see the faculty member or lecture materials when he or she is lecturing, or see who is talking during discussion periods. It also allows you to see a student at a particular site when that student asks a question.

It is important to remember that our rooms use push-to-talk microphones for students. As the name implies, students must press a button and hold it to be heard. While it is easier for the students at the remote sites to remember to use the push to talk microphones to be heard, it is just as important for the students in the room with the professor to use them so that the remote students can hear questions and answers, and follow discussions. The local students often need to be reminded to use the push-to-talk microphones.

There is a monitor in the back of the classroom for the lecturer that shows the students at the other locations. When a student at a distant site speaks they are shown on this monitor. There is a camera located above this monitor that shows the professor. It is positioned so you can ignore the camera and, by looking at the faces of the students on the monitor, appear to make eye contact with the distant students.

The monitor and projection screen in the front of the classroom are for the students. They can show visual materials presented by the faculty or show the other classrooms.

The faculty member wears a small microphone with a lapel clip that allows him or her to be heard by the students at the distant classrooms. The microphone has a thin cord about ten feet long that attaches to the faculty podium. You have the option of requesting a wireless microphone, which allows movement around the room.

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Presenting Visual Material

Computer Presentations

Every classroom has computing capabilities. If you have specific computing needs for a video network classroom, please contact a staff person to make ensure that the room meets your needs. Most rooms are equipped with a Sympodium connected to an LCD projector. The Sympodium is a device that acts as an interactive interface with the computer. This allows you to control computer function with the pen interface and annotate on prepared presentations while you lecture. If you have any questions about incorporating computer capabilities into your class, please contact the Instructional Technology Resource center at 282-5880 or email

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Written Material

For faculty who write notes as they lecture, the Sympodium provides a Notebook application that allows you to write notes on the same screen on which you show your computer presentations. This is the preferred method for write-as-you-go lecture notes. For those who do not choose to use the Sympodium, there is a document camera provided with pens and paper for a more traditional approach.

The document camera can also be used for pre-prepared written material. There are several issues to consider when preparing them. Video images are wider than they are tall. Specifically, they use a 4x3 aspect ratio. All this means is that when preparing written materials, to use word-processing terms, the paper should be in the landscape orientation instead of the standard letter orientation.

The document camera is also a good way to show small objects to students. It is the best way to show the object to the distant students, and generally is better for your local students than passing an object around the room or having students huddle around the object.

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Video Network Classroom Encoding Policy

All classes held in the video network classrooms are digitally encoded. However, it is the responsibility of each faculty member to request a shareable link for your Moodle ISU course. Nothing will be done with the encoding without the request of the instructor. To request a shareable link for your Moodle ISU course please complete the ITRC's online form: Access Video Classroom Recording Request Form.

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Distributing Class Materials

Material needed for students in distant locations should be sent well in advance to the faculty support staff in those locations, listed in the final section of this guide. These staff people are separate from the Video Network staff. We do provide a wall file at most locations, including Pocatello, designated for each video network class to use for distributing material. Also Moodle ISU can be used to distribute material electronically. If you have any questions about how to do this, please contact Instructional Technology Resource Center at 282-5880 or email

IMPORTANT NOTE: Video Network staff persons, including supervisors and operators, are not allowed to collect or distribute any kind of class material, nor are they allowed to proctor tests. The faculty member's department office is responsible for these duties in Pocatello. Please contact the support staff in the outlying areas with any questions about these subjects.

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Canceling Classes

Video Network staff do not need to know in advance of class cancellations. We plan to be ready for every regularly scheduled meeting of your class. This way you do not need to be concerned with notifying us of cancellations, or notifying us if you had previously cancelled a class but then decided to hold class after all.

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Classroom Tour

If you have not taught in a two-way audio/video classroom, please call a staff person and arrange a tour. If you have taught in one of these rooms, technology constantly changes so we recommend that you come in and see what’s different.

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Video Network Classroom Contacts

Contact and Telephone Numbers

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Faculty Support

Idaho Falls:
Amy Anderson, 282-7889

Main Office 373-1701

Twin Falls
Maria Beltran 933-2300 or 736-2101
Adam Spencer, Distance Learning Test Proctor, 282-1205

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