Videoconferencing Makes Lives and Work Simpler

Posted: March 10, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp

Recently, the work of the Search Committee for the Vice President for University Relations was made easier by using videoconferencing (VTC) to ensure that both the Arlington and Prince William Campuses were able to get some face time with each of the candidates who visited Mason.

“There are some people on campus who are using this technology in interesting ways,” says Joe Hughes, head of videoconferencing technology at George Mason. “It’s really the next best thing to being there, and it’s much cheaper.”

Mason’s three campuses are each equipped with VTC (video teleconferencing was the original term for this technology, and the acronym has stuck) facilities that can be used to eliminate campus visits for meetings, extend the reach of classes held on any campus, or provide the outside community convenient access to university resources.

“We do have many people using VTC regularly, but during off-peak times we have quite a bit of extra capacity we’d like to see utilized,” says Hughes. For example, rooms with 16-person capacity are available most of the week, and Friday afternoons are basically open for most of the VTC rooms, big and small. Most VTC rooms are busiest during evening hours, Monday through Thursday. A complete listing of videoconferencing rooms is available online.

The price is right, too. Most VTC sessions won’t cost a thing, as intercampus events and preregistered classes can have the service provided free of charge. There are exceptions, however. To VTC to off-campus sites, the base cost is $50 for scheduling, room preparation, and testing with the remote site. After that, the cost is $30 per hour. In some cases, there may be additional network charges. “For international sessions, it can be more expensive, but we only charge what it costs us. It’s an immense savings over traveling there, and you still feel like you’re face-to-face,” Hughes says.

For more information on setting up a videoconferencing session, contact Hughes at 703-993-3480 or go online.

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