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Best Practices | Hints & Tips

If you participate remotely in an Audio Video conference, Webinar or Microsoft Teams meeting please follow these instructions to ensure the best possible user experience.

Audio and Video conferencing is contingent on a good internet connection and modern hardware and software working together for a positive user experience.

Hardware

Please ensure that you have modern computer (ideally less than 5 years old) and mobile device (ideally less than 3 years old) with a current Operating System and all the latest security and critical updates applied and that it generally works stably and efficiently.

If connecting from a laptop, plug in the laptop to the wall power using the charger. Battery use can adversely affect device performance and in turn video quality as it prioritises running time and not performance.

Internet | WiFi
  • Try to connect via a wired internet/ethernet cable (CAT5e or greater). This prevents WiFi dropouts and speed/latency issues.
  • Check your internet speed by visiting https://www.speedtest.net/. We recommend ideally having more than a 20Mbps internet download speed and 2Mbps upload speed.
  • Sit as close as possible to the WiFi router or internet Access Point to maximise signal strength and speed.
  • Test the connection before the call; this is strongly recommended.
  • Close or minimise any running applications to maximise performance and minimise computer resources use.
  • Close streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, P2P, Spotify, or Pandora before accessing the session.
  • Close internet browsers or tabs running audio or video as they tend to consume more bandwidth (internet speed).
Audio
  • Ensure that you have a camera, microphone, and headphones or speakers available. Earbuds or headphones are preferable to avoid audio feedback and echo. Most modern laptops and all-in-one desktops have a headphone jack, microphone, and speakers built in.
  • Using a headset is preferred, users without headsets should be sure to be in a quiet area to prevent background noise.
  • Call from a quiet location with no background noise where possible.
  • Always speak clearly, concisely with good projection, and ask if you can be heard by everyone.
Video
  • Preview your webcam. Mac users can launch the Photo Booth app, and Windows users can click the Start button, then Camera. Here, you can check your picture and video quality.

  • Adjust your indoor lighting and camera angle to make your face appear properly lit.

  • Try to avoid having a source of light directly behind you and try to have a blank/clean wall surface behind you if possible.

  • Stop or pause any downloads that you may have running in the background.
General
  • Follow all instructions in the video conferencing invitation and do note important supplemental information, such as backup dial-in numbers in case you are disconnected.
  • Please ensure that other programs or software are not using the camera and mic in the background. Its best practice to close all other apps to avoid your camera and mic not getting configured correctly. For example if you are using a web browser to attend a Audio Video session then make sure the Teams application is closed. You can reopen the apps again after your camera and mics have been configured correctly.

Please be aware that ITS cannot troubleshoot remote connections off campus, because there are many different equipment configurations and network connectivity options and varying internet speeds available to different customers.

Working or learning from within China?

IT Services has created some guidance in relation to collaboration and virtual connections.


Looking for a physical green screen?

Our current recommendation would be to utilise one of the following software based backgrounds to enhance your calls, sessions and recordings.

Why is hiding your background important?

One of the most important reasons that participants may wish to hide their background is to convey an additional level of consistency, privacy and professionalism.

Perhaps to maintain a corporate branding or to ensure no unwanted distractions to draw attention away from the presenter/participant.

During this period of COVID-19 lockdown, we are revealing much more about our private and personal lives by letting people into our homes via our webcams.

We may have family members among us, additionally, we may not want our peers and colleagues to be influenced by our laundry, family photos, book and art collection or whatever else may be behind us when we share our video.

Virtual backgrounds can also be useful for teaching purposes. For example, in a language class where you are “in the supermarche”, or a negotiation skills class where you are representing a corporation.

Another use is where you are in the “blue team” and another group is in the “red team”.

Microsoft Teams

Guidance has been created by our colleagues in the Engagement Group.


Blackboard Collaborate

The ability to hide your background in Blackboard Collaborate is one of the most requested features on the Blackboard Community site.

Whilst Virtual Backgrounds are not natively supported in Collaborate, Blackboard has recommended using third-party tools to provide this much-requested functionality.

Using Snap Camera Lens as Background in Collaborate


StarLeaf

You can blur or replace your video background with a virtual background for calls and meetings on StarLeaf for Windows.

Just want to talk to someone?

If you'd like to get some advice, you can get hold of us as follows:

024 765 22463

Hardware & System Requirements

For specific information and guidance about our systems and the hardware required to conduct meetings using StarLeaf and BB Collaborate please visit the following links.

BB Collaborate

Best Practices

Browser Support

Microphone & Camera Setup

Network Connection Management

StarLeaf

Starleaf App

Starleaf web browser


Recommended Equipment