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Appendix 4: Other People's Guidelines

Following is a list of suggestions made by other researchers based on their experiences.

Videoconference Alberta  

http://www.vcalberta.ca/resources-tips.html

This website contains lots of useful information on the technology and on etiquette, as well as videos demonstrating good practice in videoconferencing It is aimed specifically at meeting rather than teaching, but most of the content is applicable.

Pacific Bell  

http://www.kn.att.com/vidconf/index.html

These recommendations are appropriate to room-to-room videoconferencing.

Presentation

“Wear solid coloured clothing rather than bold, complex patterns. Stripes or busy patterns will cause the camera's focus to oscillate and destroy picture clarity. Also, wear dark or neutral colours.”

  • Dress appropriately

“The compressed video system cannot transmit rapid movements without some loss of picture quality, so move in a fluid, non-distracting way. Move and gesture normally, but avoid swaying, rocking or pacing. If you like to walk around, go ahead, but make sure you know the parameters of the camera range. You can tape off your spot so you know exactly how far you can go.”

  • Move and gesture slowly and smoothly

“Position yourself on-camera according to the elbows and wrists rule: when you stretch out your arms, the edge of the screen falls between your elbows and wrists. Use close-ups shots judiciously. It is important that participants see you or another speaker's facial expressions, but remember that the camera is very sensitive to movement and will exaggerate blinking eyes, moving hands, or shifting in chairs. Use groups shots when appropriate, and make sure the camera's line of sight is not obstructed.”

  • Maintain appropriate on-camera positioning

Structuring the session

Pacific Bell advises particular activities for the interactive parts of the videoconference, based around the intended learning outcome. These are:

  • “Instructor-directed discussion: to clarify content, define terms, identify assumptions, motivate participation, recognise contributions.
  • Group-centred discussion: to build on experience, explore hypotheses, strengthen relationships, raise questions, formulate ideas, examine assumptions.
  • Collaborative discussion: to solve problems, share responsibilities, compare alternatives, test hypotheses, modify assumptions.”

UHI Millennium Institute

http://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/lis/vc

Presentation

Particularly in videoconferences that use voice-activated switching all participants should:

  • face towards the audio unit/microphone
  • do not rest documents (or anything else) on the audio unit/microphone
  • try not to shuffle papers, tap pens/pencils or drum fingers on the table
  • try not to interrupt speakers elsewhere by unnecessary affirmative noises

Reinforce the mood of ‘two-way’ communication by:

  • avoiding ‘private’ (i.e. not across the link) conversations on-camera unless there is good reason

At the end of the meeting all participants:

  • should note that the audio signal is the last link to be disconnected so that even when the picture has gone indiscreet comments may be heard