Tips for Web Conferencing in the Classroom
In most classrooms, ITS has installed ASUS Webcam C3 with mic, as well as Zoom, BlueJeans, MS Teams and a BigBlueButton shortcut. This is not intended to serve as a comprehensive lecture capture solution. However, if an instructor wishes to use a web conferencing tool, this should allow for basic functionality.
Maintaining a live video conference while also teaching face to face is challenging even without technical considerations. Are there other ways you can offer consideration to students that cannot be in class? Can resources be shared asynchronously? Could virtual office hours be offered? This FAQ provides some guidance on what reasonable concessions for absent students may involve: https://www.tru.ca/__shared/assets/faculty-faq-course-delivery-fall-202153875.pdf
Before your class
Whatever system is used, you should schedule your web conferencing session and make it known and available via a link in Moodle in advance. You can then access the session via that same link in Moodle.
We suggest you walk through and test your setup in a classroom in advance, preferably with a person monitoring the conference remotely. If you need access to a locked classroom, security can let you in if you have your TRU ID card.
We suggest you prepare your visuals and other materials you wish to share in advance. Whether you place these in PowerPoint or on the web, you can then share your materials in class and virtually via screen sharing. Classroom webcams will likely not be able to render whiteboards effectively. If you switch the desktop display console to the document camera, you will no longer be displaying your virtual session in class and it may disconnect the webcam feed.
Inform students that you will be web conferencing the class in advance, and to confirm their consent. We advise against pointing the webcam at students, particularly without their consent. If you are recording the session, be advised that certain sensitive class discussions may require conferencing and/or recording to be paused. Please watch for guidelines expected soon from TRU’s Privacy and Access Office.
During your class
Ensure your web conferencing system is set to pick up the Crestron camera and microphone in both video and audio preferences. Confirm that it is connected to the desktop computer USB input.
If you are connecting via your own laptop, please do not disconnect the webcams from the console computer.
We suggest you ask one or more of your in-class students to log into the web conferencing session to monitor the proceedings, and to relay questions via the chat. Ensure that in-class students are muting their mics to avoid feedback.
After your Class
Be advised that Zoom Cloud recordings will be auto-deleted after 120 days. You can access and download copies at https://tru-ca.zoom.us/recording We suggest you re-upload your recordings to Kaltura via Moodle if you wish students to have access to them.
BigBlueButton recordings may take 24 hours or so to appear during periods of high usage on the system.
Video Conferencing Software
BlueJeans - contact the IT Service desk to have an account created
MS Teams - Enrollment is automatic for all staff and faculty. Students need to register for Office 365 prior to being added to a team. Students register here: https://www.tru.ca/its/students/software/office-365.html
BigBlueButton - an open source web conferencing tool. It is integrated with Moodle, making it easy for instructors to create and deploy sessions with just a few clicks.
- Zoom - Do not use a personal Zoom account. IT Services has an Institutional license that utilizes the Canadian Tenant. Contact the IT Service Desk to have a licence created for you. Our licenses are limited so you are encouraged to try using the above three options before using Zoom.
Comparison of Video Conferencing Tools
If you experience difficulties, please contact the IT Service Desk