The University Record, November 9, 1992

Videoconferencing Center hosts open house

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Broadening the reach of the University, saving departments time and money, and clearing the way for fast communication over long distances are the objectives of the Videoconferencing and Distance Learning Center.

Staff at the center, located in 300 North Ingalls Building, will demonstrate the new technology to the University community 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 12) and Friday (Nov. 13). The center will be open to anyone 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Thursday, but an appointment is recommended at other times so that the staff can answer specific questions and be prepared for special needs of individual departments.

The system uses compressed video, which allows transmission over telephone lines rather than specialized cables, says Roxana L. Block, director of telecommunications for the Information Technology Division.

“It is much more like placing a phone call, and we can use more of the existing cabling that is in place to support telephone and data systems,” she says.

Block says the facility can be used for long-distance classes, meetings with other researchers and educators, interviewing, recruitment, and product demonstrations by vendors.

Costs for use of the facility vary according to the distance reached and the length of the session. Eight universities, one public school system and one local government unit currently are available through the Michigan Distance Learning Network for $150 per hour. Through the Sprint Meeting Channel—the University’s network provider—it is possible to reach more than 1,200 videoconferencing locations in 35 countries.

More information is available by calling Marlene Kurts, 936-0965.