Building bridges: Combining webcasting and videoconferencing in a multi campus university course

Jeremy Birnholtz, Ron Baecker, Simone Laughton, Clarissa Mak, Rhys Causey, Kelly Rankin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Supporting lifelong learning can be challenging in that participants are often geographically distributed, have significant time constraints, and widely varied skills and preferences with regard to technology. This creates the need for designers to support flexible configurations of systems for delivering content, in ways that still allow for meaningful learning and instruction to take place. In this chapter, the authors present a case study of experience in offering a university course using a novel system that bridges videoconferencing and webcasting technologies. These have historically been separate. Webcasting scales easily to accommodate large audiences, but only supports one-way transmission of audio and video. Videoconferencing allows for two-way interaction in real time, but uses more bandwidth, and does not scale as easily. Our system allowed for increased participation in webcasts, which had benefits for both. instructors and students. This chapter presents an analysis of interaction and awareness in distance learning contexts, and concludes with design principles suggesting that designers of future systems focus on: (1) developing novel displays and visualizations for presenting information about students, (2) reducing inequalities between modes of participation by making it clearer when, say, questions are asked by text or who is speaking when there are multiple images displayed, and (3) accommodate a range of student preferences and capabilities by supporting multiple modes of presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationE-Infrastructures and Technologies for Lifelong Learning
Subtitle of host publicationNext Generation Environments
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781615209835
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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