VC Islands 2.0

It used to be in the “old days” with videoconferencing that educational organizations, consortia, states, etc. put in videoconferencing islands for shared classes. The main use of videoconferencing then was sharing high school and college level classes and usually an organization just shared classes within their network.

We’ve made great progress in moving away from these VC islands and doing more collaborative, creative activities with videoconferencing. Now we participate in events like Megaconference, Megaconference Jr., connect to content providers, and create collaborative videoconferences.

But with these new activities, we’re running into VC Islands 2.0: The next generation of videoconferencing islands, if you will. These new islands are created by special dialing schemes and the never-ending challenges with firewalls.

Lately I’ve been working on test calls for Read Across America, along with our wonderful Verification Partners. I also just began serious work on the implementation of the 2005 USDA RUS DLT Grant we were awarded last week.

It’s amazing to me that many vendors still don’t get it! We really do want to connect easily to ANYONE! And that generally just means a plain old simple IP address or ISDN number. None of this alias stuff or dialing extensions (which I’ve seen for both IP & ISDN connections). Very annoying! Not all units can connect. Not all bridges can connect to these extensions. Why they even recommend this type of dialing scheme to K12 education is beyond me!

Admittedly I’m not a network technician, though I’ve learned more about the network than I ever thought I could. So I don’t know everything about how these things could work. I just know that I want to connect to my VC colleagues around the world as easily as possible! No extensions!

Enough ranting. Get to work! As my colleague Kevin says.

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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