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Video conference support services at NTNU

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is Norway’s largest University. This also includes several support services and innovative and internationally renowned projects. On September 1st, EdViCon was allowed to visit and talk to two of the people involved in making NTNU a modern and high-tech university also when it comes to video conferencing systems. 

Fredrik Haugdal works as a project manager and AV-expert at Centre for Educational Support. EdViCon visited him at the most equipped laboratory for video conferencing in the city of Trondheim. The media lab looks like a TV-studio, and functions like one as well, except it is set up for more. The lab includes all the necessary functions for both synchronous video conferencing and asynchronous video recording. Smaller rooms are set up for webinars and recording of video lectures. On the main stage in the lab, one can bring together both live and remote participants of debates and round-table sessions using the green screen and large monitors. 

Mr. Haugdal explains how NTNU works with video conferencing, paying special attention to the sound and acoustics in different learning spaces. EdViCon gains insight into different settings, unorthodox solutions, and problems that often occur at this facility. The video conferencing service at the university works with challenges that related to technology, learning spaces (rooms), procedures, organization, and roles, as well as culture. All these need to be considered to establish functional educational practices.

Image: the center for educational support at NTNU (photo by Mikhail Fominykh)

Later the same day, EdViCon researchers visited and talked to Robin Støckert, one of the project leaders for the NTNU Teaching Excellence projects called SALTO. SALTO aims at developing effective pedagogy with an activity that spans across two campuses at the same time, and with particular emphasis on interaction, resource sharing and communication. The project is located at the institute for music, making the effects of sound and image via online video conferencing tools even more vital than in conservative lectures. To make this work, SALTO developed their own “portal” to run lectures in, connecting the two campuses in real time.

Mr. Støckert shares insights both on development of spaces, technological issues and how to organize and involve a team in the design. He shares his ideas on the importance of always putting pedagogy first and allow the technology to fulfill the needs of the lectures content and the learning design. Several ideas that are being implemented in SALTO have been developed in close collaboration with international partners, again showing the importance of international collaboration.

Image: the SALTO (screenshot from video https://youtu.be/AvCZ7H99FHk)

In the EdViCon project, the NTNU team will be able to build upon the experience from the previous knowledge and experience from the support services and the SALTO project. And, as Mr. Støckert highlighted, in educational video conferencing, we really need to look as broadly as we can at the practices in other countries and other educational settings. 

Authors: Ass. Professor Tord Mjøsund Talmo and PhD Researcher Mikhail Fominykh from NTNU

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