Webcasting for Public Issues Education

Last night we were in Chenango, NY conducting a seminar on Gas Leasing. I was the technologist – primary responsibilities for organizing, moderating and generally making the event happen belong to Rod Howe, of the Community and Rural Development Institute, here at Cornell¬† University.¬† We webcast the event, using Adobe Connect and so our combined audience was between 180 – 200 people. This is the second time we’ve combined Connect with face to face meetings and it really does seem to present a reasonable, fairly stable way to extend outreach, in cases like this.

I’ll add another post later which gets into the technical setup but for now I’ve posted a few images from the face to face seminar here, and you can learn more about the actual topic at our Gas Leasing blog.


Marrying Adobe Connect and Polycom to Deliver In-service Training

I’ve spent some time this past semester (Fall ’07) working with an undergrad adult ed class. A major project for the students has been to develop an in-service training for extension staff that will be delivered “at-distance”. This past Friday was the first in-service and I’d like to elucidate our setup for content delivery, which included participants connecting via Polycom and Adobe Connect.

Schematic of Polycom and Connect

The Polycom unit (VSX700e) is located in a smaller conference room. This room has been recently upgraded and includes a Pioneer flat panel for videoconference display, a ceiling mounted microphone and 2 ceiling mounted Bose speakers, for audio. The question, or challenge, was, how can we integrate an Adobe Connect meeting and have it come as close as possible to replicating the “presence” of a full on video conference?

The schematic diagram lays out the components, as I set them up in the room. We were able to capture the audio of the presenters and Polycom attendees and channel it into the Connect meeting by using 2 MLX V63M condenser mic’s, fed through a Behringer Eurorack UB802 mixer. A webcam, placed on the conference table broadcast the presenters to Connect meeting attendees.

The system required 2 “operators” – the presenter narrating the powerpoint using the Polycom set-up and a Connect host,Over the shoulder image from the in-service clicking through the presentation, in -sync with the main presenter, and fielding text questions from Connect attendees. Questions from Connect participants were then read aloud to include the Polycom attendees and also to re-enforce the connection between the 2 mediums.

Some comments were offered, at the end of the in-service, regarding the issue of presence and the differing methods ofdelivery and while Connect attendees did indicate a slightly more detached feel during the presentation. The overall response was positive indicating that marrying these 2 tools may be an effective practice to increase the accessibility and reach of web cast presentations.