The University of Texas-Pan American
Technology Services

TANDBERG: Video Conferencing Systems: Profile Series: 3000 MXPTechnology Services has provided technical support for live two-way videoconferencing since 1990. Every day of the semester, classes are taught on the UTPA campus and simultaneously transmitted to students at remote locations. In addition, professors at other higher learning institutions transmit their lectures (live) to students on the UTPA campus.

The Video Network Control Room is the hub of UTPA's Interactive Video Network. This facility provides the inter connectivity between videoconferencing rooms throughout campus and other locations throughout the globe.

The UTPA Video Network Control Room is located in the Academic Services Building and houses all our compressed digital-video codecs. These codecs compress analog video signals into digital information so that the signals may be transmitted to a remote site via telecommunication lines.

The Video-conference equipment can be divided into five categories:

  1. Audio-visual equipment - Consists of microphones, speakers, and video monitors. The microphones are usually distributed in different places of the conference room in order to capture the voice equally from any part of the room. The video monitors offer a real time picture of the local and remote sites.
  2. CODEC - The CODEC is responsible for the compression and decompression of the video and audio signals. It can operate at transmission speed multiples of 56 K bps or 64 K bps. Most CODEC's offer video, audio, and optional graphics, data, and computer capabilities such as PC file transfer and storage.
  3. MCU or Bridge - The Multi-Point Control Unit (MCU), often referred to as Bridge, connects all the multiple sites together. Through access to switched, dedicated, and direct networks, the MCU becomes the gateway between UTPA video sites and the world.
  4. Transmission - The transmission is done over the IP network. UTPA only supports H.323 protocol.
  5. IP/VCR Recorder - The IP/VCR Recorder is an IP-based video-conference recording, playback and streaming system. The IP/VCR records voice, video and content from standard video conferencing equipment and it can stream live or play back the content on demand to any PC or videoconferencing endpoint.

Video Conference Equipped Rooms Throughout Campus

Building Room
Academic Services Building 1.104
Academic Services Building 1.106
Academic Services Building 2.134
Academic Services Building 2.150
New Computer Center Lone Star Room North 1.706
Student Services Building 6.105
Engineering Building 1.262


Sites Connected to UTPA via Video Network.

All University of Texas System Academic Components
All University of Texas System Medical Centers
All campuses of the Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas (Mexico)
All High Schools connected to the Region One ESCONETT Video Network
All Texas A & M campuses
Any site with H.323 Capability

Procedures For Scheduling A Course For A Video-conference

Send an email to requesting video network resources a minimum of two weeks prior to the event. Email should include the following information:
  • Title of event/course
  • Date(s)
  • Time (Start/end time)
  • Holidays observed
  • Room location you would like to use at UTPA campus
  • UTPA faculty member name
  • Remote site(s)
  • Name and phone number of technical contact person at remote site
  • Number of participants (if known)
Receive confirmation from Technology Services on the scheduling of your class or conference.
Notify of any cancellations or schedule modifications.

Pointers For Teaching via Interactive Video

  • Don't forget about the students at the remote sites.
  • Treat camera as a student, make regular eye contact with the camera.
  • Remember that learning takes place at the remote site as well as the originating site.
  • Make yourself available for students at the remote site via email, voice mail, or cell phone.
  • Allow sufficient time for students at remote sites to copy all material before you move on to next page or slide.
  • Repeat questions asked by local students so that students at remote sites can hear what the discussion involves.
  • Utilize strengths of the system such as prepared charts, graphics, photos, videos and computer presentations.
  • Do not use chalkboards or dry erase boards.
  • Use document camera.
  • Use large fonts (36 pt.) on charts and diagrams.
  • Make sure you know what is being shown to the students at the remote sites.
  • Think visually for a visual medium. Show students what you are saying.
  • Involve your students at the remote sites. Students don't care unless they share.
  • Help your students with note-taking. Use hand-outs or a study guide to correlate with your presentation.
  • Never embarrass your students.
  • Believe that it takes a team of people to help you teach effectively on television. Nobody is smarter than all of us.
  • Never use red on television.
  • Information graphics need to be concise and legible.
  • Use charts instead of tables.
  • Visuals must be horizontal or landscape to optimize use of space.
  • Plan time for questions and answers.
  • Wear medium shades such as soft pastels or beiges.
  • Do not wear jewelry that will interfere with the lapel microphone.
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