Following the acquisition of an enterprise level license on July 1 this year, campus-wide adoption of Zoom as convenient tool for live two-way videoconferencing has, well, zoomed. The cloud-based video conferencing and group collaboration tool offers many desirable features:
- Cross-platform compatibility (PC, Mac, Mobile)
- HD quality
- User friendly
- Full motion video & audio for screen sharing
- MP4 session recording and desktop capture
- Well suited for off-campus videoconferencing
- Closed captioning
- Up to 50 breakout rooms for group discussion
Some of Zoom’s features – HD quality video and audio, full motion video streaming, Mac-friendliness to name a few—offer an advantage over the on-campus Lync system. Mike Bradford, Manager of Classroom & Multimedia Services and an avid Zoom user, has high praise for the technology. “A few years ago streaming video content over the network was unheard of. Back in 2011 when we brought Haivision in to provide 2-way videoconferencing between Pomona and Lebanon, it had the lowest latency [delay between processing and output of video content] of any system out there. Since then, Zoom has figured out how to provide an HD video stream with extremely low latency using personal computers or smartphones and their own software.”
Zoom works well for virtual one-on-one meetings or point-to-point calls. Because of the importance of maintaining active communication between Pomona and Lebanon, its being used more and more as a business continuity tool, providing back up in the event a Haivision system failure.
As the use of Zoom as a primary or secondary distance learning system grows, one of the challenges is to ensure classrooms are equipped to use it. Since the enterprise license was acquired, a major effort has been underway to outfit the rooms with the appropriate cameras and microphones. with the necessary equipment already installed, HEC Classroom C is considered the campus standard for other Zoom-enabled spaces.
Since its introduction, other potential applications have been discovered. The addition of closed captioning last year made Zoom the technology of choice for CDHP, replacing Blackkboard Collaborate for virtual meetings and classes. Zoom can also be used for lecture capture: You can record content from any location, using the screen sharing feature to capture screen content and hi def. A recently added breakout room feature promises to broaden its utility for educational applications involving up to 50 groups and 200 users.
For more information on Zoom, please contact:
Mike Bradford, Manager of classroom & Multimedia Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.