Videoconferencing for Thesis Defences a Boon for Graduate Students
February 2, 2007
Trent University is now conducting thesis defences over the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) and partner R&E networks utilizing new IP videoconferencing equipment that was installed in early Fall 2006.
"The sound and picture quality are superb," said Professor Douglas Evans, Dean of Graduate Studies. "Everyone agrees that this is an excellent way to conduct defences." This technology, which greatly reduces time and travel costs, now allows Trent to access the best possible examiners for its graduate students since an examiner's geographic location is no longer a factor.
This technology allows for a remote external examiner to be present by video link. The system uses a standard two plasma screen arrangement installed in a conference room that permits about 16 people to participate and with an audience of about 20, all of whom are able to see and be seen by the remote external examiner. This two-screen arrangement enables all participants, including the remote external examiner, and audience to be active at once and, most importantly, to view the PowerPoint slides that are part of the presentation and defence.
The first defence was conducted in late October 2006 with a PhD student in Trent's Canadian Studies program and a remote external examiner at Pennsylvania State University. With the aid of ORION's ultra high-speed connection, Trent's videoconferencing equipment runs faster and smoother, and there is an undetectable lag in response time.
Reprinted with permission from ORION.
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