Where are we from? The participants in the International Urbanization Seminar hail from all over the world, including China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Students from Stanford University are represented by blue bubbles, while students from Tsinghua University are in red.
The interactive map is based on Lab #1: My Hometown. Click on any bubble to bring up the student's profile and find out about your classmates!
Our first video conference between students in the U.S. and China took place in the Highly Immersive Classroom at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). According to GSB technology specialist Bryan McCann, this session represents the first full-scale class-to-class exchange to make use of the HIC, which has only been open a few months. (While the HIC has been used for smaller events, this is the first time two academic Stanford classes have united.)
The visuals and acoustics were excellent, thanks to four large video screens stitched together and microphones installed at strategic points around the room. It felt like the URBANST 102 students in Beijing were sitting in the same room as our class at Stanford!
The connection was largely seamless (just a minor hiccup with getting slides to show), and it was exciting for everyone involved to pioneer this technology for use in educational exchanges. Many thanks to the GSB tech team and the hard-working SCPKU staff for helping us set up this joint experience. We look forward to additional trans-Pacific teleconference sessions in coming weeks!
One of the Stanford students based in Bejing later posted this note about his experience in the combined classroom:
Today, we tested out the teleconference equipment in the Wallenberg Learning Theater, which features an immense, room-spanning screen; an arsenal of computers, microphones, and cameras; and the ability to control everything by iPad.
After some initial connection snafus, we got in touch with our collaborator at Peking University, Professor Song, through Skype. During the video call, we introduced ourselves to the Stanford students studying abroad at the Bing Overseas Studies Program in Beijing. It was fun to see them in person and to send them greetings from the home campus.
We connected with Professor Fu at Tsinghua University by utilizing a Cisco teleconference system. As we worked to establish the video link, the WeChat app (on our phones) proved helpful in coordinating.
The first go-around with teleconferencing always seems to take longer, and as we had scheduled back-to-back tests with the two institutions, the calls ended up overlapping. At one point we had both connections up and running: Deland conferred with Professor Fu on one screen, while I spoke to Professor Song, using my own laptop and headphones, on another. During the evening, the executive director of SCPKU also called my cell phone, adding to the mix of media.
We have full-fledged teleconferences with both partners again next week, and next time we'll have a roomful of students with us, so I'm glad we tested out the technology first. We owe special thanks to Wallenberg Hall's technology guru Bob Smith, who demoed the Learning Theater's range of capabilities and gave us access to a range of equipment. The adventure continues!
Cities + Spaces
Documenting the process of cross-cultural design and collaboration for sustainable development.