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!
- Build in additional buffer time between teleconference sessions instead of holding them back-to-back.
- WeChat or other phone-based messaging apps can help you coordinate when first establishing the video connection.
- Make sure both parties know in advance which teleconference system will be used.