Videoconferencing offers countless opportunities for Case Western Reserve University departments: Meetings involving participants from different geographic locations; interviews of potential faculty or businesses outside of the Cleveland area; distance learning, research and project collaboration, just to name a few. However, one of the barriers to videoconferencing technology is cost. Taking note of this issue, the university's Instructional Technology and Academic Computing (ITAC) group is offering campus departments the opportunity to apply for Videoconferencing Opportunity Grants.
The department has set aside funds to support five turnkey systems, meaning the equipment will arrive as a fully functional videoconferencing system. ITAC\MediaVision will not only provide the technology, they will offer technical assistance as well. The value of each award is approximately $14,000, which includes a 50" flat-panel display, a high-definition videoconferencing appliance and universal remote control pre-wired into a cabinet. The videoconferencing connection operates over the campus IP network.
"This is a great opportunity to help departments gain access to technology that might have been previously inaccessible," said Michael Kubit, director of MediaVision. "Videoconferencing technology can be used to support all aspects of the university's academic, research and administrative functions."
Some departments already use videoconferencing on a regular basis for everything from lectures to meetings to performances. "We're seeing some very creative uses," Kubit said. He said there's even more room for networked video collaboration, and that they would like to see more departments utilize the technology in support of their programs. Currently, there are about 40 videoconferencing endpoints on campus, which have generated over 900 hours of usage since July 2007.
The deadline to apply for the grant is April 30. Some requirements include the ability to provide a permanent location for the equipment and the willingness to share access with students and other departments. Awardees will be notified by May 15.
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