Telepresence allows Madison Area Technical College to reach students in two locations in such a realistic way that it feels as if everyone is in the same room. This immersive environment is created by making sure that the rooms are identical in every aspect. In each room, to facilitate instruction, is an instructor computer, high definition document camera, two large supplemental monitors to display what is being performed on the instructor computer. These supplemental monitors display that information to both rooms simultaneously. Additionally each room will be outfitted with netbook computers for each student station in order to allow student access to Blackboard and MS Office programs.
The configuration of these rooms has proven highly conducive to discussion and collaboration within a class. According to faculty already teaching on this technology, students are more engaged then in traditional face-to-face classes.
Telepresence Student Information
Telepresence technology makes it possible to link two (or more) classrooms that are geographically distant from each other. Madison Area Technical College is the first college in the world to use Cisco TelePresence for the delivery of education.
When you enter the telepresence classroom, you will see three large screens at the front of the room, tables and chairs arranged in a semi-circle, and microphones on the desk. At the top of the middle screen you will see a set of three cameras. These cameras allow the other location(s) to see what is happening in your room.
There are many ways that telepresence classes are different than regular classroom classes. This website provides some guidelines that will make the classroom experience more productive and effective.
Food and Drink Policy
- NO FOOD OR OPEN DRINKS ARE ALLOWED IN THE ROOM.
- Only closed bottles of liquid can be brought in and these must be kept on the floor.
Where to Sit
- The station in the front of the room with the desktop computer and monitor is reserved for the classroom instructor.
- Please sit in the seats directly behind the instructor only if all remaining seats are filled. If you do sit behind the instructor, your classmates in the other location will have difficulty seeing you.
- Of course you won’t be heard if you don’t speak. Participating in the class discussions and asking questions are essential parts of the learning process. Sound is excellent in the room thus allowing you to participate in class discussions and ask questions of fellow classmates and the instructor.
- The microphones are on the center of the table in front of you. They are always “live”, meaning that they are picking up whatever sound is made in the room all the time. Side conversations with classmates are especially disturbing during a TelePresence class. The microphones will pick up any sound including your speech, shuffling papers, clicking pens, typing on a laptop, someone talking in the hallway, cell phones, and mumbling under your breath. These can all be very distracting. There are no secrets in these classes.
- It is easy to forget about the microphones because you do not hear what they are picking up at your location, and though you THINK you are speaking confidentially to the person sitting next to you, everything you’re saying can probably be heard at the other site(s).
- The microphones can be muted by pressing the mute button. This mutes the entire room where you are sitting and none of the other locations can hear you. The light on the microphone will turn red when the room is muted. To avoid accidentally pressing this button, please place all backpacks and bags on the floor. Also avoid piling books near the microphone.
- Avoid touching the microphone. Handling the microphone will cause noise at the other locations that you may not be able to hear. This includes brushing the microphone with papers or moving a mouse cord over it.
- Using e-mail and Blackboard are essential for maintaining contact with your instructor. Please see the instructions below about how to gain access to e-mail and Blackboard.
- Because of the nature of scheduling classes at multiple locations, you might not be able to stay after class to confer with the instructor. If this is the case for your class, you will need to contact your instructor outside of class time.
- Your instructor may ask how things are going in relation to your distance learning experience, specifically regarding telepresence. Don’t be shy! Providing feedback and input will improve your experience and make the path for future students easier.
- Every room has a telephone that your instructor can use to contact your site. Occasionally it may be a technician trying to take care of a problem. If the phone rings in your room someone should answer it.
Accessing your Student E-mail
- Open the Madison Area Technical College website: http://madisoncollege.edu
- Click the link for Student Email that is on the homepage (Grey link at the top near the center.
- Enter your user name and password and click the OK button. (These are the same pieces of information use to log into school computers and myMadisonCollege.)
- You are now logged into your student email account.
Logging in to Blackboard
- Open the website: http://madisoncollege.edu
- Click the link for Blackboard that is on the homepage. (Grey link at the top near the center.)
- Click the User Login button on the left.
- Enter your user name and password and click the Login button. (These are the same pieces of information use to log into school computers and myMadisonCollege.)
- Click the link for your class in the My Courses area of the screen.
The students at the remote site(s) have to be self-reliant. You may be asked to help by picking up handouts at a designated location, or to drop off assignments to be sent to the instructor.
Expectation for classroom behavior is the same in a telepresence room as they are for all other classes.
- From time to time technical problems may arise in your room. Let your instructor know about anything that is not work properly or is making the class less effective.
- If you lose sound or video, let the instructor at the other location know about the problem. You can also call the other location using the phone in the room.
- If you lose sound and video, use the phone to call the instructor at the other location.