Behind the Scenes VC Tips and Tricks

As the school year winds down, I’ve been thinking about some of the strategies I use to make VCs as smooth as possible. Here are a couple of tips from a bridge control freak!

Force Video

When facilitating an ASK program with Janie Panagopoulos (a veteran VC-er), I forced the video to the school that came in late so she could see a new site. Then I quickly forced it back to her. Now she’s looking at the new school; and the other schools only saw a quick blip of that school coming in. Without interrupting her flow, I could send her a subtle message that the late school has joined.

During MysteryQuests, I like to force the video to the class that is presenting to avoid any switching. This also keeps their visuals up on screen even when the other classes are asking for clues to be repeated.

Sometimes my old Tandberg MPS acts up and the video flips like crazy. Sometimes I can fix that by forcing it to the presenting site and not allowing any video switching.

Mute Video

Another trick I discovered just this spring.

My old Tandberg MPS doesn’t get along with the Codian and RMX bridges. Both bridges tend to take over the conference so I can’t force video. Or in a scenario that happens with a couple of bridges in a south western state, the site coming in through the Codian takes over the conference and voice activation no longer works.

In both of these scenarios, I found a unique solution! Mute the video on the offending bridge!

In one MysteryQuest this spring, ALL the sites were coming in through bridges. Side rant: who in their right mind installs VC so schools can only connect through a bridge? I strongly believe they should be able to connect directly in addition to through a bridge. In that session, to make it work, I had to mute the video of all the other sites to make it work. The surprising good side effect though was that when teachers and students were seeing a loopback of their presentation, they could adjust posters and other visuals to make them easier to see.

What about you?

I realize that VC is moving towards end user control and away from bridge control. But when I’m running/facilitating/bridging a program, I like to make it as smooth and excellent an experience for the teachers and students as humanly possible. Yes, I’m a control freak!

What do you think of this kind of manipulation? Good/bad?

What other tips and tricks do you do?

Do you think new desktop VC solutions will allow for this kind of support during the program?

One reply

  1. Ashton Graham says:

    I love the control the bridge operators have over the video conference! I remember one huge meeting I had organized with three school districts (on my end we had superintendents, CFO, Board Members etc) during the test call the voice activated switching had worked wonderfully but on the day of the conference as the participants were arriving it didn’t work – so after conferring with the bridge operator he hard switched the entire conference – no one ever knew! I just made sure my facilitator knew how to “toss” – the entire conference would of been a disaster if it weren’t for the control from the bridge!

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