The University of Porto (U.PORTO), through is New Technologies in Education (NTE) office has available since March 2005 a Videoconference Studio. This equipment is closely related do the dissemination of the videoconference technologies at U.PORTO. Only in the years of 2007 and 2008 this equipment has registered an increase of about 300% on his usage.
Several efforts were developed by the NTE team that contributed to this high usage. We highlight especially the fluidity on the service, the multifunctional usage, the acquisition and the development of knowledge in this field and the internationalization of this service. Various educations scenarios were implemented during these past years using the videoconference infrastructure. We highlight the pedagogical scenarios that became long structured pedagogical projects with more than a year long. We had the example of a curricular unit from a Master degree between our Faculty of Economics and ISEG (Lisbon). In this case we had about twenty students in our Videoconference room during two semesters and the teacher was in Lisbon. Another example was a Doctoral curricular unit that happen between our Faculty of Sciences, IST (Lisbon) and Carnegie Mellon University (USA). In this case we had a teacher and about five students in Lisbon, one class of about five students in the USA and one student in our Videoconference Studio.
Recently it was implemented a new telepresence room (Douro HD Room) in last July 2009 and we will join this year a portable videoconference system that will offer a complete and different set of options in the videoconference field to all the academic community. With different characteristics between them, these three equipments from U.PORTO will allow an optimization in the videoconference service offer in all the University.
This segmentation on the types of videoconference contents that these equipments can give can also boost the usage of these infrastructures in the University but can also boost the pedagogical use of the videoconference technologies in all the academic community.
In the past years several activities supported by the NTE team were developed in collaboration with several international institutions and even with the integration in international organizations with high experience with videoconference. This integration permitted to increase the knowledge in this field. This internationalization component was very important to the high intensity in the usage of the videoconference infrastructure in the U.PORTO.
We can say that with this offer and this experience it’s possible to create even more opportunities of usage, especially in the Videoconference Studio of U.PORTO (due to the multifunctional characteristics) on the usage to diverse, structured and constant pedagogical scenarios that can last several years.
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