Videoconferencing is an interactive tool that uses video, computing, and communication technologies to allow people in different locations to meet face-to-face and perform most of the same meeting activities they would perform if all participants were in the same room. Participants can be at two locations or many different locations, domestic locations or international locations.

Videoconference events can include special guest speakers, musical collaborations, meetings, and even entire courses taught between two locations. If you are interested in hosting an event or creating a course, here the answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q. Is the quality really there?
A. Yes. Advances over the last decade in hardware/software, as well as broadband network connections ensure that the minimal level of quality is comparable to what you see on standard-definition television.

Q. How much does it cost?
A. This service is free of charge to any faculty or organization engaging in course-related events.

Q. Is teaching a class via videoconference the same as teaching a regular class?
A. For the most part, yes. There will be technical issues that need to be worked out for each class, as well as practical issues such as making course material available to each location. Instructors who have websites or use course management software (Blackboard) will have a much easier time with this.

Q. Can VTC support HD video connections?
A. Some are capable, however there are some limitations. Please mention this requirement in any communication with the tech support staff.

Q. Do you support Skype, iChat, GoogleTalk or similar wecam-based service?
A. Partially. We are happy to assist users with connecting their personal computers and devices to the JHU network, however troubleshooting of these is limited. We do not have any service contracts or special relationships with any of these vendors, though they are all a viable option for ad-hoc video connections.

Q. I have an event that might be suitable for videoconferencing. Where do I begin?
A. You’ll need to email for a preliminary consultation. If you already know where you plan on connecting to, it helps to have the following information handy:

Who is the person/organization you are going to be connecting with?
Who is the technical contact for this person/organization?
What sort of hardware/software do they have available?
Are they connecting via ISDN or over IP?

Please note:

A minimum lead time of two (2) weeks prior to your event or class ensures that testing and troubleshooting can take place. Anything less than that amount of time and we cannot make any guarantees of equipment availability or quality of service.

CATS videoconferencing staff is responsible for course-related applications only. If you are interested in telemedicine (surgery), job Interviews, staff meetings, etc, please contact Guy Welty (410-735-6607,