Tips for a Successful Videoconference

Before the Videoconference

Check to ensure you have access to the necessary equipment. You will need either videoconferencing equipment (H.323 protocol) or a computer. If planning to use a computer connection, ensure you have access to a wide-angle webcam that can show your entire group, an external microphone capable of picking up participants speaking around the room, and a projector. Please note that we cannot connect using Skype or FaceTime, but we can send you special software that will allow you to connect directly with us.

At least four weeks prior to your preferred dates, schedule your videoconference on the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration’s (CILC) website (http://cilc.org). All requests made on CILC will be routed to museum staff, who will contact you to set up the program.

Please note: We recommend you book early due to high demand for limited time slots.

At least one week prior to your program date:

  • Staff will contact you with the assigned videoconference presenter’s name and e-mail.
  • Contact the presenter to discuss your plans for integrating this topic with your curriculum or your programming goals. Your videoconference presenter may suggest ways to customize the content of the videoconference to your needs.
  • Identify a space where all participants will be able to sit comfortably within your camera’s view, see a projected PowerPoint, and hear the videoconference presenter.
  • Complete a successful test call at the scheduled time. Use the equipment and room you plan to use the day of the program. This is a good time to make sure you’re comfortable using all of the equipment.
  • Teachers, please review videoconference rules and expectations with your students. Students should speak loudly and clearly to the presenter, one at a time. It’s helpful to have students raise their hands and for you to call on them before they speak.
  • Encourage your students to write down questions for the videoconference presenter based on what you’re currently studying as it relates to the videoconference topic. Questions about program content, the artwork, the museum, and (within reason) the presenter are welcome!
  • Adult groups should designate a facilitator who can encourage participation and help the presenter converse with the group.

During the Videoconference

Make sure participants are comfortably seated within view of the camera and can readily see the videoconference screen and projected PowerPoint presentation.

Classroom-appropriate behavior is essential to a successful videoconference program for school groups. Students should listen to the presenter, as well as each other, and should behave respectfully.

Encourage participants of all ages to ask and answer questions and give their opinions and ideas.

Remind participants to speak loudly and clearly for the presenter.

Call on participants to prompt them to ask and answer questions. Consider rephrasing or restating a question if you know participants have something to say but are shy or may not understand the question. If the presenter cannot hear participants, repeat their answers for the presenter.

After the Videoconference

Incorporate the appropriate videoconference lesson into your classroom curriculum.

Contact the videoconference presenter with any follow-up questions from participants.

Contact American Art staff (AmericanArtEducation@si.edu) with your comments and suggestions. Evaluation and program improvement are a priority, and we welcome your comments.

Fill out the evaluation request emailed by CILC.

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