Videoconferencing with Blue Jeans

Technology Services at Hendrix College outlines the process and offers recommendations to turn a good videoconferencing session into a great videoconferencing session. While you may be familiar with Skype, the service we use to connect our classrooms with off-campus participants is Blue Jeans. The service allows off-campus participants to connect through their browser, Skype, or another room-based system.

Before you begin a videoconferencing session, make sure you have a web camera, microphone, and speakers. Many computers come with these devices built-in; however, you may need to borrow or purchase them.

In order to test out your equipment, you may connect to Blue Jeans at this URL https://bluejeans.com/111/ for an automated walkthrough. If you would like to test out your system and receive some feedback from our staff, please contact Tim Lepczyk or the Media Center through our Help Desk. The phone number is (501) 450-1340 and email address is HelpDesk@hendrix.edu.

To connect to your videoconferencing session, the person to whom you are speaking will send you a link for either the browser connection or Skype. Click on that link and you will enter the meeting. Blue Jeans will work with both Macs and PCs, but please test the service out first if you plan on using Linux.

Recommendations

  1. Have a contact number and phone in case difficulties arise.
  2. Use a wired connection instead of wifi. The video resolution should be greatly improved by connecting through an ethernet cable.
  3. Headphones and mic will improve audio. One problem that can occur is feedback. By using headphones, you insure that the audio does not create feedback by entering the microphone. If you do not have headphones, try to make sure that your speakers are positioned in front of your microphone.
  4. Avoid backlighting. To improve how you appear on video, use lights that are in front of you and avoid those that are directly behind you. If there are too many lights behind you, you may appear silhouetted on the screen.
  5. Create a distraction free environment. Choose a location that is quiet, uncluttered, and does not have a dynamic background. For instance, if a large window were behind you, people with whom you are speaking may be watching as cars or students pass in and out of view.
  6. Create the illusion of eye contact. While it may feel unnatural, if you’d like to establish eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking, remember to look into the camera and not the eyes of the person on screen.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact the Media Center or Tim Lepczyk through Help Desk.