H.323 is a videoconferencing protocol that uses the Internet to provide high-quality audio and video connections between multiple sites located anywhere in the world. H.323 switches between several video sources within a room including the video source from a computer desktop, enabling users to share their PowerPoint presentations as well as other computer programs with the other connected sites.
Uses for H.323
Here are ways that H.323 is currently used on ECU's campus:
- Lecture Exchanges – Exchange lectures with a professor at another university. They lecture to your class on their area of specialization, and in turn, you lecture to their class.
- Course Exchanges – Team teach a semester-long course with an instructor at another university. Instructors take turns lecturing. Students engage in real-time discussion and debate with their fellow students at the other university.
- Research Exchanges – Collaborate on research with colleagues located at connected sites.
- Expert Speaker – Invite an expert to lecture to your class.
- Global Connections – Engage in any of the activities listed above, or others, with sites anywhere in the world. H.323 is currently being used at ECU extensively by Global Academic Initiatives linking classrooms at ECU with classrooms and experts at sites all across the globe. ECU has many connections in every field of study. If you are interested in adding an international component to your class, Global Academic Initiatives can help. Just contact Rosina Chia at 252-328-6277.
How to use H.323
The use of H.323 requires that each site participating in the connection have specialized H.323 cameras or programs in order to connect to one another. ECU has several rooms with H.323 videoconferencing equipment installed throughout campus available for your use. Click on the "Locations" link on the right side of your screen for a list of H.323-enabled sites. Polycom PVX software can also be purchased which enables users to place H.323 videoconferencing calls from their own computer using a webcam.
To learn more, view this Polycom PVX software tutorial.
H.323 also allows many sites to connect with one another at the same time, for a multisite meeting. Most of the H.323-enabled rooms on campus already have the to capability of connecting up to four sites together simultaneously (3 external locations plus ECU). You should, however, check with the room administrator to confirm this capability. If you have a need to connect more than four sites together at a time, you will need to request the use of a videoconferencing bridge. If you have 12 sites or fewer, you can contact John Southworth at 252.328.9089. If you have more than 12 sites, you can contact Robert Spencer at 252.744.3237 for up to 80 connected sites at a time. This bridge also has the capability to accept calls from sites with ISDN connections.