According to CiteSeerX, a scientific literature database, video conferencing is the communication between at least two people and involves connection through video and audio devices. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology describes several technologies, including Internet video conferencing, desktop video conferencing and microwave television conferencing. Although video conferencing is convenient and allows for the communication between people on different sides of the planet, which saves on transportation-related financial and environmental costs, there are several disadvantages as well. However, the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium says there are more pros than cons.
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The Georgia Educational Technology Consortium says that, although video conferencing is more personal than talking on the phone or e-mailing, there is less social interaction compared to face-to-face meetings. There are no opportunities for handshakes, and it is sometimes difficult to set up a means for direct eye contact. Environmental noises, such as air conditioning units, at each site may cause distractions and take away from the cohesiveness of a business meeting or interview.
The ITEC Department of Instructional Technologies refers to online classrooms. For professors who use video conferencing to teach, it may be difficult for them to evaluate student behaviour or participation. Instructors are also challenged to create a realistic testing environment when administering quizzes and exams.
With any form of technology, technical difficulties are bound to occur. In the context of video conferencing, problems may occur with software, hardware or networks, says the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium. Technical problems may delay or interrupt meetings. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology discusses a disadvantage of allocating resources to creating a technical support team to set up or troubleshoot video conference meetings. If meeting participants are unfamiliar with the technology and lack technical support, they may feel uncomfortable and insecure in front of those on the other screen, says the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium.
Senior Technical Administrator Joshua Longley says that older models of computers may be disadvantaged as far as keeping up with real-time streaming. Smaller companies may not be able to afford to replace their older models and experience a smooth and speedy connection. Longley says that slower computers may experience delays or dropped frames, which could interrupt the flow of discussion during a meeting, interview or class.
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- CiteSeerX: The Use of Videoconferencing as a Function of Distributed Organization
- Florida Center for Instructional Technology: Video Technologies
- Georgia Educational Technology Consortium: The Virtual Academic Interview
- ITEC Department of Instructional Technologies: Distant Education and Multimedia Development