How to Use Video Conferences (Blue Cafe) in Your Online Program

Hello! This is Dr. Jim Martin, your VcTE blogger from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Creighton University. This month, I’ll share some ideas and how-to’s on using Creighton’s Blue Café video conferencing system.

As a Creighton faculty member, you can use Webex™ which is known as BlueCafe’, to facilitate online video conferences with your students and, if your program is large enough, faculty members.

For those of us who teach online, video conferences can be a way to “put a face with a name” – but can also be used to make sure that as many students as possible understand a particularly difficult concept. They can also be used to facilitate a class discussion – much like we do in a traditional classroom.

Furthermore, in larger programs, it’s also useful to facilitate this sort of communication among instructors teaching several sections of the same class or across instructors within a program to ensure that they feel engaged and are receiving the latest policy guidance.

Here’s how to use it!

First, go to: https://doit.creighton.edu/center-academic-technology/bluesuite/bluecafe

 

Step 1: If you haven’t done so, you need to request a host account (allowing you to create scheduled webex meetings). Click on that link and follow the instructions. As with most applications like this, you’d need your CU NetID and password – and the confirmation will be sent to your CU email, so be sure to check there. You cannot set this up using a non-CU email. After a day or two, you’ll have your privileges. These allow you to schedule a meeting.

Step 2: So, go back to the same page and click on the Access BlueCafe’ link

 

Step 3: When you click on that link, you’ll come to this page. Click on the “Log In” Icon. This will require you to enter your CU NetID and password, but makes things easier as you move forward.

 

Step 4: Now, the screen will look just the same, but your NetID will show up where the “Log in” button was. You can then click on the “Meeting Center” tab.

 

 

Step 7: Now, you need to fill it out:

 

  1. Enter a name for your Meeting.
  2. DO NOT enter a password.
  3. Enter a date for the day you want to hold your meeting.
  4. Enter a start time. It’s usually a good idea to enter a “start” time that is about 5 minutes before you actually want to start so you can get in and be there before anyone else.
  5. Enter a duration for the meeting. I always make mine 1 hour in length – even though I never have Webex meetings that are longer than 45 minutes.
  6. Addresses: you can, if you wish, put the email addresses in here – but I never do. It’s a matter of personal taste (I’ll explain why later).
  7. Click on this box so that Webex will email you a confirmation, calendar invite, and the link to the meeting.

Once you’ve set up everything for your meeting, click on the “Schedule Meeting” green button.

 

Step 9: Once you’ve click on that, you’ll see this screen. Don’t click Start (unless your meeting starts right now)! You can log out now.

 

Step 10: Within a minute or two, you’ll get two emails: once is a reminder to you (and an icon that will add the meeting to your Outlook calendar) and the other is an email that you can send to those people that you’d like to attend. I usually email this information to the list of people that I want to attend then make sure I’ve put the link and the day/time into my calendar. Then, on that day, I’ll start my meeting!

Step 11: Note that when you actually enter the meeting on that day, you’ll need to click on the link, log in using your NetID and password. Once that’s done, you’ll see a screen like this:

 

A) Test your audio first – this will ensure that your microphone is working.
B) Next, you want to “connect to audio”. This will make it so everyone else who attends can hear you.
C) Notice that, if you want to, you can share your screen. You can toggle this off and on.
D) These tools allow you to see who has logged in, chat, and if you want to, record the meeting.
E) Finally, you can either present via audio, or you can use a webcam (if you have one on your computer).

Note that you can also record the meeting (Blue Cafe will send you a link to the video via your email) if you want to share it with others who could not attend. If you want to do this, be sure to click Record before the meeting starts!

There are lots of other features and some various things to work through when you hold your first view video conferences, but those are the basics! Enjoy using BlueCafe’!

That’s it for this month! As noted, if you have different strategies, concepts, or disagree entirely, please feel free to comment on the blog. Have a great week and I look forward to visiting with you again soon!

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