User Experience Research Challenges in Highly Interactive Webcasting
Ronald Baecker, PhD
Professor, Computer Science
Bell University Laboratories Chair in Human-Computer Interaction
Founder and Chief Scientist of the Knowledge Media Design Institute
University of Toronto
Joint Work With: Peter Wolf, Kelly Rankin, Gale Moore, Elaine Toms, Gerald Penn, Kostas Platanoitis, Rhys Causey, Cosmin Munteanu, Brendan Reilly, Eric Smith, and James Vaughn
Monday, March 5, 2007
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Davis Centre 1302, University of Waterloo
Co-Sponsored by: The University of Waterloo Institute for Computer Research
View Video of Presentation in HI Alive Archive: Research Seminars Archive 2006-2007
Media spaces are environments that incorporate computer and communication technologies, typically including the Internet, to allow distributed groups of individuals to interact in real-time. My talk will begin by reviewing past media space work on desktop videoconferencing, electronic classrooms, and meeting capture, especially projects at Xerox, Toronto, Sun, Berkeley, Microsoft, and Georgia Tech. We focus particularly on webcasting as an interesting media space that has excellent potential for scalability across a large number of sites. The downside is that webcasting is typically a one-way broadcast from a transmitter to a multitude of receivers, and an ephemeral event that exists only during the live broadcast.
The Toronto ePresence Interactive Media system creates a media space that allows distributed groups of individuals to participate and interact in webcast events such as lectures, and to do so before, during, and after the event. ePresence incorporates a modular Web services architecture and XML-based data structures to facilitate interfacing with other eLearning, collaboration, and content management applications. The system currently being distributed supports the broadcasting of video, audio, slides, and screen captures; concurrent slide review; integrated moderated chat and VoIP support for questions and discussion; tailorable skins; the automated creation of embeddable, structured, navigable, and searchable event archives; and the bookmarking and tagging of points in archived presentations. Speakers are not forced to use PowerPoint — ePresence transmits several rich media presentation formats. The system is highly cross-platform, supports audio-only viewing at bandwidths as low as 56K, and is being distributed via open source and community source strategies. I shall introduce the system and describe some eLearning and medical education projects to which it has been applied.
Perhaps the most important achievement is the creation of a flexible, modular, extensible infrastructure for exploring frontiers of collaboration technologies, to address, for example, the following research challenges:
• evaluating the use of ePresence in real eLearning and medical education applications
• combining webcasting to many viewers with videoconferencing to a few participants
• enhancing in-room awareness of remote participants via text chat displays and webcam slow scan video
• achieving voice recognition of lectures, and solving human factors issues in using imperfect transcripts
• enabling persistent conversation over webcasts (both live and archived) for learning communities.
The talk will report on results in tackling these challenges.
About the Speaker
Ronald Baecker is Professor of Computer Science, Bell University Laboratories Chair in Human-Computer Interaction, and Founder and Chief Scientist of the Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto. He is Affiliate Scientist with the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, and during the first half of 2006 was Visiting Professor, Cognitive Neuroscience, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Baecker is also Principal Investigator of the CDN$5.5M Canada-wide NSERC Network for Effective Collaboration Technologies through Advanced Research (NECTAR), has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH, has been elected to the CHI (Computers and Human Interaction) Academy by ACM SIGCHI, and has been awarded the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award. He has published over 125 papers and articles, is author or co-author of four books and co-holder of 2 patents, and has founded and run two software companies. His current entrepreneurial venture is a virtual non-profit foundation within the University of Toronto to distribute and support the open source ePresence Interactive Media system (http://epresence.tv). His B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. are from M.I.T.