Whether it’s a regular weekly meeting or a one-off occurrence, how do you connect with colleagues when they’re in other locations? From conference calls to video conferencing, your best bet is Cisco Webex. This audio and web conferencing tool is available to all MIT faculty, students, and staff at no cost.
If you opt for a video call, the service provides multiple viewing modes, including full screen, multiple feed, or side-by-side with screen sharing. You can switch presenters, share an application or what’s on your desktop, annotate documents together, sketch ideas on a virtual whiteboard, record meetings, and organize or join meetings from your smartphone or tablet.
Here’s a quick look at how it works.
Create a meeting
The Webex interface lets you schedule a meeting, invite attendees, set duration, and specify whether a meeting is recurring. You can also hold impromptu meetings without prior scheduling, using your “Personal Room.” Personal rooms use a unique URL based on your Kerberos identity, making it easy for attendees to find and join them.
Visit the Webex landing page in the Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) Knowledge Base for more information and instructions.
Call into a meeting
Remote team members can join audio meetings using their phone or the microphone on their computer. Multiple team members can call in to the same meeting. You don’t need to call them individually via a speakerphone at MIT.
Share your screen
With Webex, a designated presenter in the meeting can share his or her screen with the rest of the team. Each team member will be able to view the screen on his or her own Webex app. This feature is helpful for meetings taking place in a room without a projector.
Webex allows the presenter, or the entire team, to annotate the document being shared. There are annotation options such as the drawing, text, and pointer tools.
If a meeting is too detail-dense to summarize easily, Webex can help. You can record a meeting’s video and audio. When the recorded meeting is finished, the file will save to the Webex client. You can then download and convert the file for later review to any of a variety of media player formats. Downloading the files to your computer and then deleting them from the Webex client helps MIT stay below Webex storage quotas.
Recent upgrade and Classic View
Cisco Systems recently released Webex 33.3. New features include group chat, improved video collaboration, and more control over who and what you see during a conference call. Essential controls such as muting, sharing, and recording have been centralized for easier navigation.
Cisco offers a guided tour of the new features, including how they compare to the previous version. If something in the earlier version still calls out to you, you have the option to switch from Modern View to Classic View.
For instructions on how to use Webex, see IS&T’s Webex landing page in the Knowledge Base. If you still have questions or need help using Webex, contact the IS&T Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.253.1101. You can also submit a request online.