Video-Conferencing in the UK HE & FE Sectors - Research Findings


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The findings of the work of the JISC funded project "Virtually Sustainable" carried out by Peter James and Lisa Hopkinson from HEEPI and the University of Bradford

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Video-Conferencing in the UK HE & FE Sectors - Research Findings

  1. 1. Conferencing in the Sector - Research Findings Peter James and Lisa Hopkinson SusteIT, University of Bradford, UK 6 March 2012, University of Warwick
  2. 2. Previous Research• SusTEL - 7 partners in 5 countries• Multiple surveys - 10,000 + responses - conferencing & flexible working at BT & customers - conferencing at DFID• New ways of working - can reduce global carbon by 0.5% by 2020 (Smart 2020)
  3. 3. Virtually Sustainable• One of 3 JISC Green IT projects• Surveys in 9 universities - Aberystwyth, Bangor, Bradford, Glasgow, Leeds, MMU, Staffordshire, Swansea, UCLAN - 1120 users; 684 non-users• Survey of university travel coordinators• Three workshops with c 150 attendees• 11 Briefing papers and case studies - e.g. Llandeillo College; University of Kent
  4. 4. Virtual Meetings• Content – audio; text; video; web• Location – suite, mobile VC, desktop, portable• Interactiveness – 1:many; 1:few; 1:1• Diverse use of technologies - Janet Videoconferencing enabled - Skype - Blackboard Collaborate - Adobe Connect - Flash Meeting - Audio (BT MeetMe)
  5. 5. Conferencing Works!• Last virtual meeting - completely successful for 65% - partially successful for 28% - avoided travel for 54% - average 300/1346 miles avoidance - saved £106 of travel/subsistence costs - released 8 hours unproductive time• Desire for more - 81% of current users see more opportunities - 46% of non-users if easier to access and use - teaching & learning; meetings; collaborative research; conferences; interviews
  6. 6. Sector Patterns• Last call averages - 1 hour length - 4 locations - 9 participants• Access mainly from office/suite• Main uses - continuing regular discussion - specifically set up call• Limited use for teaching and learning
  7. 7. Key Benefits - 1• Reduced stress & time of travel (75%)• Better control of time (61%)• Easier to stay in touch (49%)• Better work-life balance
  8. 8. Key Benefits - 2• Compensate for travel difficulties• Easier to arrange meetings• Involve more people• Improved communication with external partners• Tangible travel and subsistence savings
  9. 9. Disbenefits“In a virtual meeting do you get virtual tea and biscuits?”• Reduced face to face contact (19%)• Less effective meetings (16%)• Bad experiences• Can’t replace face to face• Better when relationships established
  10. 10. Barriers to Greater Use• Difficulties (perceived or actual) in setting up• Lack of confidence or ability to use technology• Lack of equipment or facilities• Lack of support from colleagues• Lack of knowledge about facilities
  11. 11. Travel Coordinators - 1• 52 individuals from 44 separate institutions• 31%: institutional travel plan encourages virtual meetings & teleworking• 66%: institution has no quantified targets to reduce staff business travel• A few, e.g. Glasgow, have specific VC targets• 72%: considerable or very considerable potential at their institution, especially business meetings & intra-site travel
  12. 12. Travel Coordinators - 2• Main barriers similar to university surveys• 3 best means of encouraging greater uptake:• Senior manager support e.g. by using it more (66%)• Simple technical guides to technologies (53%)• Demo projects in pilot areas e.g. estates, IT (53%)
  13. 13. Conclusions• Considerable benefits from, and opportunities for more, virtual meetings• Virtual meetings don’t always replace travel - new uses; stimulating contact• Considerable CO2 benefits for all - largest element in research unis is (long haul) air• Air generally dominates CO2 equivalent travel• But overall business benefits are mainly related to short-medium distance travel air travel• Best to target UNPRODUCTIVE travel?
  14. 14. What’s Needed - Universities• Technical support• Training• Ease of booking• Suitable dedicated facilities• Conferencing “champions”• Institution-wide policy and support• Culture of usage supported by senior staff• Target areas of existing use (audio, skype etc)
  15. 15. What’s Needed - Sector• Sector support for wide variety of technologies• Interoperability of different technologies• Senior level support• Leadership from sector bodies
  16. 16. Assessing Carbon Impacts• 1. Scoping - e.g. identifying the reference case - determining impact significance - work/private travel; buildings; eqt• 2. Calculating impacts per virtual meeting - net MINUS gross (i.e. eqt, rebound etc.) - applying air uplift - range of cases (low, medium, high) - how many participants avoid how much travel? - how many virtual meetings in a university?• 3. Conducting reality check• 4. Producing figures