Center for Information Technology Services

WebEx at UMB

Each month hundreds of UMB students, faculty, and staff participate in online encounters that feature multimedia presentations, interactive discussions, and collaborative activities.  The tool they are using is called WebEx.  Every school and administrative department has purchased licenses to host “web conferences,” which eliminate the need for travel and enhance collaboration in the virtual classrooms and meeting rooms of UMB.  Each month, on average, there are more than 130 classes, business meetings, and/or large-audience presentations facilitated through WebEx.  Each of these modes allows real-time interaction among the participants, while offering a recording option for later on-demand viewing via the web. 

WebEx in the Classroom
For example, a class that is presented via WebEx allows students to participate interactively whether they are in the classroom with the presenter or many miles away.  A remote student receives voice, video, and other learning materials on his or her computer, while having the concomitant ability to speak to the instructor and classmates, to share data from a personal computer, and to be seen by others participating in the class. 

WebEx for Research Collaboration
Similarly, researchers in many locations who are collaborating on a project can use WebEx to communicate interactively, show their results, troubleshoot problems, and write on a common whiteboard.  Administrators can participate in meetings with counterparts at other campuses or sites without the expense of travel.  All of these capabilities are accomplished using voice and video from the campus network connecting with persons in remote locations. 

How Much Does  It Cost?
By using a computer’s speakers and microphone (or a headset if preferred) the cost of participating in any of these sessions is negligible to the University and generally free to the participants.  In a year that saw growth in off-campus learning centers, increased research collaboration, reduced travel budgets, historic snow falls, and extreme temperatures, this has proven to be an effective way to do the work of the University in a time- and cost-efficient way. 

How Can I Get WebEx?
For more information on how to access and use web conferencing to conduct classes, meetings, or large-group presentations,  contact the campus IT Help Desk at: help@umaryland.edu  or (410) 706-HELP.