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Hawaii Interactive Video Service (HITS)

Overview

Academic Technologies (AT) manages the Hawaii Interactive Video Service (HITS).  It is a video network designed and optimized primarily to deliver interactive video (ITV) credit classes between campuses and educational centers within the University of Hawaii system. HITS Locations.

Once the academic semester schedule of ITV classes is finalized, HITS may accommodate UH system wide videoconferencing requests for ad hoc activities such as large group meetings, training workshops, seminars and presentations.

 

HITS Service Priority

Credit courses that are part of an approved UH Distance Learning Program have first priority of scheduling on HITS.

Credit courses that are not part of an approved UH Distance Learning Program will have a “best effort” level of scheduling on HITS.  Information on scheduling a UH Distance Learning Program

Ad hoc videoconferences have the lowest priority. HITS access and availability for videoconferencing will vary each semester.


Scheduling

Credit classes – request must be received a semester in advance. DL Course Request Form

  • Spring Semester - Third Friday of the previous semester
  • Fall Semester - Third Friday of the previous semester
  • Summer - Third Friday of December 

Ad Hoc Videoconference – request must be received at least three weeks prior to the videoconference date. HITS Videoconference Request Form


Videoconference Availability

The availability of HITS for videoconference requests is dependent on the schedule of ITV course offerings each semester. There may be semesters or summer sessions when HITS is heavily used for ITV course delivery. During these times, videoconference timeblocks may not be available.

HITS videoconferencing is not available during annual technical maintenance downtimes which are scheduled in December and in August. Next downtime is scheduled for August 15, 2014 to August 31, 2014. (Note: HITS videoconference timeblocks are not scheduled during the first week of fall and spring semesters.)

We are currently not accepting videoconference requests after December 19, 2014.


 Summer 2014 - May 27, 2014 to August 14, 2014
We are no longer accepting requests for the summer session.

 

Fall 2014 - August 25, 2014 to December 19, 2014
(Please note we do not accept requests during the first week of the semester.)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

10:00 AM to 3:30 PM 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

 


Rates

HITS is available at no cost for the delivery of University of Hawaii credit courses.

For ad hoc videoconferencing the HITS fee will vary depending on the affliation of the user with the University of Hawaii.


UH Department Rates

During Normal Work Hours [Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM]

Personnel: no charge

Outside Normal Work Hours
*availability not guaranteed, dependent on each site's available resources.
*not available on Saturday evenings, Sundays, and Holidays - closed

Personnel: $30/hr per site


Registered UH Student Organizations, Government Agencies (Federal, County or State), and Non-Profit Organizations

During Normal Work Hours [Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM]

Personnel:
Origination Site: $50 set-up + $45/hr
Receive Site(s): $25 set-up + $35/hr per site

Outside Normal Work Hours
*availability not guaranteed, dependent on each site's available resources.
*not available on Saturday evenings, Sundays, and Holidays - closed

Personnel: $30/hr per site (additional)


Private Organization

During Normal Work Hours [Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM]

Personnel:
Origination Site: $75 set-up + $65/hr
Receive Site(s): $40 set-up + $50/hr per site

Outside Normal Work Hours
*availability not guaranteed, dependent on each site's available resources.
*not available on Saturday evenings, Sundays, and Holidays - closed

Personnel: $60/hr per site (additional)

*please note that rates listed on this webpage are subject to change

 

 


Contact

 For assistance, call ITV Scheduling at (808) 956-2724 or email at itvscheduler-l@lists.hawaii.edu


Other Information


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is HITS?
A: HITS stands for Hawaii Interactive Video Service. It is managed by Information Technology Services, Academic Technologies division.  HITS primary purpose is to provide 2-way audio and video delivery of ITV classes within the UH system. When time permits, HITS may also be used by UH departments for ad hoc activities such as administrative meetings and workshops.

Q: Where are the HITS sites located?
A: The HITS locations are at UH campus media centers and educational centers. HITS Locations: http://www.hawaii.edu/dl/location/

Q: Our department is interested in using HITS to deliver our program and classes to a neighbor island(s), how do we make a request?
A: Departments interested in using HITS for a distance learning program must first go through a Master Scheduling Group (MSG) program review. MSG is a system committee responsible for scheduling system resources such as HITS (Distance Learning Executive Policy, E5.204).

Q: If our department is interested in using HITS for a meeting or training workshop, how do we make a request?
A: HITS is primarily used to deliver interactive video (ITV) classes within the UH System. If time permits, HITS may be available for ad hoc meetings or training workshops. You may view HITS availability at the top of this page.

Q: Is it possible to record the ITV Class delivered on HITS to Videotape or DVD?
A: No. Due to the HITS infrastructure it is not possible to record ITV classes or videoconferences to videotape or DVD. It is possible to record a videostream of the event to be viewed online for a limited time on our server (this is called VOD or Video-On-Demand).

VOD is available for distance learning classes and videoconferences.  Access to VOD files, are available until the last day of the semester in which the session occurred.

Q: If our department is interested in having our own HITS classroom, is that possible?
A: Yes and no. HITS locations are on a dedicated network to provide optimal quality of audio and video delivery. The HITS network is not expandable and is limited to the existing locations on the various campuses. However, it is possible to design an ITV classroom with the same HITS model. If your department is interested in deploying a videoconference facility, ITS provides consultation, please contact vcs-setup@hawaii.edu.

Q: What is the difference between a HITS site and a traditional H.323 site (often referred to as Polycom)?
A: HITS sites are currently located at UH media centers and UH educational centers statewide and reside on a dedicated network to provide optimal quality of audio and video delivery. The HITS network is not expandable and is limited to the existing locations on the various campuses.  Traditional H.323 videoconferencing rides on the UHNET which is a shared network or an outside network.  Quality of audio and video delivery will vary.

Each HITS classroom is equipped with High-Definition (HD) H.323 appliances and telepresence room environment. High-Definition allows for a superior videoconferencing experience. The set-up allows for sites to see 1) the person speaking on one monitor, 2) a graphic content display (e.g. Powerpoint slides) on a second monitor, 3) participants at other locations in a multi-site view on a third monitor. In some of the smaller classrooms, the multi-site view may not be supported. HD devices allow for a superior quality of audio and video.

Most traditional H.323 videoconferencing rooms are equipped with Standard-Definition (SD) appliances. Depending on the individual department which owns the videoconference appliance, the room may include one monitor for both video and graphic content or two monitors for video and graphic content. In other words, most traditional H.323 videoconferencing rooms do not have telepresence

Q: What are the main differences between ITV classes delivered on HITS and ITV classes using traditional H.323 videoconferencing (aka Polycom)?
A: HITS is coordinated and scheduled by ITS Academic Technologies. HITS sites are located at UH campuses and educational centers. ITS Academic Technologies and the campus media centers provide technical and instructional support. ITV classes using traditional H.323 (often referred to as Polycom classes) are coordinated by the UH department offering the class and locations will vary. Technical support and instructional support are arranged by the department offering the class.

Q: Is it possible to have an SD or HD H.323 site included in a HITS class or videoconference?
A: Yes it is possible, but not recommended since the quality of the transmission and network connectivity at non-HITS location may vary greatly depending on that location's H.323 equipment and network connection.

Q: What is the ITS MCU service and how is it related to HITS?
A: Both services are managed and scheduled through ITS Academic Technologies.

  • HITS - is a service primarily to deliver interactive video (ITV) classes within the UH system on a dedicated network to specific locations.

  • ITS MCU service - is a bridging service connecting far-end sites with H.323 appliances. It currently supports ad hoc activities such as administrative meetings for UH departments.


Q: Where can I find more information about the ITS MCU Service?
A: You can find out more information about the ITS MCU Services at: http://www.hawaii.edu/dlus/videoconference/index.html


HITS Videoconference Tips - advice on creating graphics, handouts, etc. and to help session run smoothly

Meet with Site Coordinator
It is recommended to arrange an orientation meeting with your site technician to tour the facilities and receive training on the instructional media you plan to use for your presentation before your videoconference date. If you have a PowerPoint presentation, you may want to bring your PowerPoint slides with you to the orientation for testing.

Graphic Guidelines
Graphics should conform to the following:

  • Placed horizontally

  • Conform to the 16 x 9 aspect ration

  • Allow 1 – 1 1/2” margin around all edges of the visual

  • Use bold print with upper and lower case letters, preferable in a san serif font (e.g. Helvetica, Geneva, Arial)
  • 36 – 48 point size works best

  • Do not use transparencies

  • Keep visuals simple and legible

  • Computer text should be bold, shadow and light colored on dark background (e.g. yellow or white text on blue background)

Handouts
If you wish to provide handouts for the participants, we recommend either mailing the handouts to each participant in advance, create a website where participants can download the materials, or assign one of your staff to distribute handouts to participants at each site. The site technician will not receive or duplicate handout materials for non-ITV course related events.

Copyrighted Material
Be sure to obtain broadcast clearance for copyrighted material used in the presentation


Be aware of the time
Videoconference sessions are computer controlled. The start time and end time of the session is pre-programmed. The session will end exactly on time. You will know that the connection is broken at the end of the session when you see only your location on the monitors. Allow the last 15 – 30 minutes summarizing or asking for final questions.

Microphone Etiquette
At the beginning of the videoconference, explain to participants how to use their microphones (your site technician will cover this with you before the start of the videoconference). Microphones should be turned off when not in use; otherwise, a live microphone may cause an audio echo. Should this happen, please ask participants at all sites to check and see if the microphones in their classrooms are turned off. There is a slight delay in receiving the video from a site after the participant speaks. This is normal. Therefore, each person speaking should state his or her name before commenting or asking a question. For instance, “Dr. Liu, this is Jane Doe at Maui. I have a question.” Encourage participation by calling on specific sites for comments or questions. For instance, “Manoa, do you have any questions?”

Delivery Tips
The site technician will show you where the main camera is in the classroom. When looking at your audience in the originating classroom, you may want to glance at the camera every so often. This will give the participants at the other location a sense that you are speaking directly to them. Avoid sitting or standing behind the document camera’s vertical arm. The vertical arm will block the participants’ view of you during your presentation. If you plan to “roam” while presenting, avoid walking too fast and standing in front of the program out monitor. The classroom cameras are remote-controlled and may not be able to follow if walking too fast and out of camera range. In addition, if you stand in front of the monitor that is showing you, it will cause video feedback.

Videotaping
Due to the HITS infrastructure it is not possible to record ITV classes or videoconferences to videotape or DVD.  However we do offer the option to record a videostream of the event to be viewed online for a limited time on our server (this is called VOD or Video-On-Demand).


HITS Classroom - an overview of equipment found in a HITS classroom

ITV Classroom (a.k.a HITS Classroom)
When you walk into the classroom, you will see cameras, video monitors (or projector screens depending on location), microphones, and other instructional media. This technology allows everyone in one location to see and hear everyone in the other location(s). For more information on sites please go to: http://www.hawaii.edu/dl/location/

Monitors
In each ITV classroom, there are three monitors (or projector screens, depending on the location) in the front of the classroom. One of the monitors (or projection screen) will show the instructor at all times when they are speaking.  This first monitor
(or projection screen) will also switch as participants from various locations talk.  The second monitor (or projection screen) will show the content that is being sent, for example the instructor's PowerPoint presentation.  The third monitor (or projector screen) will show a continuous view of all the participating locations.  On this monitor (or projection screen) each location will be placed in its own box (a.k.a Hollywood Squares).

Microphones
The ITV classroom microphones vary at each location. Some may be “push-to-talk” microphones, “push-on-push-off” microphones or microphones with an on/off switch. Please ask your site technician to show you how to use your microphone.

Cameras
Cameras in most ITV classrooms are either remote controlled or pre-set to a wide shot of the classroom. At some locations, the cameras are controlled by a site technician in a control room. Other locations have programmed the camera(s) to pan and zoom to a particular area in the room when a participant turns on his or her microphone. The quantity of cameras in a classroom may vary at each location from one to two cameras. At locations with an instructor’s teaching area, there may be three cameras.

Instructional Media
Instructional media are multimedia equipment in the classroom to enhance instruction. Not all ITV classrooms are equipped with instructional media. Please check with the site technician at your site to see what media is available for your use. You may also want to schedule time with the site technician to practice using any of the equipment with which you are unfamiliar. The following instructional media are available at most of the HITS2 locations:

  • Document Camera is used to show graphics, books, or small items. It also can be used to write or draw spontaneously.

  • VCR and/or DVD Player

  • Computer – Windows or Mac may be available for your presentations. If you would like to bring your own laptop, please check with the site technician to see if this is possible for your site.

Glossary of Terms for HITS

Analog Signal

In telecommunications, an analog signal is one in which a base carrier's alternating current frequency is modified in some way, such as by amplifying the strength of the signal or varying the frequency, in order to add information to the signal. Broadcast and telephone transmission have conventionally used analog technology.

Digital Signal

Digital describes electronic technology that generates, stores, and processes data in terms of two states: positive and non-positive. Positive is expressed or represented by the number 1 and non-positive by the number 0. Thus, data transmitted or stored with digital technology is expressed as a string of 0's and 1's. Each of these state digits is referred to as a bit (and a string of bits that a computer can address individually as a group is a byte).

H.323

H.323 defines the protocols to provide audio-visual (a.k.a videoconferencing) communication sessions on the Internet.

HITS Telepresence

HITS Telepresence is the connection that Academic Technologies (AT) uses to create an environment that allows optimal interactivity between the HITS Telepresence classrooms

High Defintion (HD)

High Definition (HD) refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition (SD).  Most commonly this involves display resolutions of 1,280×720 pixels (720p) or 1,920×1,080 pixels (1080i/1080p).

MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group)

Series of International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for digital video and audio, designed for a variety of uses and data rates.

MPEG-2

MPEG stands for Motion Picture Experts Group. It is a standard method of transmitting digital video and sound in a compressed format using less bandwidth than the traditional analog method. MPEG-2 is typically used for "broadcast" quality programming.

Site (near-end, far-end, origination, receive)

  • The origination site is the location that sends video and/or audio to the receive site.This is the site where the chair, or, in the case of a distance learning course, the instructor will be.
  • The receive site is the location that receives the transmission from the origination site

UHNET

The University of Hawaii System's wide area IP network linking its 10 campuses and five education centers.

Telepresence

Telepresence refers to a set  of technologies that  allow a person to feel as if they were present, or, to give the appearance that they were present at a place other than their true location.

Videoconference

Communication across long distances with video and audio contact that may also include graphics.

 

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Article ID: 500
Created: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:27am
Modified: Sun, 05 May 2013 8:48am