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Sultanate of Oman

Sultan Qaboos University

College of Education

ILT Department

Audiographics Teleconferencing

Done by:

Asma Hilal Al-Moqbali (ID# 63376)

Asma Salim Al-Balushi (ID# 68699)


Audiographic Conference is one of the earlier technologies used to deliver distance education. It is
effective to deliver instruction to remote areas, where low-speed internet connection is, with audio,
graphics and other features that overcome limitations of other technologies.


Audiographic conference is a combination of two separate delivery systems - audio conferencing

and a personal computer that offers students the ability to view relevant instructional material on

Objectives of Using Audiographic Conferencing for Distance Education:

Audiographics conference is an interactive text transfer mechanism which provides state-of-the-art

software solutions to make use of text, full-color photographic images, compressed digital video
(and sound) and, of course, audio provided by standard telephone voice links. For remote areas,
where people mostly rely on dial up connection to access the internet, audiographic conference
makes the delivery much faster. Moreover, the nature of the interactivity and the human interface,
that is provided by the instructor and contributed by the remote participants, gives the student the
sense of community and encourage them to better perform and engage in the learning process.

Advantages/Features of Audiographic Conferencing Systems:

• Cost. Audiographic conference is much less costly, especially when compared with other
• Near Universality. Telephone signals, the technical basis audiographic conference, are
available virtually everywhere in the world through regular telephone lines or radio. They
are also becoming available on the Internet.
• Affordability. The capital and operating costs of the equipment and networks needed to
support audiographic conference are typically among the lowest of any of the technologies
available on the world.
• Learner Support and Interaction. Audiographic conference promotes the interaction between
students and instructor and among students themselves. Interaction can enhance self-esteem
and support learners who face adverse personal, professional or social learning conditions.
• Socialization. Some learners need the social contact that real-time technologies such as
audiographic conference provide. If they do not want to use the individualized approach of
learning at home or in their office, they can choose these group-based technologies.

• Lack of Body Language. Although a button for raising one’s hand makes turn-taking in the
session, online discussions can still seem less spontaneous as no visual signals are available
to help when more than one person wishes to speak. If students forget to use the hands-up
button, this can result in several users starting to speak simultaneously and then stopping
altogether as soon as they realize this. The result can be awkward silences. The lack of body
language can also make it more difficult for shy people to participate, as one student noted;
another mentioned that someone with problems may be less likely to be identified.
• Complexity. Complexity here isn't drawn because of the system but of having to do too many things
at once (using the mouse, speaking, typing on the keyboard), and some of the tools were seen as
laborious and time-consuming (especially for those students whose typing skills are not very good).
• Limited Capabilities of Graphics. graphics may not be adequate to deliver some content
because their lack of motion.
• Distracters. Extraneous noise and poor quality of sound could have accounted for the failure
of some audiographics applications.

Concerns Related to Audiographic Conferencing:

• Quality of Equipment. Selecting, the highest possible quality of equipment your budget can
afford is important. Straining to hear on inadequate technology impedes learning and
adversely affects group social processes. Consult other owners of the equipment before you
buy. If your existing equipment is inadequate, campaign vigorously to have it replaced.
• Appropriateness. There are a variety of speakerphone and graphics equipment designs to
choose from, for example, a central speakerphone versus individual microphones style of
group audio terminal, or a writing tablet versus a whiteboard style of graphics device.
Carefully consider your needs before purchasing. For example, if your room environment is
noisy, you will not want a sensitive microphone that will transmit the background noise.
• Advance Preparation. As an instructor, you will need time to review the learning and learner
issues and adapt them to the content, learners and technologies in your environment. Be
generous in allowing yourself time to address these issues as you may find it difficult to
"design as you go" during class time. The essential point here is to use the real-time
strengths of the technologies and the learning and teaching principles in to create classrooms
that facilitate collaboration and learning. Ideally, you should use the equipment as often as
necessary before you start teaching" so that it is "transparent" to you; in other words, so that

you can operate it without thinking. You can then help create that transparency for learners
based on your own experience.
• Scheduling. The great strength of audiographic conference is that, unlike audiocassettes,
they allow learners and instructor to talk to one another in real-time. The design implication
arising from this feature is that you should consider your learners' schedule as you plan your
sessions. How often is it practical for them to meet? Is one three-hour session more feasible
than three one-hour sessions? What are the learning design implications of the schedule
choice? Time of day will probably affect the long-distance rates your institution pays, so
learner convenience needs to be balanced against cost.
• Connectability. The different types of audiographic equipment currently in use do not
necessarily "talk to each other," which restricts the ability of classrooms to be linked.
Vendors are aware of this limitation, however, and are working to resolve it.
• Integration of Voice and Visual Elements. The combination of voice, text and graphics can
accommodate a wide variety of learning styles. Integration is key: the visual elements should
support and enhance the voice component, not duplicate or distract, and vice versa. In
audiographic conference, computer keyboard or stylus drawings on some type of screen can
also be used to convey visual information. The biggest limitation of audiographics from this
perspective is its inability to transmit moving visual images.
• Data Transmission. Some types of audiographic equipment, especially those that function on
a single telephone line, can't readily transmit complex graphics in real-time over a voice-
quality, analog telephone line. While preparing and downloading visuals in advance of the
class deals with this problem, it is not always feasible to do so.

Examples and Case Studies:


The simplest form of audiographics set -up involves two people communicating over a telephone
line while viewing a computer screen displaying identical details.


In the late 1980’s and early 1990s before the Web become well established more formal
audiographic set -ups using bridged telephone lines and modem linked computers
(Figure 1) allowed two or more individuals or groups to share the same classroom, that is, create a
‘virtual classroom’. In this kind of set-up the computer screens were directly coupled so that rather
than agreeing to make the same changes, as in the informal set -up, only one person has control of
the all the screens at any one time.

Figure 1. Traditional audiographics set-up using standard bridged telephone connections and
modem linked computers.

Figure2 shows Electronic Classroom ran on Macintosh computers and provided a shared screen
(whiteboard) environment with a number of common menu bar features,. A left side control bar
displayed screen control and additional graphics options (paint tools) plus pointers to remote sites
(greyed out indicated connected and flashing indicated that wanted to take control of the screen).

Figure 2. Electronic Classroom ® screen showing basic menu controls and additional left side tool
bar controls. Remote sites could be connected by a multiple modem card in the main Macintosh
computer. Phones were connected by a standard audio bridge.

Figure 3 provides an example of the moderator screen from a session of Elluminate Live! It has a
top toolbar and four panes: whiteboard with graphics tool sidebar, participant list, text messaging
area, and audio control area.

Case Study1:

The Knowledge Media Institute within the Open University developed a conferencing system,
called Lyceum, for educational use, and is constantly being improved further to take into account
the experience of its users. Lyceum includes a range of tools: audio, concept map (developed for
concept mapping, but also useful for making notes or brainstorming), whiteboard (for writing and
drawing and for importing and manipulating Web images), text chat, and document module (for
writing, discussing and editing longer texts). It has a facility to save concept maps and whiteboards,
and the 2003 version offers the possibility to record audio and save text chat. Learners can use
Lyceum to communicate orally and in writing, and they can share images and text and work on
them collaboratively.
For group or pair work, Lyceum allows users to create additional ‘rooms’ within a
conference, each with full audio-graphic capacity. There is no limit as to the number of
these temporary rooms, which are accessible to all participants in a conference. Students
also have their own personal rooms which they can make accessible to others if they

wish to do so. Between 1999 and 2001 Lyceum was trialed for use in French and German language
tutorials, before being introduced in early 2002 in a mainstream German course at level 2 (post A-
level, or school-leaving certificate), thereby supplementing the more conventional materials of the
course such as course books, CDs and videos.


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