IS&T recently upgraded its enterprise subscription to Cisco's WebEx conferencing service, improving the user experience and reducing costs for the Institute. The MIT WebEx portal has a new, simpler URL — http://mit.webex.com — and the audio-only access number has been changed to 617-324-0000. Through Touchstone, MIT's single sign-on authentication service, users can login with either their certificate or their Kerberos username and password.
What Is WebEx?
WebEx is an online conferencing service that allows people to talk with each other, give presentations and share content and expertise. You can meet and collaborate virtually with colleagues across MIT or in different parts of the country or the world. WebEx can increase productivity with less travel, saving time and offering a greener way to hold meetings. MIT faculty, staff and students can use the WebEx service at no charge.
You can opt for audio-only teleconferences or use the WebEx Meeting Center to integrate live audio, video and other multimedia.
The most basic WebEx option is the audio-only telephone conference. You can set up your own personal conference number through the WebEx portal and reuse that number for future teleconferences.
When you want to host a teleconference, it's easy to set up through the WebEx website. Attendees will receive an email that includes the date and time of the teleconference, along with the WebEx dial-in number and the attendee access code. Attendees only need a telephone to join the conversation; they can use an MITvoip phone, a landline, a mobile phone, or a computer and a headset.
The WebEx Meeting Center lets you conduct secure online meetings, with many options for collaboration. During a meeting, attendees can share files, such as PowerPoint slides, demonstrate software features, edit documents collaboratively, write or draw on a virtual whiteboard, stream and watch videos, or show attendees various websites by clicking on links in their browser.
The host can pass control of the meeting to other participants as needed and record the meeting using the built-in WebEx recording tool. In addition, WebEx provides options for note-taking, chats and polling.
Resources and Support
Cisco offers many useful resources for learning about WebEx, including:
- Short step-by-step videos on its How to use WebEx Meetings page, which also links to a Quick Start Guide in PDF format.
- Longer courses on using WebEx, available through Self-Service Training on the WebEx University site.
- User guides, training and self-service technical support, available by logging into WebEx, selecting the Meeting Center tab, then choosing Support in the left navigation menu. (The self-service tech support is under the Contact Us link.)
If you have questions about using WebEx, you can contact Cisco Technical Support at 1-866-229-3239 or use their online Submit a Support Case page. These support channels are staffed around the clock. For issues that arise during WebEx meetings, use Cisco's built-in chat and phone options for support.