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TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW AND ONLINE HELP




TO RECEIVE ONLINE HELP


On July 20 we had online help available via WebChat.




The following information was provided to assist remote participants with using the different technologies that were available.




HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART I: OVERVIEW



As you juggle the various technologies you may be using to access the Mars Virtual Teacher Training Conference, here are some ideas. Your best bet is to practice before the conference to see if these work in your situation, and to possibly discover some even better ways to juggle.

We assume you have already installed a World Wide Web browser, RealAudio client, CU-SeeMe client, etc. If not, visit http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/technology.html for links to the clients you can download for the conference.


For Web Users:

1) Be sure you have already familiarized yourself well with the Web site at . Click around and get a feel for what is where, and notice new additions.

2) On the day of the conference, as a Web user you will probably spend most of your time launching from http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html to the presentationgraphics, RealAudio, and/or the two WebChat Rooms (called Mars_Discussion and Mars_Transcript).

3) If at any time you get lost, there is a Mars Conference navigation bar at the bottom of each Mars Conference Web page.

4) NOTE: There will be someone online all day July 20 for user help. That person can be contacted by going to the WebChat Discussion Room and asking for ONLINE HELP. **From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. online help in that room will include a technical guru to help with particularly difficult problems.

The technologies for the Virtual Conference are:

  • Email
  • WebChat
  • RealAudio
  • Web Site Graphics
  • CU-SeeMe
  • MBONE
  • NASA TV


HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART II: EMAIL

To ask a question that you would like answered during the Q & A periods, simply send your question to: mars-question@mail.arc.nasa.gov

Someone at the conference will receive your question and be prepared to ask it at the physical conference in Washington, DC. Just as at the physical conference, time constraints may mean that not all questions are asked. However, remote questions will be given the same consideration as on-site questions.

To get an update of what is happening at the conference, join: mars-update@quest.arc.nasa.gov

To join the list, send email to listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov and in the body of the message type only these words: subscribe mars-update

Suggested Uses:

If other technologies are not available to you, the updates will provide a means for you to know what is happening at the workshop. These updates will be sent every 15 minutes by teachers attending the conference in DC who will summarize the proceedings.

Basic Trouble-shooting:

The subscription process is immediate. Within 30 minutes you should receive a confirmation. On the day of the conference you should receive an update every 15 minutes.

If you are having trouble subscribing, try turning off your signature message, check for spelling errors and proper capitalization.


HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART III: WEBCHAT


To get transcription via WebChat, point your browser to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html and enter the Mars_Transcript Room.

To join the discussion WebChat, point your browser to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html and enter the Mars_Discussion Room.

Suggested Uses:

WebChat can be used in conjunction with RealAudio and Web site graphic updates. To use RealAudio, the Web site graphics, and WebChat all at once, under the FILE menu at the top of your screen, select the NEW BROWSER option. Point one of the windows to the Virtual Conference Pre-conference Chats and Test page at , and click on "K12-server LIVE" to begin RealAudio transmission. Once you have RealAudio up, direct that same browser window to the graphics area of the Virtual Conference Web Site (using the same URL). Then click through the other browser window until it is in the WebChat area (again using the same URL).

The transcription of the proceedings can be used as the only way to receive the conference information or it can be used in combination with RealAudio and Cu-SeeMe. The transcription will happen in the Mars_Transcript room of the WebChat, and the Mars_Discussion room will be available for discussion among virtual participants, to post the questions you want asked at the Q & A in Washington, DC, and to get online help.

The Web discussion will be active during the entire day from 9:00 to 5:00 Eastern. If you have a question for the speakers please make sure that the WebChat monitor is aware of your request, by addressing it with these words in all capitals: ATTENTION WEBCHAT MONITOR. If you need online help please type ONLINE HELP at the beginning of your request.

Mars_Transcript will be used for those who wish to receive a live written transcript of the proceedings as they are happening. You will be barred from posting in that room in order to avoid interruption of the transcription. But don't worry if you make a mistake and post there. Your message will simply be ignored by the transcriber and will not show up on anyone's screen.

Basic Trouble-shooting:

Make sure you're in the room you mean to be in! Change rooms by using the pull down menu (in most browsers) at the bottom of the WebChat page for the room you're in.

If you are not getting the transcription or chat discussion updates, remember to hit your button to refresh your screen.

When sending a comment to the discussion WebChat, you are likely to be interrupted if your browser has a place to set a refresh rate. If you have set a refresh rate, be sure to hit the PAUSE button at the top of your text entry window before you begin typing your comment. When you are ready to send your message, hit the CHAT button. Your message will be sent, and the automatic refreshing will continue.


HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART IV: REALAUDIO

To get the live audio feed, point your browser to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html and click on "K12- server LIVE"

Suggested Uses:

This application can be used with the Web site and WebChat discussion to listen to the conference via the ongoing audio signal from NASA TV. RealAudio produces and AM radio quality audio signal. You may be able to simultaneously join the WebChat discussion and view the presentation graphics.

To use RealAudio, the Web site graphics, and WebChat all at once, under the FILE menu at the top of your screen, select the NEW BROWSER option. Point one of the windows to the Virtual Conference Pre-conference Chats and Test page at , and click on "K12-server LIVE" to begin RealAudio transmission. Once you have RealAudio up, direct that same browser window to the Virtual Conference Home Page and click through until that window is on the graphics area. Then click through the other browser window until it is in the WebChat area.

Note to host sites: In order to preserve the availability of audio streams for other remote participants, please try to amplify the audio signal from one or two machines to all of your participants (rather than using one stream for each participant at a host site).

Basic Trouble-shooting:

Should you loose the RealAudio signal click on the player and try hitting the play button at the top left-hand corner of the player.

To adjust the volume, use the bar on the right of the RealAudio Player window. To stop receiving audio and disconnect from the audio server, use the STOP button at the top left of the window; to stop listening and remain connected to the server, use the PAUSE button; and to play again after either of those actions, use the PLAY button.

If you are not getting a good connection, try closing down and opening RealAudio again. If it is still not good, try the backup RealAudio server from the Virtual Workshop Activities page. If you receive an error message you don't understand, go to the Mars_Discussion Room in the WebChat area and ask for ONLINE HELP.


HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART V: WEB SITE GRAPHICS

To view the presentation graphics, point your web browser to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html

Suggested Uses:

The Web site gives you periodic pictorial updates from the auditorium and the graphics that the presenters are using in their talks. As you read the WebChat transcription or listen to the RealAudio signal you will be able to view the graphics under discussion and see pictures of the auditorium.

You might begin by opening a window for the graphics and loading the first presentation. Now is a good time to open another window in your Web browser for the *second* presentation, and load in those graphics. Then, when the second presentation begins, you won't be scrambling to catch up because your browswer took a long time to load. In order to keep ahead of yourself in this way through the whole day, try loading the graphics for the next presentation in a new window some time before the current one ends, or while Q & A is happening. If you try this twice and your machine freezes each time, abandon the idea!

There is a picture at the top of each set of presentation graphics that will be updated every minute or so. This is a shot of whatever is happening in the NASA Headquarters auditorium at the time, and will be still shots fed from NASA TV. You may need to scroll a little to begin the presentation graphics.

In some cases, you may find the thumbnail pictures there enough for you to enjoy the presentation. In others, you may want to click to the larger image. To accomodate different browsers, the images are in jpeg and gif formats. If you're not sure which is best for you, try jpeg first.

REMINDER: You'll need to be paying attention in order know which graphic the presenter is speaking about. The only cue you'll have is the presenter him- or herself asking for the next slide. (You'll be receiving the speaker's words via RealAudio, CU-SeeMe, or the Web site transcription.)

You can go to the next set of graphics from a link at the top of each presenter's page that says "Graphics for next presentation." The "Continue" link at the bottom of each presenter's page will lead you to more slides by the same presenter, the next presenter's slides, or back to the agenda, as appropriate. You can also join the conference graphics presentations at any time by locating the AGENDA section on the Web site and selecting the appropriate time slot.

Photos Taken by Teachers

There will also be pictures taken by teachers at the conference with hand-held digital cameras. To look at these, you'll launch again from the LIVE CONFERENCE AREA Virtual Workshop Activities page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf/activity.html

Basic Trouble-shooting:

Remember that the cue to go to the next graphic will be verbally spoken by the presenter at the auditorium podium.

If you are not getting updated pictures from the auditorium, remember to hit the REFRESH or RELOAD button at the top of your browser screen.

If you are having difficulty that you cannot seem to resolve yourself, go to the the Mars_Discussion Room in the WebChat area and ask for ONLINE HELP.


HINTS FOR NAVIGATING THE CONFERENCE

PART VI: CU-SEEME, MBONE, AND NASA TV

The following technologies will be used to further propagate the NASA TV signal being generated in the NASA Headquarters Auditorium, which is the physical location of the conference. This signal will consist of the speaker(s) on stage, associated graphics, and an occasional view of the auditorium audience.


CU-SEEME

Open your CU-SeeMe software, and connect to one of the following reflector sites, then click on the conference in your Participant List window.

Primary Reflectors:

  • Washington DC Reflector: 56Kbps (text enhanced) reflector.lfm.hq.nasa.gov
  • California (Ames) Reflector: T1 (No text) cu-ames.arc.nasa.gov
  • Houston Reflector: Below 56Kbps (text enhanced) - 198.64.198.250 or 128.42.249.172

Back-up Reflectors:
Ohio (Lewis) Reflector: T1 (No text) - 139.88.27.43
Alabama (MSFC) Reflector: (No text) - 128.158.1.154
Houston (Johnson) Reflector: (No text) - 139.169.165.25

Suggested Uses:

Cu-SeeMe will send the NASA TV signal to participants. This technology can be used in combination with WebChat Discussions and Email to interact with the auditorium. Text-enhanced sites are most appropriate for individuals with low bandwidth.

Note to Host Sites: You may want to project the Cu-SeeMe signal to your participants, rather than having each participant receive it at a separate computer, to preserve reflector space for other remote participants.

Note to High Speed Users: As your connection will provide both video and audio, we encourage you to use a non-text enhanced reflector. This will preserve the text reflector space for remote particictions.

No to Low Speed Users: Since you will probably choose to receive only video through CU-SeeMe, choose a reflector site that is text- enhanced.

Basic Trouble-shooting:

You will not be able to open a CU-SeeMe session from your Web browser; you'll have to open it separately directly from the CU-SeeMe client software.

If you are having trouble getting the audio connection, you of the 'text-enhanced' reflectors or receive the audio by opening up a RealAudio connection from the Web Site. (See instructions above.)


MBONE

Run SDR and look for:
NASA Teacher Development Conference

Suggested Uses:

MBONE will send the NASA TV signal to participants. This technology can be used in combination with WebChat Discussions and Email to interact with the auditorium.

Basic Trouble-shooting:

Make sure you have all of the appropriate protocol drivers properly installed.


NASA TV

To get the signal, tune your satellite dish to: Spacenet 2, transponder 5 (channel 9) at 69 degrees west longitude. (Frequency 3880 MHz. Polarization is horizontal and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz.)

Suggested Uses:
technology can be used in combination with WebChat Discussions and Email to interact with the auditorium.

Basic Trouble-shooting:

Make sure satellite dish is tuned to the proper location.




ACCESSING THE TECHNOLOGIES

NASA TV Signal:
Description: The entire day will be broadcast via NASA TV. Downlink dishes can be pointed to the transponder space listed below or you may contact your local cable company to determine if NASA TV is part of any regular programming in your area.

  • Connectivity Required: TV Channel
  • Tune to: Spacenet II, transponder 5 (Channel 9) at 69 degrees west longitude. (Frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz.)
  • Client: You guessed it, a TV!

MBONE:
Description: The NASA TV signal will be broadcast via MBONE. Users with T1 access and a Unix platform can configure their site to receive this near TV-quality signal.

  • Connectivity Required: T1 or higher
  • At SDR: NASA Teacher Development Conference
  • Client: MBONE Software available for Unix machines

Cu-SeeMe:
Description: The NASA TV signal will also be made available via Cu-SeeMe. Users with the appropriate client software can receive this live audio and video signal. The quality of this signal is dependent on the amount of bandwidth available to the end user site.
  • Connectivity Required: T1 desirable, 14.4Kbps required
  • Tune to: IP Addresses ->
    • NASA HQ: reflector.lfm.hq.nasa.gov (text enhanced)
    • Houston: 198.64.198.250 or 128.42.249.172 (text enhanced)
    • Ames Research Center: cu-ames.arc.nasa.gov
  • Client: Cu-SeeMe software available on most platforms

Web Site:
Description: WebChat and RealAudio will be accessible from this location. (We have listed Netscape as a potential client, any WWW browser will do.)

  • Connectivity Required: 9.6Kbps modem or higher
  • Tune to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf
  • Client: Netscape software available on most platforms

WebChat:
Description: Two WebChat windows will be available. One for discussion among the remote participants. The other to provide a live, text-based version of the DC proceedings. During the allotted question and answer period, remote participants will be encouraged to ask questions to be verbally presented to the presenters.

  • Connectivity Required: 9.6Kbps modem or higher
  • Tune to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf
  • Client: No Additional Client Software Needed - Accessed from Web Site

RealAudio:
Description: A live audio feed will be made available to remote participants. After downloading the appropriate free client software participants will be able to hear the conference proceedings.

  • Connectivity Required: 14.4Kbps modem or higher
  • Tune to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/marsconf
  • Client: RealAudio player for most platforms

Email (to Receive Updates):
Description: Every fifteen minutes one of the onsite teacher participants will send a synopsis of the proceedings to a mail list established for the conference.

  • Connectivity Required: Any modem speed
  • Subscribe to: mars-update@quest.arc.nasa.gov
  • (To subscribe send an email to: listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov, in message body type: subscribe mars-update)
  • Client: Your favorite email account

Email (to Send Questions):
Description: During the allotted Q&A some questions received via email will be verbally presented to the on stage speakers.

  • Connectivity Required: Any modem speed
  • Send to: mars-question@mail.arc.nasa.gov
  • Client: Your favorite email account



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This NASA K-12 Internet Initiative Web page was last updated on August 6, 1996.

 
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