Camera-based Control for a Distance Education System

S. Huttunen, J. Heikkilä, and O. Silvén (Finland)


Instructional technology, human-computer interfaces,machine vision


Videoconferencing technology offers new possibilities for distance education, as it provides an interactive way to teach remote students. To provide proper interactivity and to ensure the students’ learning, it is important to transmit the correct view from the classroom to the remote sites. Traditionally the teacher has to take care of the source selection and control the equipment located in the class room. From the teacher’s point of view, this means addi tional work and concentrating solely on teaching can be difficult. The goal of the automatic system described in this paper is to reduce the teacher’s workload in a video conferencing situation. The system developed takes care of the video source switching without the teacher’s con trol. The system observes the teacher’s actions using the cameras installed in the classroom. A rule-based video source selection is made on the basis of both the teacher’s location and the document camera usage information. Actual video source switching is carried out by the equipment and auditorium control unit installed in the classroom. The results obtained indicate that the system implemented can clearly provide help for the teacher when using a distance education system.

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