Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

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ValenciaQBowl
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Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:33 pm

I hope y'all will pardon my ignorance, but though I see the many announcements for Skype mirrors of tournaments, I'm not exactly sure how that works. I ask because Valencia is a huge, six-campus institution, and though I've always encouraged players to get to our West Campus for practices, it can be costly and time-consuming for them to do so. I'm interested in Skyping in a couple players.

So my questions are these: first, how do I Skype in people from more than one different location? Second, do folks just yell "buzz" or is there some way to signal electronically? And is Skype the best option, or are there other interactive systems I should consider?

I'm sure this might seem obtuse, but think of me like your grandpa trying to figure out his iPhone. Thanks!
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:45 pm

I do not have much experience with Skype, or knowledge of why quizbowl tends to use Skype for tournaments rather than other remote video chat tools. The Skype revolution has happened since my complete retirement from quizbowl.

However, I will mention that Google Hangouts is another tool you can use for practices. I know on Google, you should be able to create a chatroom, and have anyone with a gmail account be able to join that chatroom.
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by Bensonfan23 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:52 pm

So my questions are these: first, how do I Skype in people from more than one different location? Second, do folks just yell "buzz" or is there some way to signal electronically? And is Skype the best option, or are there other interactive systems I should consider?
I'm fairly certain that all need to run a Skype practice from multiple locations is to have everyone's Skype usernames, and then you just initiate a group call and add people from there. For a Skype tournament, for example, a moderator will typically get these usernames beforehand and then call the two teams in their room. As for buzzing, there's a chat window within the group call that people can type "buzz" into to signal. If your just practicing though, just saying buzz may be preferable.

As for Skype being the best option, from my team's experience with running online practices this past summer, I've found that Google Hangouts is a much more convenient option. All you need to do is to open a call, share the link (which can be done easily in an email or a Facebook message, for example) and anyone with the link can join. No usernames/Skype accounts needed. These went well enough for us, and seem like a practical option for your situation.
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:25 pm

Thanks, Bruce and Ryan!

Indeed, this will be for practice and therefore casual, so just yelling out might work best. But it's good to understand the typing-in to buzz idea, too. I'll give it a try at tomorrow's practice. And if there are other ideas out there, I'm open to them.
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by Susan » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:36 pm

One other thing to think about--you may want to investigate what kind of teleconferencing resources your institution has (beyond Skype), because it may be possible to get A/V help from your institution if you're using the product that your IT department supports. We're a GoToMeeting campus and, despite preferring Skype, I end up using GoToMeeting for anything remotely complicated because I can get our IT staff to help me run it (and because I've found that it can be more challenging than I would have guessed to get Skype working well on the computer/peripheral systems in our conference rooms, but GoToMeeting is set up and ready to go).
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by Charbroil » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:25 pm

One of our players who's off-campus is Skyping into our practices this semester. I just bring a tablet and videocall that person using on it using Skype. Since the tablet has a camera and I prop it up against something, you even have a little bit of the social element of practices since the person can see everyone and everyone can see him. The person buzzes in by yelling buzz, which admittedly might be an issue if you have multiple people Skyping in and yelling at the same time.
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Re: Running a Tournament/Practice Using Skype

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:27 am

Susan, we also have a site license for GoToMeeting, and one advantage I can think of with that platform is its "vote" feature, which one could use to "buzz." But the issue is that I'd have to set my students up in a classroom and get some administrator privilege for them to be able to access GTM, which might be a nuisance. But I think if I were running an actual tournament that would be an ideal platform.
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