Video Conferencing and Mailing Lists

Video Conferencing

Necessary Hardware / Connectivity

  • Internet access (recommended at least 1MB upload/download speed)

  • Webcam (or one built into your computer)

  • Noise canceling microphone (or headphones with a built-in mic for individuals)

A noise cancelling speakerphone is recommended when connecting through a computer as a group for class (as opposed to a Polycom system). We currently recommend this speakerphone, but see the Fab Lab Inventory for the latest recommendation.

Class Location (MCU / MCUC)

All classes and most meetings will take place on the CBA MCU.

  • The address of the MCU is

  • The address of the MCUC is

  • Fab Academy Lectures are held in room 4 "Class" (4@, 4@

  • The PINs are distributed via the Instruct Mailing List.

The CBA maintains a detailed list of compatible video conferencing clients and MCU technical connection details.

Mac and Windows are encouraged to use Cisco Spark Web client.

An up-to-date tutorial on connecting to the MCU using Linphone from an Ubuntu installation can be found here.

NOTE: You may want to connect to 1@ to test your audio and video. "1" is the general Fab Lab channel and there are usually several labs connected that can help you test your audio and video.

Here’s what a MCU is and how it works:

"Simultaneous videoconferencing among three or more remote points is possible by means of a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU). This is a bridge that interconnects calls from several sources (in a similar way to the audio conference call)." - Wikipedia Entry

This means that you can talk directly to all the other participants, including Professor Neil Gershenfeld, and ask questions during our Wednesday lecture sessions.

Video Conferencing Etiquette - IMPORTANT!

Because everyone connected to the MCU can hear each other, it is vital that you mute your microphone when joining a conference and UN-MUTE ONLY WHEN SPEAKING. See video for how to do this.

Failure to mute will cause a disruptive feedback echo that will SERIOUSLY interfere with the audio quality, making class unpleasant.. Neil can see who is the source of the problem and will mute you, so failure to mute is potentially embarrassing. Practice connecting prior to class.

Since last year, we have set the default to mute as you join. This means that you will be required to unmute yourself not only on your local system (usually by clicking a microphone logo) but also on the MCU bridge before anyone can hear you. To do this, use the keypad in your Polycom remote or software application to **input the number 6 followed by an asterisk ().*

Similarly, make sure that your camera is on and that all class participants are visible (if possible). Light the participants from the camera side and eliminate back lighting as much as possible, so everyone connected can see you.

Email Lists

As previously noted with regards to video conferencing, etiquette should also be observed in email conversations. Several email lists exist in order to make communication between the different groups within the Fab Academy structure easier and more organised.


This is an email alias shared by all current Fab Academy students. is for the 2014 class, for 2015, etc.

This is an email alias shared by all current Fab Academy Instructors.

This is the email alias for the Global Evaluation Committee tasked with grading.

This is an email alias onto which all graduates are entered upon completing Fab Academy.

Add Youself

If would like to be added to any of these lists please manage your subscription here. Remember that the instruct list is only for Instructors, Gurus and Staff so while you may add yourself to the list you will not be approved if you are not one of the above. Same applies to global eval etc.

Email List Etiquette

The following email lists are high-volume lists. Students should first discuss their issue with their Local Instructor or Remote Guru if possible.

Custom Email Lists

As an instructor or supernode Guru you may also choose to create your own alias in order to facilitate internal communication between your student’s (remote and local) and even yourself or your staff. i.e.:

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