This guide is aimed at users of the Tute online classroom, and should be read before you start using Tute. There are a number of simple things you can do, as a user, to help get the best out of the Tute service, all of which are explained below.
Choose a suitable environment
- Try to avoid noisy environments
Tute works best if you are sitting in a fairly quiet place. If there is too much background noise, it can cause various problems. Firstly, you may struggle to hear other people. Secondly, if you are speaking during the session, the background noise will be picked up by your microphone and make it more difficult for people to hear you. It will also increase the amount of data that gets sent across the network, as all the noise gets transmitted too, even when you’re not speaking
- Don’t sit in front of a strong light source if others are watching you on video
If you use Tute with a light source such as a window behind you, the camera will struggle to pick up a good picture of you. Other users viewing you will see little more than a silhouette and may not be able to make out your facial expressions.
- Avoid too much background movement if others are watching you on video
The Tute video system only transmits things that change on camera. This means that if there is very little movement in the frame, it transmits very little data. On the other hand, if there is lots of movement in the video frame, then much more data is needed to transmit it.
- Avoiding having things moving behind you
People walking past, curtains blowing in the breeze or a television picture will all increase the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to those watching you and hence will cause problems for users with slower network connections.
Choose good quality equipment and a fast network connection
- Use a good quality headset and microphone
While Tute can work with the built in microphone and speakers on a laptop, you will get much better audio quality if you use a good quality headset and microphone. A microphone positioned near your mouth will pick up much more of your voice and much less of any background noise. Using a headset rather than loudspeakers makes it easier to hear what is being said by others and also reduces the chance of feedback and echo, which may occur if your microphone picks up what is coming out of your speakers. If you don’t use a headset and microphone, you can still obtain reasonable results with a good quality webcam / microphone combination, and PC speakers, but we recommend against using built in or cheap microphones.
- Use a good quality webcam:
If you will be sending video to other Tute users, a good quality webcam can make a real difference to the quality of video they receive. Tute will work with a built-in webcam on a laptop, but a much better picture will be delivered with an external webcam that supports HD, auto-focus and low-light features.
- Ensure your Internet connection is fast enough:
For both viewers and presenters, we recommend a download Internet bandwidth of 1Mb/s per user. For a presenter we also recommend an upload speed of at least 1Mb/s, with 0.5Mb/s being the minimum recommended upload speed for viewers. You can check the Internet speed that you are actually receiving by going to www.speedtest.net and running a test.
If you have problems using Tute, then please contact your IT admin initially and make sure that they have made the necessary configuration changes for Tute, details of which are provided in the Administrators Guide to Preparing for Tute.