Video Conferencing and Communications

Video Conferencing

Prep Meetings, Classes, and Recitation will be held in the video conferencing platform Bluejeans.

Blujeans supports meeting recording, text chat, content sharing, and multiple participants. It connects to multiple and enables users to connect to meetings from various devices including Android, IOS devices and web-based.

The specific Bluejeans address for classes will be shared with the Nodes when the course starts.

Simultaneous videoconferencing among many remote users is essential for Fab Academy. This system allows people to talk directly to all the other participants, including Professor Neil Gershenfeld, and ask questions during our Wednesday lecture sessions.

Necessary Hardware / Connectivity

  • Internet access (recommended at least 1MB upload/download speed)
  • Webcam (or one built into your computer)
  • Echo-canceling USB speakerphone

Video Conferencing Etiquette - IMPORTANT!

Because everyone connected can hear each other, it is vital that you are muted when joining a conference. By default, you'll be muted in the platform and so remember to UN-MUTE (ONLY) WHEN SPEAKING.

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.

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.


Every Fab Academy cycle is organized in our Fabcloud and named after the year. This helps us collect all projects in a single place, host the Fab Academy and Fab Lab Network's websites and provide a tool for collaboration and communication between people and labs. We use Gitlab to organize all the content related to Fab Academy in a distributed way.

What we do with Gitlab?

Keep all student files under version control; track groups of students, labs, instructors and staff; publish the Fab Academy website; publish and host lab and student pages; publish documents like this Handbook; track what needs to be done and communicate using Issue trackers; take meeting notes using Markdown; and build sites and documentation using static site generators.

So, every Fab Academy cycle students are added as Member to the following Gitlab Groups: Academany > Fab Academy > Your year of enrollment > Your Lab > Your Lab Instructor Groups So students can both Document and Publish their work, and Communicate with the rest of the group. This communication happens through Issue Trackers.

All of these concepts will be explained to you on the first class’ sessions.

What is an Issue Tracker?

The GitLab Issue Tracker is an advanced and complete tool for tracking the evolution of a new idea or the process of solving a problem. Gitlab Docs

It allows communications between the different groups (students, Instructors, Faculty, Global Evaluators) within the Fab Academy structure easier and more organized.

Students will be able to:

  • Communicate with the class / Replacing emails
  • Track your personal tasks (in your projects)
  • Use them as Kanban boards
  • Assign issues to milestones

Communication's Etiquette

When using the Class Project, every member of the class (students, Instructors, Faculty, Global Evaluators) will receive an email notification each time somebody submits or comments an Issue. For this reason, please be cautious in the way you use this tool:

  • Users should first discuss their questions with their Local Instructor or Remote Guru if possible, before posting an Issue
  • Users should first check if the question/problem/comment was raised before in the Issues List
  • Close issues when the question/problem/comment is answered/solved/received. Remember to add SOLVED to the title. It will help other finding solutions