Hangout with AHTR


How to Hangout with AHTR

AHTR Hangouts are open discussions about pedagogical issues in art history that are conducted through Google+ Hangouts.  We’ve listed some information below to help participants use this on-line platform.


General Information

While Google+ Hangouts are pretty easy to use, getting starting can be a little tricky. The nomenclature is not always clear, and Google provides multiple portals to introduce Google+ and to provide assistance with its different features.  Here are a few links that (I find) are most comprehensive and easy to navigate:

Google+ Help Center (drop down menus provide help with specific features)

Google+ Features Overview (icons link to your choice of video or text-based resource)

Google+ Universities (explains how functions can/have been used in academic contexts)

The best way to learn is to give it a try and work out the kinks while you’re hanging out with a friend.  With a little practice, you’ll have the basics down and can find different ways to use Hangouts to connect virtually with others.


Getting Started

Before you begin, confirm that your computer systems requirements will support Google+ Hangouts.  You should have a webcam and be in a well-lit space (warning:  too much backlighting can create a silhouette effect).  There’s also a Google+ Hangout app if you prefer to use a mobile device–I really like hanging out on my iPad if I’m just talking, but much prefer my computer if I’m using the screen share or other interactive functions.  If you’re in a place with lot of background noise, try to use a headset or earbuds with a microphone during the hangout to eliminate distractions and to make it easier for other participants to hear you.

To participate in a AHTR Hangout, you’ll first need to join Google+.   You can join AHTR’s Google+ Community and follow the AHTR Hangouts page for updated information and to receive invites to future events.  Although you can use Hangouts with anyone through Gmail, full functionality is only available through Google+.    You will also need to add individuals, pages, and communities (like AHTR) that you intend to hangout with to your Circles.


Problems and Solutions

Most common are problems with Internet and wifi connectivity, which can cause participants to “freeze up” or be lost from the call altogether.  Other issues include excessive background noise and participants’ lack of familiarity with certain features and settings.  Some possible solutions include

  • check your Internet connection before the hangout
  • adjust your broadband width to strengthen your connection
  • use a headset/microphone to reduce ambient noise
  • improve video quality by sitting in a well lit room
  • be sure that you and the Hangout host are in each other’s Circles


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