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A video portal to Duke University is being developed in the Student Union and will provide one more way for students from both campuses to collaborate.

UNC student Christopher Batchelder and Duke student Zac Elder came up with the idea, and the universities are splitting the cost of the equipment.

Batchelder and Elder will unveil the portal on Friday (Feb. 8) and students will be able to immediately start using it after the presentation. UNC’s portal will be located on a wall near Alpine Bagel in the Union. Duke’s portal will be on the first floor of the Bryan Center.

With a portal at each university, students can stand in front of a vertical 50-inch high-definition monitor and communicate with the help of a webcam, microphone, speakers and a computer running a video communication service. A backlit booth will house the portal.

The project creators received support from two faculty advisors: Buck Goldstein, UNC’s university entrepreneur in residence and professor of the practice in the Department of Economics, and Daniel Anderson, who is a professor in the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature. Anderson is also director of the Studio for Instructional Technology and English Studies.

Batchelder and Elder envision the portal being used not only by students seeking a peek into life at the other campus, but by small classes, professors sharing information and others.

“There should be plenty of room for several people to use the portal,” Batchelder says. “We hope that use will grow organically as people learn about it.”

 Published February 6, 2013. Updated Februrary 8, 2013.