This allows groups of people at two or more locations to interact live via two-way video and audio transmission. Desktop videoconferencing can be done with a low-tech webcam for little or no cost. High-end conferencing facilities provide better quality sound and video. Some systems allow conferees to share computer screens as well as live video and audio.
The OIT has an excellent video conferencing facility in the IT Center, and there is no charge to use it. The OIT also supports WebEx, one of several commercial services in this genre.
Skype is a free conferencing tool that educators frequently use for videoconferencing. It is widely used and not hard to set up – even with video. Lots of parents use it to communicate with college students, especially when they are studying abroad.
Here are a few ways you can use videoconferencing with a class:
- Guest speaker – interview an expert alumna or invite a poet to talk to the class – or ask multiple colleagues in different places to participate in a discussion with your class.
- Field trip – ask a docent in a museum or an archaeologist at a dig to show your students what they are doing and seeing.
- Language practice – line up volunteers from another country for conversation.
- Performance – show a student presentation, skit, or speech to an expert evaluator.