Content Delivery - Virtual Meetings

Overview | Instructional Use | Tips | Shortcomings | Technology required | Resources

Videoconference is the delivery avenue that resembles face to face interaction the most. Students can see and talk among them and to the instructor in real time. Moreover, most videoconference programs nowadays support additional instructional features such as the ability to:

  • share a whiteboard in which all students can draw and see each other’s’ drawings at the same time
  • display files for all students to see (files like PowerPoint presentations, PDF documents or even movies)
  • share the screen so everybody can see any application or document in one’s computer
  • form breakout rooms so small groups of students can have a deeper interaction
  • create polls on-the-fly to promote interaction
At Indiana University, instructors can request a free account to use Adobe Connect as a videoconference tool for their meetings and classes.

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Syllabus

Increased Social Presence. Providing students the opportunity to see you and hear you as well as to interact visually and verbally among them has the potential to increase social presence, rapport and trust among them. For students who have taken only face-to-face classes in the past, it is difficult to get used to an online class that is entirely text-based because they are accostumed to a more personal interaction. Videoconferences can provide the sense of connection they are already familiar with and that they need.

Expedited feedback. In a videoconference session it is possible to answer questions or address any doubts and issues that students might be having in an immediate way. The communication though text messages takes longer and messages can be misinterpreted or might not address all the potential issues that students might be experiencing. By talking in real time with the students, instructor can provide answers and solve problems in a more expedited manner.

Making use of alternative media channels. Visual and auditory learners might benefit from videoconference as opposed of only having written content.


Virtual Meeting
  • Before relying heavily on the use of videoconference for an online class, it is important to be sure that all students will be able to attend the sessions. If sessions are compulsory, students should know about them before signing for the class because one of the main reasons students sign up for online classes is the flexibility in the schedule.

  • Instead of using weekly videoconferences to deliver one-way lectures (which could have been made available through a recorded video presentation), it is recommended to use videoconferences for a more interactive and engaging purpose, such as addressing students' questions and doubts.

  • Let students know all the technology requirements necessary for videoconference sessions before they sign up for the class (technology such as a webcam, microphone, speakers, and the recommended Internet broadband.)

  • Become familiar with all the tools and features offer by the Videoconference program that you will be using.

  • Always test all the equipment at least fifteen minutes before your videoconference session.

  • Record all of your videoconference sessions and make them available for those who missed them.

  • Even if you are not planning to use videoconferences regularly, consider using one right at the beginning of your class so all students can know each other and get to know you.



Syllabus

Heavily technology dependant. One of the main drawbacks of videoconfences is their high dependency of technology which could stop function properly at any time: the audio of some students might stop working, some others might not be able to talk due to issues with their microphone, etc. To mitigate these issues, it is recommended to test all equipment at least 15 minutes before the session and ask students to do the same. Providing students with a job aid about common issues and a tech support number is also recommended.

Time constraints. One of the main reasons students register for online courses is time flexibility. As students' schedule varies, it might be difficult to find a regular date and time to have videoconference sessions. This issue is exacerbated when some students are in significantly different time zones.

Learning curve. While the basic functionality of videoconference programs can be learned quickly, it might take longer for instructors to take full advantage of the diverse features and tools that these programs offer to facilitate and promote student engament and interaction. It is thus recommended for instructors to take a hands-on workshop in using these tools.



Syllabus

To use videoconference software it is needed:

  • A computer

  • A webcam

  • A headset (the videoconference sofware should be configured to use the headset)

  • Videoconference software such as Skype or Adobe Connect

 


Videoconference equipment


Webinars and Webcasts (by Dr. Bonk)

Virtual Meetings Tips (by K. Boda and R. Hinkle)

EDUCAUSE: 7 things you should know about Virtual Meetings




Resources