Audio/Video conferencing

Enabling people in different locations to communicate with each other via the Internet - using microphones and cameras. A bit like using the phone and being able to see the other person as well.

Benefits for Me

1. You could arrange to deliver certain lectures remotely.

e.g. Dr Smith wants to undertake a research study into the cross-cultural needs of Biology students. So he develops different cohorts from across the globe. He lectures once a week and this lecture is beamed to the different cohorts in the different countries around the world. Dr Smith is then able to use video conferencing to teach students she would otherwise be unable to reach and also to undertake associated research.

2. You can record a demonstration so that all students see the same procedure.
e.g. Mr Chan has to give the same demonstration about how to calibrate scales to half a dozen groups of students each term. Mr Chan wants to automate this routine task so that all students are taught to the same standard whilst he can spend time researching his specialist topic and publish more papers. He uses a web cam to record the demonstration and then places this on the web for students to view.

3. You can provide audio and video study materials without having to check them in/out.

e.g. Dr Pickering - wants to help his students to appreciate Old English poetry as read by the original authors. Luckily he has copies of some original recordings and has obtained copyright clearance to place some samples online. So he does this in the hope that students will improve their understanding of these literary works and so improve their grades and hence his kudos in the department.

Benefits for Students

1. Collaboration with students at other institutions
e.g. Tipu is working on his essay about Peru and wants to know how the country's history is affecting people living there today. He contacts his tutor who helps him to set up a video conference with a native and asks relevant questions. Tipu is able to literally see what it is like to live in Peru. In exchange, Tipu is able to tell his new friend José about life in London.

2. Developing oral communication skills
e.g. Katerina has some good ideas about her subject (psychology) but has difficulty expressing these ideas during seminars because she is a bit shy. Her tutor creates a support group for students on the course who want some extra practice. The group use audio conferencing to engage in anonymous dialogue with each other. Through this practice she now feels able to express herself and next time she goes to a seminar her tutor and fellow classmates are astonished by how articulate she has become.

3. Face2Face Support from tutors
e.g. Mike wants some advice from Dr Wilde, his tutor. He's getting frustrated with pure text emails and feels he needs to talk to his supervisor in person. However, Mike is currently back at home in Wales with his parents. So he arranges a conference with Dr Wilde to express himself fully.

What is involved?

1. Decide what you want to achieve from the conference*;
2. Set up a conference*;
3. Make sure the activity is fun and productive*;
4. Evaluate the success of the activity*.

* Contact the E-Learning Environments team if you would like guidance

* Media Resources provide the college with video-conferencing and video production facilities. There are charges for this service.

Issues to consider

  • Is there a real benefit to what I propose to do?

    • Who will benefit?
    • How will they benefit?
  • Do I have the resources to achieve my objectives?

Staff Concerns

Will students stop coming to my lectures?
How do I create a webpage/website?
Will I be replaced by web pages?

Further Reading
ELICIT online tutorial to using videoconferencing
LTDI videoconferencing case studies
Video Technology Advisory Service (VTAS)
The Learning Networks: Communication Skills (LNCS)