Videoconferenced masters degree for global learning
8 November 2006
An innovative masters programme run at UCL for BT masters students, is enabling students in London, Suffolk and India to interact in real time, both with each other and their tutors, through video-based learning.
When the course began 15 years ago, just 30 students took it. Academics from UCL, Imperial College London and Kings College London travelled to BT's research laboratory at Adastral Park in Suffolk to teach the programme. Today, around 600 professionals from BT and associate companies are taking the BT MSc in Telecommunications Engineering at UCL, with some 120 employees of Tech Mahindra BT taking it from Mumbai and Pune in India.
The UCL Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering has developed a working system using IP multimedia technology to enable students across the different venues to share vision, audio and graphics in real time. This way, students on the programme can enjoy cooperative discussions and exchanges despite being in different locations thousands of miles apart.
"With video-conferencing, many confusions get sorted out immediately, and it gives the feeling of belonging," said student Seshadri Nagasundaram from India. "It also gives us the opportunity to connect with some of the renowned thinkers of the telecom industry," added fellow student AC Jacob. Armando Tellez-Velasco, studying from London, said: "Most of us are used to audio-conferencing so we don't find it awkward."