A little more than a year ago, I wrote a post about the history of, the many uses for, and the potential good that video conferencing and collaboration can produce in the academic environment. Shortly there after, my good friend and colleague, John Drummond, published a post about many of the technology solutions we have available for video conferencing and collaboration at W&M. And so, I saw this as a great opportunity to post an update and follow-up to those two articles in an attempt to plug the use and growing potential of video conferencing and collaboration in the academic environment.
Video Collaboration Is Now Daily Practice at W&M
Since my first post, I have seen, participated in, and administered a vast array of video conferencing events. I would say we have become steadily more busy when it comes to how often and to whom we provide our services in the Classroom Support/Video Conferencing Office, which is just an amazing thing!
Last time I discussed briefly my experience in bringing Dr. Judi Harris to a group across the globe in Doha, Qatar. This, once seen as a one-off experience, has now turned into a daily practice. With the use of standards-based video conferencing equipment, Dr. Michael Kelley of Applied Science, now teaches a regularly scheduled lecture to seven remote locations at the same time. One of these locations is the Virginia Commonwealth University at Qatar campus. So while we meet every Monday and Wednesday at noon to connect with six other locations in Virginia, his willing student across the globe comes to class at 8 p.m., her time, in order to discuss and learn the nature of material coating characterization.
In-Class Discussions Can Happen Across the Globe
Furthermore, what is most fascinating about the use and incorporation of this technology into the classroom setting is that Dr. Kelley has succeeded in creating a collaborative course among his students. While he may lecture for first twenty minutes of the course, students will then be asked to discuss their particular field of study or their professional work that relates to the course, and then are asked questions and engage in discussion with student from other campuses. The opportunities for gaining fresh perspective and sharing ideas are endless.
The most common request that we get, and the easiest way to integrate video conferencing into your course, is bringing in guest speakers without the burden of asking them to travel. With a lot of contemporary research being done by experts whom are still alive, it is amazingly easy to request their presence in your class via common video conferencing platforms. With proper planning and teamwork with our office, we assisted several instructors with this practice. Dr. Eddie Cole from the School of Education regularly brings in consultants of his various learning units for his History of Higher Education course. For example, when his class is covering historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their founding, Dr. Cole has brought in a prominent faculty or staff member who works or has worked at an HBCU, who can detail the culture and learning styles of such an institution.
Our Updated Video Conferencing Software Is Easy to Use
Since my last post on video conferencing, there has been a major update for one of our most used video conferencing technologies. Most people are familiar with the ease of use of Skype. Well, now our stable connecting software SeeVogh has released a downloadable client application that is easy to install.
SeeVogh works much like Skype, with the exception that the person whom you are connecting with does not need an account with SeeVogh. In fact, as a member of the College of William & Mary, you can utilize SeeVogh for free! SeeVogh is great in that it can broadcast the image from your webcam as well as a desktop share image. This feature allows you to share content, much like a PowerPoint presentation, a spreadsheet, or any other type of material you choose.
So if you interested in incorporating video conferencing into your work in anyway at William & Mary, please do not hesitate to come see us at the Classroom Support/Video Conferencing Office!