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Video conferencing solutions in education: VC at a tertiary level

Posted by: Schepisi - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

More colleges and universities are making it easier for students to learn and earn their degrees with a little help from video conferencing tools.

Growth of off-campus study, mature age students who mightn’t have the time to get to physical classes, and interstate (or regional) students have forced these tertiary institutions to re-think how they provide materials and communication methods to their varied student body.

Video conferencing in education

Well-known universities using video conferencing

First, we’ll take a quick trip around the globe and find out how some of the most regarded and famous universities all around the world are integrating video conferencing tools to help nurture students.

Take a leaf out of these well-renowned universities:

Australian universities using video conferencing

Now we move a little closer to home. 

These are just some of dozens of universities all around Australia that use video conferencing to enhance communication with their student base:

  • RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Griffiths University, various campuses across south-east Queensland
  • University of Tasmania, various locations across Tasmania and one campus in Sydney
  • Charles Darwin University, eight campuses across the Northern Territory as well as one each in Melbourne and Sydney
  • Federation University Australia, campuses across Ballarat, Gippsland, the Wimmera
  • James Cook University, campuses at Cairns, Townsville, and Singapore
  • Deakin University, main campus Burwood, other campuses in Geelong and Warrnambool

What kind of students benefit from video conferencing?

Off-campus students

Off-campus students rely on technology to receive lecture notes, replay lectures, participate in discussions, and submit assignments.

They are also unleashing the power of video conferencing to communicate with staff or fellow students during group projects and other presentations or discussions.

Mature aged students

All universities understand that many people coming to study are not fresh out of Year 12.

Mature-age students may also have family and other duties, which makes it harder for them to always attend classes or lectures.

Video conferencing allows them to reconnect with peers and staff, while recorded functions ensure they never miss another slideshow.

Regional and interstate students

Regional students are under-represented in Australian universities, while research from the Mitchell Institute has found that location is a direct influencer of educational attainment.

A video conferencing solution integrated into a university’s online portal allows regional and interstate students to immerse themselves in their education. It also provides students educational excellence, just like their inner city peers.


How do students and staff use video conferencing at university?

Catch-ups

Many universities offer their students video conferencing tools free of charge during certain hours, allowing groups to meet up – virtually – to discuss current assignments or presentation.

With such a diverse student body, it’s great to know that no matter who is in your group project, you’ll be able to use video conferencing to communicate in real-time. (And to see their face when you ask them where their part of the presentation is!)

Staff meetings

Many staff members at the larger universities travel between two or more locations to present lectures or hold tutorials. University staff may venture to various schools and faculties within the one campus (or multiple campuses) every week!

It’s hard to know where everyone will be at a certain time. Even for meetings of only a few participants – say three or four staff members – a video conference connects you instantly, no matter which campus you’re at.

Interviews

In the past, we have discussed the importance and usefulness of video conferencing to conduct all sorts of interviews and meetings. This blog post offers helpful advice when organising an international conference (including picking a suitable time, creating an agenda, and brushing up on cultural etiquette).

Another blog post focuses on HR, and how the human resource managers use video conferencing to shorten up the hiring process and expand their reach. Check out the blog post here.

Presentations and examinations

Video conferencing can be used in universities for various examinations or presentations, particularly oral examinations or group presentations with multi-location participants.

Students can join presenters – whether these are fellow classmates or lecturers – on a virtual excursion, regardless of whether they’re connecting from campus, at home, or abroad.

Harvard University uses video conferencing tools

Video conferencing is 21st Century avenue that students can use to collaborate

Falling behind in the digital world is not an option for universities and colleges all around the world.

Regardless of whether an institution is part of Europe’s top 100 or is a smaller college or TAFE, these higher education institutions want to provide the best materials, tools, educators, and facilities in which a student will bloom.

Video conferencing enhances learning by creating dynamic, plentiful means of communication, collaboration, and education.