Online learning is a growing trend in higher education and one that allows an expansion of ways to connect with learners and to share content and pedagogy. It is for this reason that web and video conferencing are becoming increasingly popular to support teaching and learning at higher education institutions (Reushle & Loch, 2008, Motamedi, 2001). In this post, I will briefly touch upon the platform we use at City as well as look at examples of how web conferencing has really taken off in all the various schools. I will also provide some further ifnromation on how you can find out more.
What is it?
Video conferencing is described as two-way video, audio and sometimes data across long distances. Video conferencing can be delivered to room sized audiences or to a person’s desktop.You may also come across the term ‘webinar’ or ‘online meeting’ which also describes the same thing as above.
At City University London, the platform that we use to conduct these type of sessions is Adobe Connect. This is a Web-based collaboration system that helps to connect participants virtually as well as to support multi-media presentations and collaborations. Students log into a website that has the potential to use video and audio conferencing, chat tools, presentations and other multimedia that is downloaded to the website.
With Adobe Connect, you can meet and collaborate with other people online. All sessions you run within Connect are recordable and instantly available, making Connect useful not just as an event happens, but afterwards as well for any revision or review purposes. Useful tips and ideas on how to conduct engaging webinars have been described here.
More and more, we see video conferencing as an alternative for engaging in conferences, exhibitions and even meetings nowadays. The annual learning technologies exhibition that is attended by stakeholders such as staff in schools, further and higher education and employers such like, now have all of their seminars and keynotes placed online as seen here. In addition, we know that employers are using these technologies to conduct meetings and training sessions. In some cases these platforms have also proved to be useful for conducting interviews for certain posts.
At City University London, we are also not short of examples where this platform is also being used and I have listed some of the examples below:
- The Video in Education special interest group at City used Adobe Connect to host their first public webinar in November 2012. The webinar attracted participants for City and other London Universities. The technology enabled the group to use the webcam to broadcast live, share video clips, take questions via the chat and collect contact details. Click herefor more details.
- A lecturer from the School of Health Sciences explains how he uses Adobe Connect in his teaching.
- At City Law School Claire De Than used it to record Equity Lectures for students who couldn’t attend due to religious reasons last term. Nabil Rafiq also used connect to deliver online Islamic law lectures and revision sessions. Law marketing ran an online open day session for students wanting to apply for the LLB for the first time this year. And revision lectures for students have been created for one of the courses.
- At CASS, a webinar for Cass knowledge which was streamed in 2 other countries was held. Tim Anderson used Connect for the Msc Online info sessions which were then posted on Moodle. The MBA Course used Adobe as a tool to share and collaborate since these students lived in Dubai. This made it much more easy for them to interact with each other.
- In the school of Arts and Social Sciences, Evelyn uses Adobe Connect to conduct webinars. These function as group tutorials and provide – at least to some degree – a near-classroom experience, where content is presented and discussed in a different medium and where immediate social interaction is possible. With students living in different parts of the world and thus in different time zones, recordings of webinars provide an opportunity for those who are unable to participate in live discussions to see and hear their questions and contributions being discussed by peers and the lecturer.
- The student marketing manager is running sessions for each school and aims to mirror the different themes of their conversion campaign. So, the sessions are on accommodation, finance, student life and employability.
How do I access the service?
How do I access the service?
Guidance on using the City Adobe Connect service – can be found here
City Staff can use the service and can also arrange for students to have access for educational purposes. To request an account please use the service now help desk, where a local contact will pick up your request.
Motamedi, V. (2001). A critical look at the use of videoconferencing in United States distance education, Education, 122(2) 386-394.
Reushle, S. & Loch, B. (2008). Conducting a trial of web conferencing software: Why, how, and perceptions from the coalface, Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 9(3), 19-28