Higher Education: Using Video for Guest Lectures, Speakers, and Collaboration

While the corporate world is reaping the benefits of audio visual aids, videoconferencing, and cloud collaboration, the trend has touched higher education institutions as well. Classrooms have expanded beyond four walls, thanks to audio visual solutions. Teaching is more collaborative, and learning has become easier and more interactive, due to the ability to bring in guest lecturers from different parts of the world without having to stretch the budget. Ad-hoc meeting and Web RTC are powerful tools for adding guest speakers and other professors to the classroom. Providing multiple voices, increased engagement, and new learning opportunities for students, video is a boon for the future of education.

Ad-hoc Meeting is Making Learning Easy

What is Ad-hoc meeting? It is the ability to start a meeting whenever required, and the facility to talk without any prior preparation or scheduling. Ad-hoc meetings allow you to start a conference call, share your desktop with participants, share power point slides, hold group conversations, and send and receive files, all with just the click of a button. One example is Microsoft’s Lync, which has ad-hoc meeting software that can be used effectively to create a meeting environment immediately.

Video Conferencing the Right Way

In a higher education set up, two kinds of video conferencing environments can be used. First, point-to-point, where two locations are connected. Lectures can be given from one location, while students can receive them in another. Multi-point is the second, where three or more locations can be linked via a cloud based platform supported by adequate apps. In both cases, AV equipment can be used, or the students may bring their iPad or Smartphones to receive the lectures in true BYOD fashion. Factors like bandwidth, delivery method, video compression, and the standards of video conferencing should be kept in mind so that technical issues can be avoided or easily resolved.

Video conferencing works best in small groups, and is extremely beneficial for making the best use of time and budget. Thinking that video conferencing is a substitute for printed material is a mistake, however. It is a supportive tool that increases engagement and encourages students and lecturers to participate in the learning process, without boundaries.

Web RTC in Higher Education

Web Real Time Communication, or Web RTC, is an open platform which can be used free of cost by collaborators. It supports browser-to-browser applications for video conferencing requirements through either browsers or mobile applications. These platforms enable real time communication capabilities with the help of API (Application Programming Interface). The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) drafted its usage, and it has been aiding video collaborations ever since. Web RTC is especially useful for students participating in distance learning programs. It is supported by browsers such as Google, Mozilla, and Opera, and mobile platforms such as Android and iOS.

When it comes to higher education, Web RTC can a useful and budget friendly tool. The growth and popularity of online education and the benefits of the virtual environment have increased the demand for applications that will work. Web RTC addresses issues of installation and set-up cost, as well as licensing requirements. Face-to-face communication becomes possible in a convenient and cost effective way. At present, Google’s Hangout, TokBox, and Vidyo are at the helm, supporting Web RTC platforms that aid higher education through video conferencing.

Do you think video is truly revolutionizing education? Share your experience with us.

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