Videoconferencing provides students with the opportunity to learn by participating in a 2-way communication platform. Furthermore, teachers and lecturers from all over the world can be brought to classes in remote or otherwise isolated places. Students from diverse communities and backgrounds can come together to learn about one another. Students are able to explore, communicate, analyze and share information and ideas with one another. Through videoconferencing students can visit another part of the world to speak with others, visit a zoo, a museum and so on, to learn. These “virtual field trips” (see history of virtual learning environments) can bring opportunities to children, especially those in geographically isolated locations, or the economically disadvantaged. Small schools can use this technology to pool resources and teach courses (such as foreign languages) which could not otherwise be offered.
Here are a few examples of how videoconferencing can benefit people around campus:
• faculty member keeps in touch with class while away for a week at a conference
• guest lecturer brought into a class from another institution
• researcher collaborates with colleagues at other institutions on a regular basis without loss of time due to travel
• faculty member participates in a thesis defense at another institution
• administrators on tight schedules collaborate on a budget preparation from different parts of campus
• faculty committee auditions a scholarship candidate
• researcher answers questions about a grant proposal from an agency or review committee
• student interviews with an employer in another city
Teleseminars are used to provide information, training, or promote or sell products to group of people interested in a particular topic. They are similar to traditional seminars, in content and purpose, but they are given over a teleconference or bridgeline rather than at a specific location.
It is an emerging way to communicate, provide teletraining, and conduct business without the cost of travel. The host of the teleseminar will schedule a specific time and date in advance to communicate with his/her audience. The audience can vary in size from a few callers to 1,000 participants depending on the capacity of the bridgeline used and the popularity of the topic being discussed.
These conference calls are typically recorded. There is typically a fixed period of time devoted to the presentation of information followed by another fixed period of time for questions and answers.
Teleseminars provide an opportunity for a host to provide information to a large number of people at one time. It allows a trainer to train many participants at once, one on many rather than one on one. It also eliminates the need for travel, expensive preparation and presentation material costs. These factors make teleseminars a very cost effective delivery method.
Teleseminars can be free or have a cost associated with participation for the students. The cost will vary depending on the content being discussed and the organization hosting the call. Despite the participation fee, the advantage for students is this medium does not require the hassle and expense of traveling to a live seminar. Participants can join the teleconference from home or anywhere that there is a telephone connection.
After paying the fee, participants will receive a phone number and pass code for the call. If there is no charge for the teleseminar, the phone number and pass code may be distributed via email or may be available on the company’s website.
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