It is no secret that video conferencing has the potential to improve the college experience—whether through updating the admissions process, connecting students to alumni, or allowing professors to hold virtual office hours. Previous BlueJeans blog posts have detailed the numerous benefits video conferencing offers higher education, mostly from the perspective of administrators. But what about the student point of view?
As a current university student, I see how incorporating video conferencing into college life is not only beneficial to my time at school, but also to the time after. Admittedly, no one needs to convince me of the advantages of video conferencing—I grew up using video calls to collaborate with friends. Back in high school, my study group used video chats to cram for calculus tests or go over problem sets. There’s something about working face-to-face and sharing screens in real time that helped those complicated calculus concepts click better. This use of video conferencing can definitely be applied to college. These three ways are only a few examples.
Study Groups Anytime, Anywhere
In most traditional colleges, the majority of students are concentrated within a 15-minute radius from campus. So video conferencing may not seem necessary, right? Well, let me tell you one thing—and I’m sure those with kids in college will understand—you can never underestimate the laziness of college kids.
Let's say I am in a class with someone who lives in an apartment off campus, and with our busy schedules, the only time we can meet to study for our upcoming midterm is late at night. Do you think I’m going to walk all the way over to their apartment or across campus to the library when it’s 12:00 AM and -10°F outside? Absolutely not. While college students often get their best work done in the wee hours of the morning, it can be both uncomfortable and downright dangerous to walk alone throughout the city. Video conferencing solves logistical issues and allows students to collaborate whenever works best, without any physical effort. With a platform like BlueJeans, specific features such as screen sharing and whiteboarding can help students work more efficiently as well.
Recorded Lectures: Perfect for When You Just Can't Make That 8:00 AM Class
I'm not one to skip class a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but there are some days when students simply cannot attend the lecture. And this goes beyond simply "having too much fun the previous night." For example:
- Pressing Midterms and Assignments: While ideally students could plan ahead, sometimes you just need that extra hour of studying for your economics midterm. If students do have to miss class to work on more pressing assignments, recording the lecture means they won't fall behind too much in their other classes.
- Sports and Other Extracurriculars: For student-athletes, it is undeniably tough to balance school work with practices and competitions. Collegiate athletes often have to miss classes for games or tournaments and students involved with Mock Trial, Model UN, and debate teams may have to miss class from time to time for their respective events. With recorded lectures, these students can stay on track.
- In-Person Interviews: When trying to find a job or internship, college students sometimes have to fly out for interviews. These students can keep up with their coursework with recordings.
Recordings aren’t just useful for students that miss class—they are also a great way to review the material for an upcoming assessment. And, when you have professors who talk a mile a minute, it can be super helpful to go over the concepts at your own speed, or turn on real-time transcription capabilities.
Preparation for the Workforce
Video conferencing also can help students prepare for their time after college. For example, more and more organizations are using video meetings in the hiring process. Currently, my university’s career advancement office offers in-person practice interviews, but what about virtual interviews? Or networking and informational interviews with alumni? Colleges should use video conferencing platforms to both conduct practice online interviews and keep students well-connected with alumni. As a result, students can get a sense of what interviews over video are like, learn best practices, and develop an intensive network.
Employing video conferencing platforms on college campuses also gives students an advantage in the workforce as they can practice using the platform and collaborating remotely. As the world becomes more global and interconnected, video conferencing becomes more and more essential in workplace. Chances are good that students will be exposed to and expected to use video meetings in their work after college. While BlueJeans is intuitive and easy to use, any practice with video conferencing interfaces can be invaluable.
There is no doubt that video conferencing has huge potential in the higher education sector—for faculty, staff, and students alike. Implementing a video conference solution can truly improve the students experience at college, for the reasons I’ve outlined here and many more.