This is a guest post from BlueJeans customer Liz Elza. With over three years of experience working with video at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Liz understands how impactful video in the classroom can be for students.
Technology has impacted almost every aspect of life today, and education is no exception. Traditionally, classrooms have been relatively isolated and collaboration has been limited to interaction with other students in the same classroom or building. However, in the world we live today, video conferencing enables new ways of learning, communicating, and working collaboratively.
As a Distance Learning Network Specialist at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, I have scheduled and assisted with up to fifty different class connections in a single day, which simply showcases how prevalent video has become in the classroom. Whether it is a small class with only two different classrooms or a large class with 30+ video connections, learning continues to evolve as new tools become available, and video makes this possible in multiple ways.
Open Doors to New Opportunities
By providing a modern environment, video conferencing creates a new class format that makes education easy. Video conferencing classes blend the convenience of online classes with the interactivity of in-person classes and provide students with the opportunity to attend live classes from anywhere. In this format, students can join their courses from wherever they may be, including at home or the office, so they can fit classes around their busy lives. Particularly for non-traditional students who are juggling education, careers, and families, video conferencing can make the difference in whether they are able to attend class each week.
Collaborate with Students and Instructors
Video conferencing makes it possible to interact and connect with different people from other campuses. Students are given access to the technology and can use it however they need, whether that is for attending group study sessions or working on a class presentation. Video provides the platform students need to be productive—often from the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, video conferencing provides instructors with the opportunity to connect to their students and teach beyond the traditional classroom setting. Office hours play an important role for students, allowing them to meet with their instructor one-on-one to ask questions and get help. However, attending office hours on campus is not always feasible due to scheduling conflicts. Video conferencing offers a solution and provides an opportunity for students to meet their instructors virtually, any time from any place.
Connect with Alumni and Professionals
Inviting experts to visit classrooms provides another level of insight into the topic being studied, but it can be difficult to acquire a guest speaker when they are limited to a certain travel radius. Furthermore, specialists in the field often have busy schedules, making it hard to align their lives with specific class times. However, video conferencing allows for an interactive experience for both professional and students—encouraging experts to enter the classroom from wherever they are and interact with students in real time. When this is the case, students have opportunities to learn from numerous people and not only the instructor.
As the world changes and more people become accustomed to using technology in the workplace, we must prepare students for the real world. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage them to use video in the classroom so they are prepared for our globally connected workforce. By finding ways to use video—for everything from office hours to group presentations—students can increase their chances of success, both in the classroom and after graduation.