Online chats and video meetings take place using tools that can facilitate a connection between two or more people via the Internet. These tools originate in Internet telephony, but today they make it possible to log into a video room and can be used everywhere from a computer, tablet or telephone with an Internet connection.
The tools can therefore be used for online teaching and webinars for large groups, but also for smaller groups, for instance for supervision sessions, meetings and group work.
Online video meetings make it easy to get together no matter where the participants are present physically (as long as they have access to the Internet), and this adds more flexibility for the benefit of both students and teachers.
Online chats and video meetings can be used for online distance teaching if the teacher, a guest lecturer or some students cannot be present. The tools also make it easier to plan a brief meeting in a busy work schedule with little time for physical attendance.
You may use online chats and video meetings in your teaching in many different ways. For instance, browse our list of concrete activities and examples of practice in the right margin of this page, or find inspiration in the following brief examples of more general activities.
Organise online teaching or webinars using video conferencing systems that support both online group work and text-based communication. Online teaching and webinars have the potential to involve and engage students in the teaching situation. This is done by incorporating active elements along the way and supporting an ongoing dialogue between all parties involved. Invite a guest lecturer, for instance, or a representative from an organisation with an issue to discuss into the teaching room via a synchronous video meeting.
Online video meetings enable feedback with an option for the students to ask questions regarding the comments provided by the teacher or fellow students, which is not possible in the same way with written feedback only. Moreover, split screen ensures that both feedback giver and receiver can refer to concrete examples in the assignment, which they can then discuss in detail. For this, tools for online writing collaboration can also be used.
Video meetings solve the challenge of being present in two places at the same time, which may enable group work even if students live in different towns or countries, for instance in connection with internships. If students need to collaborate on preparing written material, their online chats may be supplemented by online writing collaboration.
If you do not know which tools to use for the different activities, or what the differences are between them, you may read more about tools below:
Collaborate is a tool that can be used to facilitate online teaching. The program acts as a virtual classroom in which the students can “put up their hand” by clicking a button and use other similar functions that imitate an ordinary teaching situation. Including a large class (0 to 50 students) in this program is relatively manageable. This functions more or less like most other systems.
Video meetings limit your physical teaching options as you cannot use the entire room but only the space shown by the camera. Consider how you as a teacher appear on screen and use the necessary pedagogical instruments to make up for the lack of physical presence and movement. Consider your body language, for instance, and your facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice.
Test the connections before the video chat or online teaching situation begins.