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Online chats and video meetings

Brief description

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.

Motivation

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.

Activities

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.

Online teaching and webinars

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.

Oral online feedback

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.

Online group work

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.

Interview situations

If the students need to access expert knowledge in a course or to conduct interviews, online meetings add flexibility that makes it easier to make appointments with experts or interviewees.

Online supervision

As a teacher you may use video meetings to supervise your students, possibly combining this with collective supervision.

Digital tools

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.

Adobe Connect is a web conferencing program. It includes many options for registering and collecting data about participants. The program is well suited for very large online meetings with 20 or more participants.

Skype*  

Skype is a tool for online telephony. It is best used between two computers, but more can be logged on. The tool has a split screen option, enabling live display of your screen.

Google Hangouts is a video call tool which can connect up to ten people at the same time. The program is free of charge and easy to use. Users can share a screenshot of their desktop, which is ideal for showing concrete examples or reviewing slides.

Zoom is a video conference system that can be used to connect many participants and divide them into groups. It is easy to use and it is possible to share your screen, chat and upload files to the system.

What’s App is an Internet-dependent software application developed for smartphones. In addition to the texting facility, the application can also be used for group chats and for sending photos and video and audio messages between users.

Flipgrid allows you to create forums for various topics where the students can upload short videos responding to the topic or other students' videos. In this way Flipgrid can provide a versatile form of preparation for lectures, presentations or assignments.

Worth considering

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.

  • Good advice for better online meetings:
  • Cable Internet is highly recommended! (You may need to move closer to your router).
  • Check the connection well in advance, and press “mute” on the channel.
  • It may be an advantage to use earplugs.
  • Check if all microphone settings are working.
  • You may turn off the microphone when you are not speaking.

The content in this page was developed by Pernille Risør Elving, research assistant at Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media.