Distance Education

Today’s technology guarantees that education is no longer restricted to a physical classroom and location. The availability of distance learning now crosses boundaries and borders, and allows collaboration in ways that weren’t possible before the existence of video conferencing. Today, the sky is the limit when it comes to what can be done in the education field with the latest collaborative tools. Here’s a look at how video conferencing is revolutionizing the way that teachers, colleagues, and students connect.

Uniting Classrooms

Offering distance learning to students who can’t attend classes on campus is a great way to provide access to quality education regardless of geographical location. However, classes are frequently mixed these days, allowing both on-site and off-site students to participate in the same session. One of the most challenging aspects of uniting students on-site versus those at a distant satellite classroom is making them feel included and not isolated. Video conferencing is one of many tools that successfully eliminates this problem, making the on-site and off-site students feel included and as if they are both in the same lecture, according to eCampus News. 

Ensuring the ability to interact with the lecturer in real time and having efficient, trustworthy tools to do so is also key. There are video conferencing providers out there today such as Bluejeans that specialize in these types of tools, refining the use of Video Conferencing in Education Sector with Blue Jeans and always providing reliable service. One of the most frustrating aspects of using video conferencing in the classroom is having undependable equipment. By using a reliable provider with a good track record, you’ll be eliminating these problems before they ever start.

Cultural Institutions Thinking Ahead

Colleges and universities aren’t the only institutions that are starting to further utilize video conferencing within the learning process and curriculums. Museums and cultural centers are also beginning to integrate video conferencing as a way to offer distance learning. 

According to Alaskan newspaper Juneau Empire, a new state-of-the-art space for Sealaska Heritage Institute in the city of Juneau includes a learning center that's equipped with video conferencing capabilities intended to be used for distance learning as well as meetings. Offering services that increase accessibility to educational resources like a museum is logical, since the very mission of a cultural institution is to serve the general public. It also allows colleagues to connect across the globe, eliminating the need for travel and fostering new connections between diverse fields of study.

Global Phenomenon

The increasing importance and popularity of distance learning is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. According to Technavio, the market for distance learning in India will grow at a CAGR of 10.15 percent in the next five years. This is due to a shift in learner demographics as well as an increased demand for a high quality education while also taking into account convenience. This is the case for many countries, especially those that are spread out and have educational opportunities concentrated in a few main institutions of higher learning.

Distance learning via video conference basically means that you can obtain a great education regardless of where you live. Whether you’re taking a class as an off-site student across the state or a country, it’s a technology that’s useful for everyone in all walks of life.

The need for flexibility and convenience is a huge driving factor. Even if you can afford to go to college and have a university nearby, if you’re also trying to raise a family or have a full time job, commuting can be all but impossible. This is where distance learning comes in, and how video conferencing is especially valuable. Instead of simply participating in a faceless online course, you can see and interact with the professor and your classmates in real time. This experience is superior in quality, rather than just looking at a screen of text and downloading reading materials.

Instructor Collaborations

While distance learning using video conferencing benefits students, increases accessibility, and offers flexibility in terms of scheduling, it also has an impact on the learning process for educational professionals. Some classes are co-taught with two instructors, and video conferencing allows this type of structure to become collaborative. Additionally, video conferencing facilitates internal communication much more efficiently. Whether there’s a training session for administration or a faculty meeting, being able to conduct these types of sessions from multiple remote locations makes scheduling much easier. Effective and consistent communication and training is more important in the education field than any other industry, due to how fast approaches and techniques change. There are also many moving parts, and touching base with faculty and staff on a regular basis is essential to success.

One of the best parts of video conferencing is its ability to bring together people from far-flung places, whether it be students or staff. Eliminating the need to commute while also maintaining a face to face interaction can only be achieved with this type of technology, and the rewards that are reaped are worth the investment.