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Queen's University
 

Conferencing Tools

What is a conferencing tool?

Just like going to the boardroom for a meeting, online conferencing tools create a space for groups to come together for presentation or discussion by way of the internet. Conferencing tools allow for interaction between people in different locations usually by feeding live audio and visual information between these locations.

Conferencing Tools @ Queen's

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing connects two or more locations using two-way simultaneous audio and visual transmission. This communication allows the people in separate locations to interact with each other. Each location has a video camera and microphone set up allowing for live feed of real time audio and visual information to the other locations. Documents, PowerPoint slides and whiteboards may also be shared between locations during the conference. Videoconferencing allows a unique meeting between people separated by distance. Unlike a simple telephone conversation, videoconferencing allows groups of people to see, hear and interact with other groups.

Who is using:

Elluminate

Elluminate might be best described as an online learning and collaboration program. Below is a list of some of the ways Elluminate can be used:

Plan session in Elluminate preparing audio, visual, and textual content to be usedWhen up and running during class time students log into the Elluminate program as participants. Students can not only see, hear and observe your prepared content but they can also interact with it. For example, a white board allows for the addition of text, lines, images, highlights, etc. Students and facilitators can communicate with each other during sessions either through written chat or audio conversation.

Skype

Skype is a company who provides free online video and audio calls and instant messaging between users. By downloading the Skype program, you can sign in and add contacts. You can call your contacts, connecting to them via live video and audio feed. Skype is particularly useful due to the low costs involved in using the program. No special tools are needed except a webcam and microphone – both which are increasingly built in to computer machines – and a standard internet connection. With these basic requirements, you can see, hear and therefore interact effectively with others.

Why use conferencing tools?

As conferencing tools provide a unique

As conferencing tools provide a unique form of communication, they are particularly useful for facilitating work between groups separated by distance. For example, participants in correspondence courses or programs can consult, communicate and work with each other using conferencing tools. Conferencing tools may also be useful incorporating others into a classroom who might not have the opportunity to otherwise be involved. For example, a health care course might have a rural health professional discuss their patience with the students via teleconferencing or a busy CEO might contribute to a business class via Skype. Overall, conferencing tools allow for collaboration and communication despite distance by bringing people into a technologically-based rather than physically-based conference room.

Strategies for using conferencing tools

Online Office Hours:

Rather than holding office hours physically in your office, make yourself available online. Your students may be in a variety of locations but don't let that stop you from facilitating discussion and supporting their learning

Access Field Experts:

Draw on the experience and knowledge of those working im the field particular to your course and its topics. No matter how far away, experts can participate in classroom teaching through conferencing tools such as Skype.

Interviews/Oral Exams:

Be creative in the ways conferencing tools might be used to expand your examination techniques for correspondence courses or programs. For example, require students to perform an oral presentation to yourself and other student via conferencing tools.

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