Video Conferencing for Schools and Universities

It’s hard to think of many better environments to use video collaboration tools than in a college setting.  Not only for remote learning, but also for campus-dwellers themselves.

Given the proliferation of computers on campuses, it may be more efficient for study groups to meet remotely because of the ease with which they can share notes, collaborate on group assignments, or even be able to pull up and display documentation to support a debate.  Or, if everyone has a laptop, do the same thing, just in person.

There is also the ability of teachers to make better use of visiting hours or eliminate them all together.  Teachers and advisers can now meet whenever it is actually convenient to all parties.  Small group sessions can now be held from across campus, or include members who have traveled for sports or family.

Family.  When all the collaboration tools are put away, the students now have a fantastic way to see their mothers’ smiling faces.  Actually, we know it’s the mothers who want to see their children; how better to fuss over how the kids don’t look like they’re eating well enough!  🙂

Bringing video collaboration to campuses is especially important now when the economy is taking its toll at colleges across the nation.  Here’s a story from just yesterday about how two universities are struggling, and video is mentioned as one of the tools to help them pull through.

Now to take a look at how the competition looks at campuses:  I recently read one of our pseudo-competitors, Vidyo, is rolling out a college campus version of its product.

Vidyo interconnects with some legacy systems nicely, but they require some hardware installations beyond just a camera, and they don’t offer much by way of collaboration tools.  (So much for that group study session.)  However, this campus offering has a starting price of $50,000 for a campus of 5000 students.  That’s $10 a year per student!  That’s pretty inexpensive!

They, like us, offer good quality video despite bandwidth or other limitations.  They, like us, offer multiparty conferencing.

But we don’t require any additional infrastructure beyond what’s already built in to most laptops.  And, of course, unless a school needs a private directory and some management tools (which they very well might!), the students can otherwise individually acquire VSee for free.  I’m just saying.

Like the story of the WiFi schoolbus that was in the news a few days ago, technology is making it easier to use video collaboration tools in education for nearly any age of student.  Hopefully we have made the tools easy and accessible enough for students to find and utilize them.

You might also be interested to read our article here: VSee – Free Alternative to Vidyo Telepresence Business Video Conference – Comparison

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