Before starting this post, I’d like to wish you an innovative 2011!
ICTs offer exciting ways to bring the outside world into your classroom. Today, I will briefly discuss the opportunities of video conferencing. Our Educational Technology team has worked with various lecturers in the use of this technology, but many more could benefit from it.
Countless courses include at least one or two guest lectures. The added value of inviting guests from outside of the UvA is that they are specialised in fields of study that may be underrepresented at the University of Amsterdam or they are among the core contributors of the field. This can increase the insight of students as well as act as a source of inspiration.
Until recently, the main limitation to inviting guests was that they needed to be living somewhat near the University or visiting the country. The costs of flying in a guest speaker generally do not outweigh the benefits of having them over to lecture students. By using video conferencing you can circumvent these costs and still benefit from live interaction with a specialist. A few weeks ago, for example, one of our lecturers used Skype to host a lecture by sociologist Loïc Wacquant.
Students do not only learn from interaction with lecturers, but also from interaction with other students. Video conferencing offers a chance to connect to students around the world. It allows students to find out more about the scientific approach abroad and improves intercultural understanding.
At the Educational Technology team we have enabled courses to be broadcast around the globe by capturing them on video and providing them online. We have also helped students in Amsterdam to collaborate with students in Delhi on poster presentations. In the near future, this can evolve into full interaction using tools such as Skype or other video conferencing technology.
If you are interested in inviting colleagues around the globe to teach your class or to set up global projects, we would be glad to assist you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.