Online, On-Ground, or Hybrid? Online Conferencing Offers Multiple Benefits

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Have you heard about online conferencing tools — such as Adobe Connect, BigBlueButton, Google Drive and Hangouts, and Skype — but aren’t sure if they’re worth incorporating for your class? As two articles make clear, whether your students are online, in the classroom, or both, online conferencing can offer a variety of benefits.

A recent article, “Why I Love Conferencing Online with My Traditional Classroom Students”, details some of the reasons to consider using online conferencing for classroom-based, on-ground students. Pushed to try online conferencing when she left town for an emergency, the writer soon discovered online conferencing offered a variety of unexpected benefits. These benefits include higher levels of student engagement and increased time management and flexibility. The article also details some challenges to be prepared for, such as technical issues — though any faced have not stopped the instructor from planning to incorporate online conferencing for future semesters.

And, of course, the benefits of online conferencing are not limited to on-ground classes — as the article “Interactive Web Conferencing Brings Big Benefits to the Online Classroom” outlines, these benefits can also be realized if your course is hybrid or online. These benefits include increased accessibility, participation, and interaction. The instructor also found that online conferences also promoted active learning. The article provides a number of helpful “tips for success” on getting started, managing, and troubleshooting online conferences.

And in fact, though the two articles present experiences with online conferencing from different perspectives (one on-ground and the other online/hybrid), the benefits they detail are not limited to one or the other. Whether you decide to purchase an Adobe Connect license, register for a Google or Skype account, or use the Sakai- or Canvas-based conferencing tool, BigBlueButton, online conferencing can offer multiple benefits to you and your students.

For information on how Warrington faculty are using online conferencing tools — and suggestions for how you might, too — you can also view the slides and video from a recent Friday Forum on this topic.