"I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it." - Groucho Marx
Julian Prior and Marie Salter at the University of Bath recently reported on their pilot of Web conferencing software at their university. With funding from HE STEM grants, and a need to connect teams in partner colleges and organizations, they decided to test the Web conferencing waters. Here's how they got their colleagues to wet their feet:
- Interviews. Almost by accident (literally!), they discovered that candidates can be interviewed without the expense and bother of having to bring them to campus, order a room, and fill it with committee members. A candidate at Bath was hospitalized and could not attend her interview, but with this technology "she was able to respond to questions, complete the interview task planned, and demonstrate skills - just as she would have been able to do in a face-to-face situation."
- Regional Conferences. They tested this with a group of lecturers and technologists who wanted to discuss lecture capture as a strategy. What better way to demonstrate than with a remote technology that allows for capturing and reviewing the proceedings?
- Virtual Open Day. The Clinical Psychology department held a program that was so popular that there was insufficient space and resources for the students who wanted to attend. The solution: take the program online and allow everyone to participate.
- Regional Meetings. Naturally, the far-flung HE-STEM network was quick to discover the ease and convenience of meeting online rather than traveling to meetings.
- Case Study Presentations. The Chemistry department used the technology to present case studies.
- Project Proposals. The Health Department - no stranger to distance education - used the technology to allow students in distant countries to present project proposals to on-campus mentors.
- Postgraduate seminars. A series of seminars was delivered to Masters students in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Syria, and the UK by means of Web conferencing.
- Professional Development. The Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology made use of the virtual learning environment to deliver continuing professional development training.
If you're feeling lonely on your campus because you haven't found other instructors or practitioners who've taken the leap of faith required to become a virtual instructor, consider trying some of these scenarios with your colleagues. Many of our most ardent supporters and users were first introduced to CCC Confer by means of an invitation to an online event like one of these. They became curious, and later found out for themselves that Web conferencing provides a solution to challenges in their own circumstances. Share it with someone you know.