10 Ways to Use Skype in Online Classes

Sep 13th, 2010

Online classes can simulate a traditional college lecture, an interactive class discussion and hands-on training with the help of Skype, a software application that enables users to make video and voice calls online. Skype adds a whole other dimension to the online classroom, by allowing students to talk face-to-face with their professors and classmates for free. To make video calls for classroom discussions, videoconferencing and live lectures, online students will need to have access to a computer, download Skype and have a microphone and webcam. Here are 10 ways to use Skype in online classes and take virtual learning to another level of fun.

  • Videoconferencing
    Videoconferencing for class has never been easier than with Skype. Online classes can use Skype for videoconferencing with fellow classmates, students at different campuses and students from around the world to discuss class and worldly topics and project ideas. Video conferences also provide a forum for live lectures, discussions or demonstrations that online students can easily sit in on.
  • Tutoring
    Sometimes it’s just easier to explain something face-to-face, which is why Skype is perfect for tutoring and clarifying information. Online professors can use Skype to tutor students and explain lessons through video chats.
  • Live Lectures
    Skype brings the online classroom to life with live video lectures that can be viewed from the comfort of your home. Skype allows online students to put a face to their professor’s name and get a taste of a traditional college lecture.
  • Guest Lectures
    With Skype, online classes can interact with guest speakers and experts from around the world. The video chat forum provides an effective and convenient way for guest speakers to visit with classes online and share insightful information that would otherwise be impossible to arrange.
  • Global Projects
    Online students can participate in global projects by collaborating with students from other online classes or international schools. Whether it’s an environmental, business or art project, online students can work together to share ideas and resources via Skype.
  • Student Presentations
    Skype makes it possible for online students to give presentations, such as teaching a mock lesson plan for an education program, or demonstrating how to fix a flat tire in an automotive certificate program. This gives students the chance to show their professors what they’ve learned and demonstrate their hands-on skills. Teachers can critique and grade students on their video presentations, as well as give their own presentations.
  • Classroom Discussions
    Skype makes classroom discussions an interactive experience for all involved. Skype audio conferences
    can host up to 25 people at a time, which is about the size of an average online classroom. Classes with more than 25 students could split up into smaller discussion groups. Online teachers can have Q&A sessions with their students and hold each student accountable for their contribution to the discussion.
  • Announcements
    Online professors can use Skype to make class announcements, such as online class meetings, changes to the exam schedule and opportunities for extra credit. Here, students can ask questions and clarify any information that is not clear online.
  • Oral Examinations
    Professors can conduct oral examinations using Skype. Oral exams test the student’s knowledge by his or her response, articulation and ability to think quickly. Oral exams are a viable alternative to online tests, especially for foreign language and speech classes.
  • Virtual Fieldtrips
    Online students can go on a fieldtrip wherever the camera takes them. Online professors can coordinate a virtual field trip that relates to their class, such as touring a zoo for a zoology class, visiting a law firm for a paralegal class or overseeing a live surgery for a nursing class.

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