Web Conferencing in Education
The application of web conferencing is growing rapidly and creates many new possibilities in the education field. The overall educational and training market for web conferencing is forecast to grow from $678.1 million in 2009 to $1.16 billion in 2014. The $678.1 million figure represents approximately 38% of the overall web conferencing market of $1.7 billion forecast in several other reports (Wainhouse Research). It vastly improves the online learning experience for both teachers and students by recreating the classroom environment online. The ability to communicate using audio, video and chatting in real-time is a leap forward in both online teacher-student and student-student interactions.
Prior to the introduction of web conferencing, online learning was generally confined to self-study using online materials. Communication with instructors and fellow students was mainly limited to emails, online forums and the phone. This impersonal approach made online learning an individual experience and greatly deteriorated the quality of the education attained. Furthermore, this learning structure reduced the teachers' ability to efficiently transmit course material and made it almost impossible to fully track student comprehension and progress.
Web conferencing presents teachers and students with an array of tools which can be utilized to recreate and even improve the physical classroom learning experience:
- Real-time audio and chatting allow all class participants to communicate freely at all times
- Live video puts a face to fellow class participants and improves interaction by giving the experience a more personal feel
- Desktop and document sharing allows teachers to easily present all course material
- Whiteboard and annotation capabilities facilitate teaching functionalities such as exercise solving and emphasizing content by both teacher and student
- Recording of classes enable students to view missed classes and to review study material
Groopex integrates Moodle with the high-quality web conferencing services of Cisco's WebEx and Microsoft's Live Meeting. Moodle is a popular open-source LMS. This integrated platform provides you with a complete online learning environment, which includes live interactive classrooms.