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October 19, 2012

Making and establishing connections should be a priority for online instructors. It is our job to take the distance out of distance learning. There are many Web 2.0 tools that will allow us to do that. One such tool is Skype. Skype allows the user to connect through internet using video and audio with other Skype users. I have used Skype to stay connected to family when I have been in China. I find it amazing that I was able to see and talk to my kids when I was half way around the world. Skype is a great example of how Web 2.0 technology is helping to enhance our lives.

On the instructional side, I could see using Skype to talk with a small group of students or even to connect with a student one on one in an online class. When we talk about building a connection for online students, Skype is a tool that can definitely allow us to do this. It is always nice to be able to see who you are talking too and this face to face via the internet is just as effective as if the student was with you in the office. In fact, Skype would be great for holding office hours.

Skype also allows you to keep up professionally with others who share the same passion for online teaching. It could be used to connect a professional group or connect two teachers who across country in order to share ideas and research. Just as I connected and keep up family  while in China, I could easily work with a teacher at an American school in China if I wanted through Skype. Skype is truely a connective tool that instructors should look to utilize in their courses.


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  1. Robert, I have personally used Skype and find it amazing as well. I like the fact that Skype can easily be downloaded to a Windows or Mac operating system allowing anyone with a computer and a web cam to connect. I have a friend, who is also a fellow teacher, who used Skype last year to connect her classroom to a classroom overseas. I know that her son still stays in contact with a friend that he made from this classroom project and they still Skype to this day! It’s amazing how Skype has enabled users to break down the physical barriers that restrict them from experiencing learning in environments outside of our own. It’s a priceless technology in this electronic age.

  2. It’s great that you were able to Skype with your family when you were in China. To think that just 13 years ago I was in Spain and the only way I could contact my family in Pennsylvania was by making an expensive long distance phone call! It’s amazing how far technology has come. I really like your idea of using Skype for online office hours. It would make things more personable. While online learning has its advantages, it is nice to communicate face to face every now and then.

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