Advances in information technology provide exciting opportunities for online education. One particularly important development is the availability of real-time teaching platforms that allow students to participate from anywhere in the world.
Real-time online teaching was for the longest time a major problem. Problems with internet connection would make interaction awkward and unproductive, so that the experience of forging genuine connections between the professor and the students would not be there. We know from decades of higher education research that this human element is essential for success. Students don’t benefit from rote learning of content; the most memorable and impactful experiences have a personal element to them.
- The cloud server separates data transfer by participant, so that one participant’s internet problems do not ruin the experience for others.
- The platform allows instructors to easily switch between presentation and discussion mode.
- The platform is easy to download and use – in fact, I have event taught a class to a Chinese audience on my phone from a coffee shop in India!
To use Zoom, students just download a free app. ViaX has a professional subscription with advanced features, including the customization of meeting rooms and recording.
With the ViaX team, we have created a short video to show how online teaching with Zoom works. Check it out here:
For me, the experience with Zoom was a real eye-opener. Online teaching can be as fun and effective as traditional in-class teaching – but without the high expense and carbon dioxide emissions from flights. I encourage my fellow instructors to give it a try!
About the Author
Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor and Director of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington DC, USA). He is the Founding Director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP). He serves as a senior advisor for ViaX Online Education, a Beijing-based learning and education company.
This blog is financially sponsored by ViaX Online Education. The views presented in this blog are the author’s alone.