Virtual Classroom vs Skype / VoIP only – Round #3

3) Professionalism Using Skype seems to mix business with personal use, hence using a virtual classroom lifts the professional image.

Alright, reason number three to prefer a virtual classroom over Skype. First of all, yes of course you should not mix private chat with business. It’s like having only one phone number at your home and everytime a potential customer calls that number all he/she gets is your deaf grand mother who lives in your house and answers the phone for you while you are sitting in front of your PC in the basement.

In this case the solution would be easy. You call your telecom provider and order a new telephone line with an extra number. And guess what, with Skype or any other VoIP client it is even easier: just open a second, free account for your business or private life. So that’s that.

As I said in a previous post most of your potential clients will already have Skype installed on their computer. Hence I think it makes a far more unprofessional impression when you say that you cannot use Skype for the lesson and you have to go into the virtual classroom.

We also know that still virtual classrooms are not working perfectly. As Christopher Grant explained in our recent review:ed talk this is also due to the weak telecom infrastructure but adding bandwidth intensive virtual classrooms which also need Flash plugins and all that jazz simply higher the “chance” of not working correctly.

Now imagine it is your first lesson with a student who never learned online before. You start the virtual classroom and – nothing. The student cannot connect for whatsoever reason. First impression counts and who can guarantee that it will work the next time.

Of course Skype can have the same problems but again, as people are using it on a regular basis they are familiar with those problems and hence it won’t alienate them immediately. A not working / too complex virtual classroom will for sure.

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  • Gregor Gimmy

    Good points Kirsten. In addition, try the following with Skype:
    * schedule sessions
    * have skype send invitations to your students
    * have skype sent automatic alerts to students reminding them of start times
    * control who is attending, who did not respond to an invitation, etc.
    * set a price
    * have skype control payments
    Web integration is key.

    • KirstenWinkler

      Hey Gregor, I am not even finished with Heike Philp's list :).

      You are right with your points but what you are listing also goes beyond the virtual classroom functionalities as those are features that come into play before or after the actual the actual lesson.

      The twenty reason list is about what teaching environment works best. At least up to point three ;).

      Sure, Sclipo offers a turn key solution like Chris named it on review:ed but I could also have all those functionalities with single applications on the web.

  • Web Content Filtering

    I think this is the new wave of education. Soon, teachers will simply teach all their classes from their home while students can connect online to their classes and learn from their bedrooms.

    • KirstenWinkler

      Quite possible :)