Will FaceTime Change Online Education?

How easy and awesome consumer video calling may change traditional online learning.

November 15, 2015

Have you been FaceTiming with friends and family? It’s different, right?

We’ve been FaceTiming with my older daughter in South Korea (gap year), my brother (new baby), and my parents. Where we once made phone calls we now FaceTime.

There is something about FaceTime that makes conversations conversational. FaceTime eliminates most of the weirdness of online video conversations. FaceTime starts with a single click. The video and audio always works. The sound is great, and matches the good video feed.

How will online education change when synchronous online classes improve to the level of casual FaceTime conversations?

As hardware (Moore’s Law), bandwidth, and software improves - will synchronous online learning (in traditional online courses) become the new normal?

Are synchronous online learning platforms like Connect, WebEx, BlueJeans, Hangouts, Zoom, Connect, GoToMeeting, etc. (who am I missing?) improving as quickly as consumer platforms like FaceTime?

Today, most online programs make limited use of synchronous online classes. One indicator of higher cost online education options is greater use of synchronous online classes.

I’m wondering if learners will come to expect greater synchronous online interaction with faculty as consumer video conversations become ubiquitous?

We think nothing of firing up a FaceTime or Google Hangout discussion on our phone, tablet, or laptop.

Will this practice extend to online learning?

Will we have more casual professor to student live conversations?

Will we see more group work amongst geographically distributed students?

Do you think improvements in consumer video conferencing will drive improvements in online teaching and learning?



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