Making videoconferencing available to students who can’t attend class in person can improve attendance and student satisfaction, according to a two-year project that took place at Indiana University. In fact, absenteeism dropped by more than half.
As described in a paper about the experiment, the university used software that allowed students to call in to lectures via a browser, using a web-based videoconferencing platform from Pexip. Students who participated remotely could see dual views of the instructor and classmates, delivered via two cameras facing in opposite directions. Drop-down microphones attached to the ceiling enabled the remote students to hear the instructor and any student speaking in the class. A high-definition screen-sharing feature let them view whatever was being projected in class. And the instructor could see the remote students, who could speak in real time and be heard through classroom speakers. For team work, the remote students could be isolated from those in the classroom to allow them to collaborate, including talking to each other and sharing notes, without disrupting student teams physically present in the classroom doing the same.