How are Virtual Classrooms better than traditional classrooms?

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We offer our analytics courses via our virtual classrooms. These classrooms are conducted online. The presenter or presenters log in to the classroom using a secure internet connection. All the students log in from their respective computers using an internet connection. In the virtual classroom, part of the computer screen is reserved for a whiteboard or a presentation etc. which the presenter uses as a teaching aid. Part of the screen is used as a chat window where all participants can communicate with everyone or specific individuals.

Here is a screen shot of one of our sessions.

Our virtual classroom offers video, audio and text interaction for students.

This means students can ask students using a mic or text in their questions using the chat window.

The presenter as well as the students can also use the video option (web cam is required for this) if they wish to do so.

Virtual classrooms have many inherent advantages:

  • Virtual classrooms offer incomparable convenience and flexibility. You can access a virtual classroom from home, office, internet café or any other place which has an internet connection.
  • You don’t even need to waste time traveling to the training center. We bring it you right at your desk.
  • Virtual classrooms help us bring experienced faculty from all over the world to you.
  • You don’t need to fall behind or spend extra time catching up if you miss a class. All sessions in our virtual classrooms are recorded. You can watch and listen to the entire session at any time.

All of these advantages, plus the obvious cost advantage vs. setting up a brick and mortar classroom make virtual classrooms the future of education.

Often times, potential students ask me about the level of interaction in a virtual classroom. Since the teacher is not actually in front of the students, does the level of interaction in the class go down?

The answer is an emphatic “No”. Our Virtual classrooms offer audio, video and text interaction. Students can ask questions verbally or by using the built-in chat functionality. In fact our students prefer text interaction when the lectures are going on. Instead of interrupting the presenter each time, students use the chat window to type in their comments or questions. The teacher then addresses all the comments/questions when he/she takes a pause. This works better than a traditional class-room where the students have to either interrupt the teacher’s train of thought or remember to ask the question when the teacher pauses.

Another big advantage of the virtual classroom is the ability to record the class as it happens, including presenters’ audio and video inputs. Each session is captured in a video and the recordings can be viewed online or downloaded and distributed to the students. The best part is that the recording captures everything that happens in the class including the presenters’ audio and video inputs. These recordings become a great learning tool for the students and are much more effective in communicating what happened in the class than simple class notes or the presentation.

While the virtual classroom is a great learning tool, it has some disadvantages too. One needs a fast internet connection (at least 1 Mbps) to have a smooth experience. Video and screen sharing utilities consume a lot of bandwidth. While we generally avoid using video in the class, screen sharing is essential for some of the sessions. A 1 Mbps connection works well when using screen-sharing.

Another problem with the virtual classroom is that in many cases, a power disruption is likely to interrupt your internet connection too. In such a case you may get logged off from the classroom due to no internet connectivity. One way to avoid this, if you have a laptop, is to use a USB data card or a similar option. The 3G data cards by Airtel, Tata Indicom and Reliance offer speeds of up to 7 Mbps and offer a great experience.

Virtual classrooms leverage the best of technology to make learning an easier and more convenient experience. They also help bring down the costs significantly, while at the same time, provide a vastly superior reach both in terms of students and teachers that can access it.

If you would like to experience our virtual classroom sessions, enrol for an upcoming online counseling session on our website. We would love to get your feedback.

 

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