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Video Conferencing: Google Hangouts

Google Hangout is a web-based video chatting service. It is a great option for synchronous class sessions where you present and discuss ideas with your class. It can also be used for student study groups and collaborative projects. You may also consider similar tools like Skype or Zoom.

Use it to make “face to face” class discussions possible in a virtual environment.

Instructor and student social presence is an important element for students to succeed in an online environment. One way to help accomplish this is to have some synchronous sessions, where you “meet” the students virtually to consider complex concepts from the class.

Use it to promote student collaboration.

Students may be able to collaborate more effectively on joint work if they are able to meet virtually for face-to-face discussions at key points in their project.

Use it to make virtual office hours more personal.

Being able to see your students’ faces may help you judge understanding and thus be able to answer questions more effectively in virutal office hours. In addition, you can use screen sharing capabilities to expand functionality of the tool.


Video chatting allows face-to-face interactions. Instructor and student social presence is important for student success in an online environment, and video chat is one mechanism to help promote such interaction.

It can allow small group work. It’s possible to video chat with up to ten people.

It’s adaptible. The tool allows screen sharing, accompanies a suite of apps that can be accessed at the same time (e.g., google docs), and is compatible with iPhone and iPad.

It’s easy to get started. The tool is web-based, so there is no new download needed.


There is a limit to the number of chatters. Only ten people at a time can video chat.

It requires a Google+ account.

There is some lag when accessing other features while in Hangouts.

This guide from Lindsey Wilson College provides detailed instructions on how to use Google Hangouts.

Google provides instructions how how to get started.

Google suggests 31 ways to use Google+ in higher education.

The Educational Technology and Mobile Learning website provides suggestions for five excellent tools to use in Google Hangouts.


  1. Animoto
  2. Audacity
  3. Flickr
  4. iMovie
  5. Lectora
  6. PowerPoint
  7. Prezi
  8. Screencasting: Screencast-o-matic
  9. Screencasting: Debut
  10. Video Conferencing: Google hangouts
  11. Video Conferencing: Skype
  12. YouTube