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Video Conferencing: Skype

Skype is an IP telephone service that allows video chatting between those who have the program, or internet phone calls between Skype subscribers for free, or to non-subscribers for a small fee.

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, allows you to send text messages to phones from Skype, allows you to send files to a groups, and is compatible with iPhone and iPad.


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

It’s not always free. You must pay a fee for alls to non-subscriber, and must pay to uprade Skype to do group video chatting or group screen sharing.

Skype provides details on getting started for PC users and for Mac users.

Annie Condron at offers “Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom.”

Skype users who have developed discipline-specific lessons share them at this site. Many of the lessons are for pre-college classes, but they may be worth exploring for ideas.


  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