Distance learning

Using Skype for Business (Lync)

So, you're interested in distance learning?

Blended learning, distance learning, remote learning... Is there a difference?

Koen TimmersHi there! My name is Koen Timmers (). I'm a Belgian educator who has been teaching computer science for 15 years. My school started up a blended learning project more than 7 years a go. Blended learning implies that my students are attending half of the lessons at home (distance learning) and half at school (face to face learning).

We decided to use a web conferencing tool to facilitate synchronous remote teaching. Besides setting up meetings, these tools are absolutely fit to be used to set up online, live classes. Skype for Business (Lync) allows the following features:

  • Seeing and hearing each other by using webcam and microphone
  • Screen sharing - makes your screen kind of an interactive blackboard
  • A list of all participants: which students are attending your class
  • A chat function: an extension of your voice
  • Recording sessions: the answer to students who are ill and want to catch up
  • Etc.

Are you considering to try out or even implement remote learning in your school or classroom? Give me a shout: I'd be happy to be of any kind of assistance.

Quick guides and articles

Want to give it a try? During the past year I wrote several articles and quick guides.

Academical resources

Need to convince your colleagues or school board? There has been done lot's of academical research by several universities. This is wat academics are saying about remote learning via web conferencing tools

  • Anderson and Elloumi (2004) claim that "Educational institutions are moving toward the use of the Internet for delivery, both at campus and at a distance".
    Anderson, Terry and Fathi, Elloumi, 2004. Theory and Practice of Online Learning (Ebook).
  • Thissen et al. (2007) advocate "It’s possible to use web conferencing for teaching, because the built functions closely approach face-to-face teaching. They also believe that web conferencing technologies provide rich enough interaction to maintain a sense of community amongst the team members".
    THISSEN, M. Rita, et al. Communication tools for distributed software development teams. In: Proceedings of the 2007 ACM SIGMIS CPR conference on Computer personnel research: The global information technology workforce. ACM, 2007. p. 28-35.
  • Hambley et al. (2007) discuss that "Although face-to-face communication has been shown to be the richest form of interaction within a team, video conferencing capabilities mimic that ability closely".
    HAMBLEY, Laura A.; O’NEILL, Thomas A.; KLINE, Theresa JB. Virtual team leadership: The effects of leadership style and communication medium on team interaction styles and outcomes. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 2007, 103.1: 1-20.
  • Everett (2007) advocates "Web conferencing is seen as a tool that encourages an interactive and collaborative environment while creating a sense of community".
    EVERETT, Donna R. Web Conferencing as a Corporate Communication Tool. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Association for Business Communication Annual Convention. 2007. p. 1-10.