Utilising WebRTC for distance learning

Distance learning has increased in popularity in the past decade as the growth of the internet provided opportunities to distance students for their learning materials. However, there is still a hurdle for educational institutions implementing an effective distance learning programme. WebRTC can be the answer to removing barriers for distance learners and gaining access to learning resources.

WebRTC can help increase the educational reach further afield to distance learners by:

  • Providing instant access within browsers
  • No downloads
  • No system requirements
  • Lecture recording (especially built here at Drum)

As well as removing the entry barriers for students, WebRTC and web meeting solutions utilising WebRTC can assist lecturers and course leaders. Independant tutors will also benefit from the technology. Tutors and lecturers will have the capability of presenting to, a wider and larger, community of students. In addition, tutors and lecturers can look to benefit from the following:

Increase attendance

Students would not be required to commute to lectures or restructure working hours to ensure they can attend classes. Lecturers will be able to reach students at a suitable time. Attendance within lectures is likely to increase which in turn will aid the overall grades on the course.

Increase reach to long distant learners

Your course can now become available to distance learners (internet connection reliant) who were previously unable to attend the course on a regular basis. The lecture widget embedded into the educational website provides instant access to the course.

Unrestricted lecture room size

The lecture room no longer needs to limit the number of attendees. A physical room can fit only so many students into each lecture. WebRTC allows a significant number of students (256 here at Drum) to visit each lecture. Classrooms and courses can have significantly larger attendance figures. In addition, this will prevent lecturers from having to repeat a lecture or course; currently larger classes are usually broken down into several lectures with the lecturer repeating the slide process.

Drum has built on the core functionality of WebRTC to provide additional functionality within the online educational environment. WebRTC delivers more to the end user other than other communication solutions. We spoke about this topic recently (-) about the possibilities of WebRTC. The functionality specifically developed for the education sector is:

Live collaboration on documents with students (one on one)

Drum has built functionality on top of WebRTC to provide live collaboration on documents and presentations. These documents are saved and downloadable at the end of the lecture/presentation. This is particularly useful as this facility eliminates the need for the student to take notes.

Recording of lecture

The lecture can be recorded to support slides and document collaboration. This function allows the lecturer to share the session with students who were unable to attend and for students to relive the lecture. Recordings can be used to accompany revision or referring to key points when creating course work.

WebRTC alone will not help university lecturers and tutors. Tools utilising WebRTC will provide the true benefit to educational institutions for both the lecturers and the students.

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