Greener virtual classes

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The above video illustrates an excellent example of how a tool such as Elluminate can be used to support peer learning in an online environment.  This virtual class together with the virtual presentation (webinar) described below can help reduce travel costs and therefore help as part of a wider sustainability agenda – vital for all in the current economic climate.  These tools can help universities provide more flexible ways of serving student needs, whilst making considerable savings.

CLIPP department are helping the Aston sustainability agenda by promoting awareness to staff and students of potential carbon emission savings that can be made when running webinars and virtual classrooms.  Aston University has a licence for Elluminate, which enables live (web based) presentations or classrooms via a PC and using a web browser.  A presenter can be sat in front of their PC (and web cam) and “broadcast” to hundreds of delegates simultaneously across the globe.  Delivery of presentation slides, web tours, and interactive activities are all possible with Elluminate.  A typical example of this was run recently by the Business School Alumni department.  The 45 minute webinar hosted by Dr Patrick Tissington was a resounding success with 80 delegates from Aston, UK and internationally.
Kevin Brace has been working with Victoria Johnsen the Environment and Sustainability Officer to calculate the carbon emissions saved in the ‘Effective Global Teams’ webinar.  We calculated that approx 7.5 tonnes of carbon were saved in this international webinar. This equates to approximately 11 flights from New York to London.  (Ref: http://visualization.geblogs.com/)
This illustrates the potential carbon and travel savings for typical delegates and students. We should also include a carbon offset calculation to balance the equation. This is just one typical example of how a tool like Elluminate can be exploited. Others include;

  • Virtual tutorials
  • Careers advice
  • Alumni events
  • Virtual open days
  • Distance learning
  • Training programmes
  • Collaborative project/research meetings
  • Placement visits
  • Flexible student support
  • Validation committees
  • Exam validation meetings
  • Research consultancy

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