Used to support the assessed components webinars to support electronic and distance components of the Masters in Advanced Practice. Invites are sent to participants in advance. Webinars are used for Q&A sessions, tutorial support and students use it for action learning sets. Students also use it to make presentations to each other and with Catherine. Students could present outside of usual business hours and present to Catherine with everyone not needing to travel. Presentations were done from wherever was convenient using Powerpoints from the students own computers and Catherine fed back through instant messages.
There is an option to record each webinar and these could then be posted to Blackboard.
It’s by no means perfect, but Catherine has found it works for her needs. The download is free, but does need reasonably good computing and conection speed. For Catherines students the benefits are enormous. As many of her students work full time in the health sector, they need the flexibility to join a discussion outside of office hours and she says that discssions often take place at 6:30 on weekday evenings or on Saturday mornings. By uploading the recoridngs to Blackboard, students and staff save time and money and can access the recordings in their own time
Before and after webinars are run to allow students to prepare and feed back on sessions. Having run a course once in the past using Lync, the students feedback has been mainly positive, citing that webinars help to reduce some of the isolation felt by distance learners. Students have said that they “find it easier to stay on top of study demands as something is always happening every week by way of webinar. Before this there could be 3 or 4 weeks between any face to face contact”
In summary, Catherine says that the software is not difficult to use. Being able to share screen and have multiple users is really useful. At the moment there are no “Super users” of Lync in the university, but IT and INSTIL support the use of Lync, so if you have any questions or wish to use Lync do ask your INSTIL rep