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Synchronous e-Learning lets teachers conduct classes over the Internet. The synchronous technologies also allow people to interact with peers and experts.

Virtual Classroom

A virtual classroom duplicates the capabilities found in a real classroom. A virtual classroom provides:Click here to see a sample image of a Virtual Classroom virtual classroom session from WebEx

  • A place to meet: Students and teachers use their computers to go to a virtual meeting place instead of a classroom.
  • Take attendance: A list of students is recorded.
  • Lecture: Teachers can choose from a variety of synchronous technologies including:
  • Interaction with students: Students can indicate when they want to speak by virtually raising their hand. Teachers can let students speak through audio and video conferencing. Teachers and students can use instant messaging and chat.
  • Quizzes: Teachers can present questions to students.
  • Breakout Sessions: Students can work together in groups.

Most companies that sell virtual classroom software provide all of these capabilities in a single package.

Audio and Video Conferencing

Audio conferencing can be implemented in two ways:

  • Computers connected to the Internet. Common names for this kind of implementation are IP Audio Conferencing or Voice-over-IP.
  • Phone conferences. People dial the same number to participate in an audio conference.

Video conferencing can also be implemented in two ways:

  • Computers connected to the Internet. The computers need digital cameras.
  • Special video conferencing devices that connect over the Internet or over phone lines.

Chat

Chat allows several people to communicate with each other. Each participant uses a computer to type their comments. The other participants can see the name of the person and their comments.

Shared Whiteboard

A shared whiteboard lets a group of people communicate by typing comments, drawing, highlighting and pointing. A shared whiteboard is a common feature within virtual classroom software packages.

Application Sharing

You can demonstrate how to use software applications to remote learners with application sharing. A teacher can also let the learner take control of the application to practice performing tasks.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is similar to chat. One person communicates to another through typing. Instant messaging also provides some additional features. With instant messaging, you can keep a list of list of people that you might like to chat with. The list will indicate if they are online, offline, available for chat or busy. These features make instant messaging an excellent tool for learning from peers.