AtoZ of TEL: Skype



Cost: Free

Availability: Accessed via a web browser as well as being a desktop app. Skype is also available on mobile devices, Xbox, TV and wearables.

What is it?

Founded in August 2003, Skype is an application that allows you to make video and audio calls across the globe as long as all participants have internet access . Skype can also be used to call landline phones using Voice over IP (VoIP) if an internet connection isn’t available.  Add people to calls simply by entering their Skype username, email address or number.

How does it work?

Skype is an immensely popular way to communicate with others using both voice and video, Google Hangouts launched May 2013 is the only other system to come close to this which was only. It’s initial popularity was with people wanting to make international calls. Skypes use of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology meant users just used their internet connection (and whatever that cost them) rather than the expensive international phone call rates charged by their landline provider.

Uses in Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Skype (and other similar technologies) have become an invaluable tool for education, with as many uses as users the list bellow is just a few of the most common. Systems such as Skype and Google Hangouts work well for small groups (less than 15 participants). For larger group sizes systems organisations are using systems such as Blackboard Collaborate and Adobe Connect. The University of Leeds now has Blackboard Collaborate which can be run both within a VLE module and as a stand alone service.

  • Interview of staff/students who can’t physically get to the university (located abroad, accessibility restrictions, cost and time restrictions)
  • Running small group seminars
  • Group collaboration on projects/research
  • Small webinars and video conferences
  • A way of conducting remote Vivas

Alternatives (not supported by the university)

Other Links and Resources

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