Beam Me to the Faculty Senate

Videoconferencing proves useful on campuses

The days of face-to-face faculty meetings might soon come to an end. Colleges with several campuses are embracing videoconferencing systems for a range of faculty and staff meetings, to save money and fuel by reducing trips. And more academic meetings now offer the option of attending virtually, using video streams.


With improving technology and dropping costs, videoconferencing will be a key technology for encouraging more teamwork in the classroom and in research, says Robert Ubell, vice president of enterprise learning at NYU's Polytechnic Institute. That, in turn, is crucial to prepare students for today's global workplace. He makes that case in a new book that he edited, Virtual Teamwork (John Wiley & Sons), due out this spring.

He stresses that there's no need to wait for the holograms: Off-the-shelf software and laptops with cameras are all professors need to start trying new kinds of collaborations. "Virtual teaming is not an exotic enterprise," he said.

So fire up that Webcam and visit a colleague's office across the country.