Using VoIP (Skype) to Familiarize Students with a Study Abroad Campus

By Richard M. DCamp.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2006 a representative from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan, visited the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh proposing we conduct an experiment, which aimed to offer “peer-to-peer” tutoring sessions to “foreign” students preparing to study at APU in the future. Each tutoring session was designed to target specific scenarios foreign students would first experience in their extended visit to Japan: arrival in a Japanese airport, going through Japanese customs, navigating mass transit and taxis, student life on campus, courses, and so on.

The experiment ran the week of March 26 – 30, 2007, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. We learned many valuable lessons over the week, especially in the planning and configuring stages. In addition to the educational aspects of this experiment, this project allowed our campus to do an analysis of what the impact of our selected VoIP (Skype) made on both our lab’s and the university’s network traffic. Our networking department was maintaining a “wait and see” attitude toward Skype on campus, since universities are targets for becoming servers in peer-to-peer networks because of their open firewalls and apparent high available bandwidth. Following each session, students completed a survey of the project generally, of technology specifically and their attitudes toward learning this way. Additionally, our IT and Networking departments were able to compile enough information to make a report to campus officers about the impact of the use of Skype in teaching. In this paper, I propose to detail both the educational aspects of our study as well as share the technological statistics we gleaned through the course of the experiment.

Keywords: Voice-over-internet Protocol (VoIP), Skype, Study Abroad Programs, Japan, Network Traffic Concerns, Bandwith Concerns

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.79-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.583MB).

Dr. Richard M. DCamp

Director, Foreign Languages Multi-Media Lab, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Richard DCamp is the Director of the Foreign Languages Multi-media Lab and Adjunct Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. His primary research area is in eighteenth-century German culture, specifically how texts and music merge in Art Song and opera. He is interested in experimenting with and applying different types of educational technology to his area of research. Dr. DCamp also trains the UWO foreign language faculty in effective uses of instructional technology. Dr. DCamp is currently president of the university’s Senate of Academic Staff, is a member of several professional organizations, has been a Fulbright Teacher and was honored in 2008 with the university’s Outstanding Service Award.