What is Skype?
Skype is a computer-to-computer communication tool that allows one person on a computer to talk to another person on a computer. Skype is an alternative to traditional videoconferencing and offers several advantages (free, widely-used) but also has several disadvantages (its peer-to-peer network model can occasionally cause audio/video sync issues and disconnects).
We usually recommend traditional videoconferencing over Skype for situations where a group of people need to communicate with another person (or group of people). But Skype may still be an appropriate tool for your needs - please review the information below when making a decision.
Does ITS support Skype?
We may be able to offer assistance in using Skype for courses or provide general advice on troubleshooting Skype issues with College-owned computers.
Skype is available for free and is very easy to install. We think any one of our customers can easily install Skype and there is a great deal of information on the internet explaining how to install and use Skype. We have summarized all the relevant information on our Skype support page - please use it as your primary Skype resource as it will answer most questions about Skype. If you plan to use Skype in the classroom and our support page did not answer all your questions, please contact us and we can schedule an orientation session. Please keep in mind that we need at least 5 business days notice to provide this orientation. You are always welcome to visit our walk-in (LIB202 in the Davis Family Library).
Skype for meetings
Skype is well suited for connecting individuals with each other. The typical scenario of using Skype involves two people, each in a separate location. You can talk with up to ten people, each of which needs to use a computer with Skype.
Skype may also be suitable for meetings where one person in a location needs to join a group of people at another location. The group of people that will be in the same room need a computer with Skype, as well as a webcam and microphone (you can read more about good cameras and microphones here). With a good meeting etiquette, the person on the other end can be an effective participant.
Visit our Skype support page for more information. We can provide an orientation session but cannot dedicate a staff person for every Skype call.
Skype for lectures
Bringing a guest lecturer using Skype
Depending on your needs, Skype may be suitable for bringing guest lecturers. Any classroom at the College may work fine with Skype, though some spaces have better lighting and better layout. You can show the video of the guest lecturer on the classroom's projection screen and the audience will be able to hear the lecturer through the room audio system. Normally, the guest lecturer will not be able to hear all of the audience in the class but that can be easily amended by repeating the question or asking students to walk up to the computer that you are using for Skype.
We can provide an orientation session for using Skype in the classroom but cannot dedicate a staff person for every Skype call.
Being a guest lecturer using Skype
If you have been invited to give a lecture using Skype you can do so using your computer and your office - there is no need to book a special room. A lot of computers are compatible with Skype (they have a built-in camera and built-in mic) - just install Skype if you haven't already done so. Visit our Skype support page for more information. We can provide an orientation session but cannot dedicate a staff person for every Skype call.