Anna Maria College uses Skype to connect students who are abroad

As a result of communication technology such as Skype, Anna Maria College honors students who are studying in Vienna, Austria are able to join their peers in class discussion in Paxton, Massachusetts. The News Telegram reports that with the use of webcams, Professor James Bidwell can teach learners who reside in different parts of the world.

Through the "virtual classroom" those who are studying abroad can listen to their teacher and participate in class lectures. Students in both countries are able to see each other and interact as freely as they would face-to-face.

Overall, the class is functioning well, Bidwell told the media outlet.

"Skype has become something much more than an easy way to stay in contact with friends or family for us overseas," wrote Lauren A. Kiritsy, who is studying abroad, in an email. "My sophomore core class, 'Seeking Truth, Discovering the Humanities,' depends on it for students to be able to attend class every Monday and Wednesday."

While the class was only a pilot, its success may influence future courses.

The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that web-based enrollments have risen by almost 1 million students from past years. 

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