Skype is a web-based service that supports video and voice calling, instant messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and more. Most of its features are free; others incur small fees. Skype now supports up to 5-way conference calling (PC users only, though. The Mac version is under development.) This could provide another way for student groups to meet, and/or allow faculty to meet with groups of students at the same time.
How It's Used
Some faculty personalize the online experience by hosting a short Skype meeting with each student at the beginning or in the middle of the semester. Faculty can also use Skype to hold office hours, or to facilitate interviews between your students and experts in the subject matter you're exploring.
A Spanish language instructor used Skype to facilitate real-time language exchanges between her students and students in South America. Read more.
" I use Skype to touch base with each student individually mid-semester. This live conversation, often as a video call, adds another level of faculty/student connection beyond the interactions in the Sakai classroom and through emails. "
-- Phyllis Hecht, Program Director, Museum Studies
Seven Things You Should Know About Skype (Educause PDF)