All of have spent a minimum of decade of our lives in the classroom which had black or white board followed by marker or chalk along with a duster. We would eagerly note down all the details what our teacher wrote on the board. With the changing times the meaning and condition of classroom has changed.
Now we don’t find blackboards but projectors which are commonly known as E-boards. As things grow we have moved towards a digital tech driven world where the traditional classroom is now replaced with a virtual classroom. A virtual classroom is a classroom without any teacher or maybe without a class of students but just few screens, computers, cameras, microphones and headsets.
A virtual classroom is one where students and teachers from distant place attend a classroom through video conferencing, interact with each other, teacher gives lecture and clears doubt whereas students ask relevant question all through video conferencing.
All of the members attending a virtual classroom are connected through internet using a common platform where they are connected through audio and video. The common platform for video conferencing used to be Skype, a video conferencing software made by Microsoft but with the changing times and the demand for virtual classrooms, people have shifted to other purely virtual classroom based platforms or have developed their own.
Virtual Classrooms have their own set of requirements based on the type of course, the level of interaction and the type of study one is going through. There happens to be many students attending a virtual classroom which requires special modification. All is not possible on a common or known virtual classroom software that is why people are choosing to have their own virtual classroom software.
Virtual Classroom with the changing times:
When the concept of virtual classroom started it started with the basic video conferencing usually powered by Skype or the then prevalent video conferencing application. But with the rising time the concept has evolved and has become much more professional and equipped. With such times old methods of video conferencing have been substituted with the latest virtual classroom applications.
Many businesses have evolved who offer technical VC support to their customers based on requirement. As the times change one has to adopt similar model based on the generic requirements of one’s need. There are several issues that come unique to every virtual classrooms such as:
- Difference in time zones and managing a common classroom for students spread all over the world
- Managing and solving technical glitches faced during VC like that in camera, microphone, background, etc.
- Alert for scheduled or canceled classes, important notification for students and teacher, etc.
- Communication issues between the participating individuals in the classroom and how it can be done much more smoothly without creating a mess
- Issues where video and voice reaches late to the recipient creating trouble in instant communication leading to voice overlap and late replies. Such issues require special attention as they become a major hindrance in communication
- Other special effects that make a virtual classroom much more interactive and interesting bringing the tech advancement to the benefit of the users
The above mentioned issue therefore requires a special and unique solution that cannot be availed using common software programs. That is a valid reason for you to move towards your own Virtual Classroom software.
Different Shades of building your own Virtual Classroom Software:
For everything you do there’s always two sides. The one that is in your favor and the other that is against you. A smart decision is the one which has majority in your favor and minority against you. If you are into the decision of building your own VC software then you need to have a look to both the sides. The pros and the cons.
- Anything that you own gives you full control. If you are using a common system purchasing it for a duration it is obvious that it will come with conditions. When you need to expand your reach you will have to pay more and adhere to several sets of rules. But in a system which you own, you have full control over it.
- Having full control over your system gives you wide range of powers where in order to expand your reach you don’t have to spend much but customize and change your system accordingly.
- Customizing, introducing new updates, tech features and settings which are user friendly becomes much more easily and at your will. You don’t have to contact your host every time to make changes.
- Building a system from scratch is the hardest thing. Given you are new into it and are not sure about what you are going to introduce will whether work or not.
- Not all the time you will succeed. And while building a VC system it might go wrong to an extent where every now and then you will be facing glitches and that will impact your business.
- Building your own VC software is damn costly and customizing it and maintaining it makes it much more costly. When you are adopting a common system it comes with a fixed rate which is non-negotiable and gives you are fair idea about the required investment. But in a self-built system you make predict a probable cost but in maximum cases it is bound to exceed causing you financial difficulties.
- Common VC systems are professionally built and have heavy investment of both finance and resources. In your case it may not be that since your main aim is to provide VC rather than managing the VC software. It is not only money consuming but also time and resource consuming.
Using an existing system:
Using an existing system with some changes can be the best thing in the given options and resources. Instead of fully relying on a common system or fully developing your own system you can choose the in between line of using an old system with the required changes. As usual, it will have its own pros and cons but may prove out to be beneficial for your use.
The first advantage of using an existing system is that you will get your system in a short duration of time instead of waiting for a long time to get a new system. Secondly, an existing system and its modification will be cheaper than getting a new one. It will also save your expense from periodical expenditure of rent or license renewal. Thirdly, you will have all the benefits as that of an owned one.
The disadvantage can be summarized as the trouble you will face during its modification when you will renovate and customize the existing system. It is similar to that of rebuilding your own house by first breaking it and then renovating it. You have to understand the system well to start and since it has not been built by you, you have to take the assistance of the original builder in some cases causing much more inconvenience.
The Pragmatic Approach:
Giving a brief look to all the options you have it is advisable to follow the advice of having a pragmatic approach. The pragmatic approach says that you should proceed with your VC system in three steps.
The First Step: The first step as usual should be based on using the common system of VC communication which is cheap and easier to use though you may not get much freedom and have to work in accordance with the common rules.
The Second Step: As you expand your virtual classroom with many students and faculties along with introduction of modern technology. You can go ahead by owning an existing system that is cheaper and easier to build. As you learn to operate your VC system you can introduce changes into the same and try new options. With the rise in resources, requirement and capital you can finally take the last step.
Third and Final Step: The last as usual should be building your own virtual classroom software from scratches that will require good investment along with resources. Before taking this decision you should always evaluate whether you need it or not. Whether it is feasible for your business or not. If the answers are in positive you can move ahead by designing and building your own VC system by introducing new updates, tech advancement and better facilities to your audience.
Latest technologies that have seen a strong boom among virtual classrooms are the introduction of virtual reality in education system. Using virtual reality system containing that of a headset that covers your eyes and ears giving you a real classroom experience you can take your virtual classroom to new level.
Such changes definitely require a personal owned system that is subject to certain changes accommodating the latest tech updates and modification. A system that offers various facilities and is user friendly is widely accepted by the users. This will not only make your VC effective but will also increase your business returns. Therefore building your own virtual classroom software is necessary in long run given the boom in the field and latest technology updates.