Distance communication technologies are becoming more and more useful in the business sector and the field of higher education. Technologies such as blogs, wikis and Webinars allow groups to interact with each other while being hundreds, if not thousands of miles apart.
Uses of Distance Communication Technology
Distance communication technologies are being used to communicate information to large groups of people over the Internet. For example, a college class may use distance learning technology to conduct a weekly meeting to go over assigned reading, while a group of business associates may choose to conduct meetings with their West Coast office via video conference.
Some Popular Forms of Distance Communication Technologies
Perhaps the most popular form of keeping in touch over the Internet is the software Skype. Skype allows users to create a username and log in to make free voice and video calls over the Internet. Another popular form of online communication is the program Ventrilo, which is designed more for groups of people as a way to meet online.
The ability to share a single screen is helpful for both online classrooms and business associates. Software like YuuGuu allows a single person to share their screen with an entire group, with the ability to hand over control of the screen to any person in the group at any time, making this a helpful service for online conferences.
An advantage of distance communication technology is that it allows participants to meet in a single online location from literally anywhere in the world. A participant often only needs to create a username and password to be able to join an online meeting.
Online learning environments also allow college classrooms to continue despite unforeseen pandemics or outbreaks. According to the Sloan Survey of Online Learning, "the swine flu prompted many schools to develop contingency plans for pandemics on campus. The survey found that two-thirds of schools have formal plans in place to deal with an outbreak. Substituting online courses for face-to-face classes is a component of 67 percent of those plans.”
According to the same Survey of Online Learning, “Despite all the data that show significant growth and interest in online education, there are still some faculty members who balk at teaching on the Web. The study found that the acceptance of online ed by faculty has remained constant since the first survey was published in 2002. Fewer than one-third of chief academic officers--meaning provosts, deans, and the like--believe their faculty accepts the value and legitimacy of online education.”
Emerging Trends in Distance Communication
Due to the increasing globalization of business and learning, distance communication technology seems to be gaining in importance. According to the March 3, 2010, edition of “Campus Technology,” “By virtually every measure, electronic learning is experiencing unprecedented growth and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”