Academic Services

Organising meetings including Online Distance Learning Student Reps

Being able to see people and communicate in real time can be very valuable in order to fully engage with Online Distance Learning students. Different options exist for real-time meetings to be managed.


Collaborate is a supported system designed to support online classes and meetings. Any member of staff or student can set up Collaborate sessions via MyEd, and a wide range of guidance materials is available and accessible online.

Collaborate guidance

Skype for Business

Skype for Business is now part of the Office 365 suite of products, which can be used by all students and staff. Like Collaborate, you just need an online device and a webcam.

Other video chat options

Other similarly ‘technology light’ tools and environments, such as Google Hangouts, are also valued, because they are free and can be used with a lot of flexibility.

Study pods

Study pods with webcams are available in the Main Library, and could be used to support interaction between students on and off campus, using any of the software options mentioned above.

Video conference suites

There are three video conference (VC) suites in centrally bookable rooms, as well as other VC suites in Schools around the University. The VC system is hosted by JANET, which is a UK-wide Higher Education network. You need to register with JANET to use the system. Online tutorials are available, as well as local support.

JANET Videoconferencing guidance – Information Services

 Practical matters related to scheduling meetings with ODL attendance

  • Take account of student time zones and working hours.
  • Allow plenty of notice.
  • Send papers well in advance.
  • Ensure in advance that students can access whichever system is being used.