My Experience with Google Plus Hangout for Online Classes

Submitted by Yogendra Pal on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 13:36

I might not be the right person to write an article on this topic because currently I am exploring Google plus hangout to teach students online. I am using hangout from past 7 days and taken 6 classes till today.

Before trying Google plus hangout I have a look at some other paid software and services but didn't convince. Some services require very high speed internet connection; in some services students were not able to pick up the voice properly; some was not allowing recording and storing of the class etc.

Then I tried Google plus hangout. The experience was amazing. I was not only able to connect all students without any problem but students seemed fully satisfied with the bandwidth needed to attend the class.

What is Google plus hangout? Google plus hangout is a tool that allows video chatting. We can not only share our live video using web camera but computer screen too. Obviously all people on chat can listen to our audio too.  All participants can chat with each other and use some other tools also. In another post I will discuss the tools that can be used with google plus hangout.

What did I teach? I taught C++ and Drupal using Google hangout. Both subjects have different requirement. While C++ is a mix of concept and process, Drupal is mainly procedural. C++ needs switching between PowerPoint, IDE, Open-Sankore and web camera. Teaching Drupal needs to show browser only.

Requirements: Google video chat plugin, you and your students account on Gmail.

How did I teach?

  • Decided the time of teaching in advance and communicate with the students by email.
  • Logged in to Google plus account at the pre-decided time.
  • Start a hangout or hangout on air, give it a name and invite all students.
  • Students will get notifications after login to their Google account. You can also send the hangout link to students via email.
  • Start teaching after all students joined the class.

My experience: As far as I experienced I will never quit using Google plus hangout to teach online because it has everything that is required to teach.

  • I can take a private session with at most 9 students at a time.
  • I can take public session with unlimited students.
  • Students can ask questions either in chat or an integrated special tool known as Q&A.
  • I can share complete screen or a selected window.
  • The whole session will be taped and saved into my YouTube channel even if hangout breaks in between.
  • I can share the recorded YouTube video with the students or publicly or can keep it private.
  • I can embed the live class into my personal blog or website and share its link to everyone. After completing the class embedded live video will be automatically replaced with the recorded YouTube video.
  • What else a teacher needs?

Limitation and its solution:

  • A maximum number of 9 students can participate in one hangout. Although we can avoid this limitation by using hangout on air feature of Google plus. Using Google plus hangout on air unlimited number of students can watch the video on YouTube channel or Google plus account.
  • Only active participants can participate in text chat. How will they ask questions? Before going live in hangout on air you can start a special integrated tool ‘Q&A’ now everyone can ask question.

I hope you will try Google hangout for next online class. Please let me know about your experience about it in the comments. You can ask questions; share your experience in the comment box below.