One U.S. university is loaning out webcams and microphones to its students to help them better communicate with each other.
Ithaca College in New York has implemented a new program that will allow students to rent webcams, microphones and even laptops so that they can participate in web conferences and podcasts with other students and faculty, the college's daily paper reports.
According to the Ithacan, the school's department of information technology is offering three different kits that can each be leased for up to one week at a time.
"I think from an IT standpoint we're always trying to make the technology accessible to our user community, and we thought this was [the] logical next step," Beth Rugg, manager of user support services at Ithaca's Information Technology Services, told the paper. "Provide some loaner equipment so people just didn’t have to purchase the materials themselves."
Professors at the university are excited about the materials and believe that video podcasting and web conferencing could offer them greater flexibility in reaching students and exploring new teaching methods. Helene Larin, associate professor and chair of the physical therapy department at Ithaca College, said she could use the technology to demonstrate therapeutic techniques discussed in class.