Using video chats to learn, speak to students around the world

The year 2017 marks major anniversaries for Rochester. It is the 200th anniversary of Rochester, Michigan, the 60th anniversary of Oakland University, and the 40th anniversary of the Honors College.

The anniversary celebrations started on Sept. 25, when the Honors College students video linked with high school students at the Rochester Grammar School in Kent, England.

This sort of video link isn’t uncommon for the Honors College. Last year, students had the opportunity to speak with college students in Seoul, South Korea, and this year, students had the opportunity to video link and learn about alternative Chinese Medicines.

“It’s all about sharing traditions,” Dr. Graeme Harper, Dean of the Honors College said.  

This particular link isn’t a one-time only event. It’s something that will happen consistently throughout the next year, and end in what Dr. Harper hopes to be physical visits to and from both Rochesters.

Julia Teatro, a freshman at the Honors College, said that the part she looked forward to the most was taking the other students on a virtual tour of events happening in Rochester, Michigan, and attending virtual tours of events taking place in Kent.

“I’m most excited to take them into a college classroom to see what American college is like,” she said.

This event wasn’t something pre-conceived between the two schools either. Dr. Harper got the idea one day and sent an email to the principal of the Rochester Grammar School, and the rest just unfolded quickly, leading to the video link.

“It was always the point to put students at the front,” he said, “They’re the ones who had all the neat ideas about what to do with this link.”

The Honors College also allows for opportunities for all students on campus to get involved. Dr. Harper said that any student is more than welcome to attend events that are hosted through the Honors College, and current freshmen and sophomores can still join the Honors College program if they have a 3.5 GPA or higher.