Real time communication afforded by synchronous online learning can provide many advantages in enhancing interaction and engagement. But, there are the challenges of finding times at which all of the students can meet. These are further complicated when students reside on multiple continents crossing many time zones. Many of the Web conference software programs provide for recording sessions to be viewed at a later time by those seeking to review or who could not make the original session.
However, we find that faculty members often times will weave a number of synchronous sessions into the semester. Particularly popular are sessions held prior to midterm and final exams. Also popular are "virtual office hours" in which faculty members make themselves available for one-on-one or small group meetings via such technologies as the linked Elluminate V-room.