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					What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                  Page 1 of 8



What is Skype?
Skype allows users to make computer-to-computer
voice and video calls for free. Additional features
include: instant messaging, voice mail, ability to
send/receive large files and the paid option to call any
land-line or cell phone in the world.

Benefits of Skype
       Free computer-to-computer voice and video calls.
       A great way to make affordable international calls to any phone.
       Easy to setup and easy to use.
       Great way to communicate one-on-one or with a small group.

Limits of Skype
       Audio conference calls are limited to 25 people.
       No way to video call more than one person. Video conferencing isn't available.
       The university doesn’t support Skype so ITS won’t be able to help in most situations.
       All parties must download and install the Skype software.
       Some educational institutions have banned Skype due to bandwidth and security concerns.
       Only a few features that support distance teaching/learning.

Ideas for using Skype
       Invite a guest speaker from anywhere in the world to talk to your students via Skype.
       Connect with a class from another university or country - has the potential to help students understand
        cultural differences or practice foreign languages.
       Conduct and record remote interviews.
       Remote collaboration with colleagues, classmates and friends.
       Lecture to your class remotely in crisis situations.
       Hold virtual office hours.

Example of NCCU faculty using Skype
Raquel Strauss, assistant professor/bilingual supervisor in Communications Disorders, facilitated an international
presentation to over 140 parents and physicians to a college in Mexico using Skype. To view a video of Ms. Strauss
explaining the project and the process, visit http://blip.tv/file/3709459.

Alternatives to Skype
Elluminate
       Typically, Skype is used as an inexpensive way to call long distance or to video call someone else that uses
        Skype. That is great if you want to talk to one person or a small group. But, what if you want to give a
        PowerPoint presentation or poll your class? Elluminate has more features that support distance learning.
        Plus, NCCU supports Elluminate and there is no download or software installation required. See the Skype
        vs Elluminate chart to see how they compare.

Google Chat
       For a quick one-on-one audio or video call, Google Chat makes it really easy. Although, Google Chat doesn’t
        offer the quality or features of Skype or Elluminate.




        The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                                       Page 2 of 8


Contents
What you need:......................................................................................................... 2
Placing a test call ..................................................................................................... 3
Basic Features ........................................................................................................... 4
         Finding contacts ............................................................................................ 4
         Making calls..................................................................................................... 5
         Conference calls ............................................................................................ 5
         Share your screen ......................................................................................... 6
More help .................................................................................................................... 7




Getting Started
What you need:
        1.      Skype software. Download Skype at http://www.skype.com.
                To install Skype on a NCCU computer, contact the Helpdesk at
                helpdesk@nccu.edu.




        2.      A way to speak and listen. Usually, a headset with a built-in
                microphone works well, as does a stand-alone microphone along
                with your computer speakers.
                The Center uses the Logitech Clear Chat Pro USB headset.




        3.      A webcam is required if you plan on doing video calls.
                The Center uses the Logitech Pro 9000 webcam.




Connect the devices
Plug your headset or microphone and webcam (if you have one) into the computer. If ITS is installing Skype for you,
ask them to help you connect your microphone and webcam. They may be able to help you troubleshoot if any
problems arise.

Create an account
Once Skype is installed, you’ll need to Sign in or Create an Account.




                The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                  Page 3 of 8


Placing a test call
Let’s make a practice call to test your sound.
      Right-click on Echo/Sound Test Service under Contacts. Select “Call” and release. This will call Skype’s
        automated testing service.




       You should hear audio that says: “Welcome to the Skype……” You’ll then have a chance to record audio.
        When prompted, start recording a brief message. Don’t hang-up. After 20 seconds, it will play your message
        back. If you hear your voice message, then everything worked as planned. If not, you’ll need to check your
        settings. Go to the “Call” menu and select “Audio Settings.”




       Double-check the “Microphone” and “Speakers”
        settings.




        The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                  Page 4 of 8


Basic Features
Finding contacts
Once someone is listed as a contact you’ll be able to interact with that person more easily.

       To find other people on Skype, click on “Directory.” Then enter a real name, Skype name or email address to
        find someone.




                                                             Then, click “Send” to send an email to that person to
Once you find the person, highlight their name and click
                                                             confirm you as a friend. Once they do, they are added as
on “Add contact.”
                                                             a contact.




        The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                     Page 5 of 8

Making calls
You can either make a standard audio call (similar to a phone call) or a video call. A video call means the person
you’re calling will be able to see you and you’ll be able to see them (if they too have a webcam).

        Right-click on the contact’s name and choose either “Call” or “Video Call.” Or, highlight the contact’s name
         and click on either “Call” or “Video Call.”




        To hang-up, click on the red button.

NOTE: If there isn’t a Video call button, you probably don’t have a webcam installed. You need a webcam to make Skype
video calls. If you do have a webcam, make sure Skype is recognizing it by clicking on the “Tools” menu and select
“Options.” Click on “Video settings.” You should see a preview of your webcam.

Conference calls
You can have up to 25 people on an audio-only conference call. NOTE: Screen sharing and video calls do NOT work in
a conference call.

        To talk to multiple people at once, make sure they are all added as contacts.
        Go to the “Contacts” menu and choose “Create new group…”
        Then, drag everyone you want on the call from your contacts to the space (see below).




        Once everyone is added, click on “Call Group” to start the audio call with the group.

If you’ll be calling this group again, it’s a good idea to save them in your contacts as a Group. To do this, click on the
“Save group in contacts” button on the upper-right part of the window.




         The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                  Page 6 of 8

Share your screen
When you are on a call with someone and you want to show them your computer screen, you can. It’s called screen
sharing and it supported in Skype. This is useful if you want to show a PowerPoint presentation or any other file you
have on your computer. See the example below.




       Start an audio or video call.
       Click on the small upside-down arrow in the lower-right corner of the Skype window.




       Highlight “Share your screen”. You can choose to share your entire screen or just a window.
            o Select “Share full screen” to share your entire screen. This works well for PowerPoint presentations
                or images.
            o Select “Share selection” to share only a portion of your screen. You will then need to decide what
                portion of your screen to share. To do this, move around the black box that pops up. You can also
                resize the box to make it larger or smaller by clicking and dragging on the corners. Whatever is
                inside that box will be shared with the other caller(s).

       To stop sharing your screen, click on the upside-down arrow in the upper-left corner of the selection box.




       Choose “Stop screen sharing.”




        The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu
What is Skype? (Summer 2010)                                                                                       Page 7 of 8




NOTE: While you are sharing your screen, your video will be disabled. To enable your video after sharing your screen, go
to “Call” menu and choose “Video” then “Turn Your Video On.”




More help
If need information on something that isn’t included in this packet, Skype has a series of useful guides available at
http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/support/user-guides/.



Attributions:
Skype Logo from Flickr member ebayink, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative license.
Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebayink/3441907149/in/set-72157616637927145/

Image of USB headset from Flickr member Watchcaddy, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.
Link to work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24079740@N05/2681000820/

Image of webcam from Flickr member Hannaford, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike
license. Link to work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27745117@N00/2051506962/

Image of screen sharing example from the Skype Blog. Link to work:
http://blogs.skype.com/en/2009/05/skype_4_1_beta_for_windows.html




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.




         The Center for University Teaching & Learning | A Title III Activity | www.nccu.edu/CUTL | CUTL@nccu.edu

				
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