VDC-2001 : Second Virtual Degree CeremonyPeter Scott, Friday 20 April 2001 | Annotate
The second worldwide virtual degree ceremony from the Open University was webcast live on April 18th 2001 at 15:00 GMT/UT. The live ceremony included chat, slides and animations as well as audio and video from the Berrill Lecture Theatre in Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom. Apart from staff on stage, the auditorium itself was entirely empty during the presentation - as all the audience were remote!
This ceremony was again aimed at the worldwide body of students graduating from the Masters Programme in Open and Distance Education. Given that this was a small body of students (a graduating cohort of under 40) and that they were truly online and distant learners, it seemed an appropriate vehicle for their graduation. In addition to the UK based participants, students attended from as far away as New Zealand, Brazil, Denmark and the USA. We are currently reviewing whether this method could be applied more widely to different student bodies.
Our ideas to support this years ceremony included using a student-generated yearbook, and phone-in audio notes to add a personalized flavour to the proceedings. One audio note was selected to be used for each contributing student during the appropriate part of the event.
Students graduated at home whilst baby-sitting, in the office with colleagues and a glass of champagne, and even with a cappuccino in a local cyber-cafe. A student in New Zealand joked that it was so early/late that he was graduating in his pyjamas!
One graduate, a lecturer at the King's College London Dental Institute, even invited her students to join her in a physical celebration of the virtual ceremony! In the attached picture we see one of her students having snapped the moment that her certificate was awarded! Evidently the champagne flowed shortly thereafter!