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College Students Headed Back to Class (Not Really) This Fall

Three Out of Four Students Skip Actual Class and Attend Virtually Through Streaming Technology

View the detailed survey results

CHICAGO, Sept. 1, 2010 – Students across the U.S. are heading back to their college campuses this week, bringing images of crowded classrooms and backpack-toting students flooding the halls of universities. But many of them aren’t really headed back to class. According to a survey released today by InterCall, the world's largest conferencing and collaboration services provider, college students are increasingly attending and viewing their lectures by watching streaming video online. While some students like streaming because it allows them to spend more time with friends or sleeping, many students are simply juggling heavy course loads and their part-time jobs while enrolled in universities.

College students across the U.S. agree that having their classes streamed over the Internet or video recordings archived online helps them better prepare for exams (74 percent), learn more effectively (53 percent) or helps them see an improvement in their grades (54 percent).

"The research clearly shows how new technologies – specifically streaming – are changing college experiences all over the U.S.," said Ben Chodor, senior vice president of InterCall Streaming. "It does not surprise us that students are seeing the benefits of technologies such as ours. By streaming course content, professors and universities are providing students with the flexibility and interactivity that helps them excel and creates the educational experience that benefits them most."

The survey polled college students ages 18 to 25 about their attitudes and behaviors towards streamed video content of their college courses. Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Use of streaming is on the rise – Eight in ten students (78 percent) report that professors have made lectures available either by live video feed or posting a videotaped lecture for students to access online. Nearly a third (30 percent) say their professors use web streaming frequently.
  • In two places at once – Almost half (48 percent) of students take multiple classes scheduled for the same time which was virtually impossible before streaming. Also, 63 percent “attend” classes even though they are in reality, out of town.
  • Juggling jobs and studies – Streaming helps those students who are working their way through school: 47 percent say having content available to view at a later time allows them to work more hours at their job.
  • Students are taking control over the way they learn – Nearly 60 percent say streaming video allows them to spend more time studying by themselves and grasp concepts better because they can go at their own pace (44 percent).
  • We want our streaming! – More than two-thirds (67 percent) of students said they wish more of their professors used streaming and the majority (85 percent) say they would find it helpful to have their classes live streamed or video posted online.
  • Parents just don't understand – A third of U.S. students say that their parents or guardians would be very upset to know how often they actually attend classes in person because they "attend" by watching video of their course online. However, the majority of respondents report that streaming improves students' performance and helps them balance school with work.

The U.S. survey was commissioned by InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. The survey was conducted by Russell Research, an independent research company in August 2010 with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 at the 95 percent confidence level for college students ages 18 to 25 years old (504).

About InterCall

InterCall, a subsidiary of West Corporation, is the largest conference and collaborations service provider in the world, and a leading provider of global cloud-based unified communications services. Founded in 1991, InterCall offers telephony, messaging, conferencing and collaboration tools for businesses of all sizes, from large global enterprises to small or regional companies. With a global footprint and broad service capabilities, InterCall’s flexible models for hosted, managed and on-premises communication services help companies get the most out of their business processes.

InterCall's strong U.S. presence, including four call centers and 26 sales offices, is bolstered by operations in Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. For more information, please visit

About West Corporation

West Corporation is a leading provider of technology-driven, voice-oriented solutions. West offers its clients a broad range of communications and infrastructure management solutions that help them manage or support critical communications. West’s customer contact solutions and conferencing services are designed to improve its clients’ cost structure and provide reliable, high-quality services. West also provides mission-critical services, such as public safety and emergency communications.

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, West serves Fortune 1000 companies and other clients in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, banking, retail, financial, technology and healthcare. West has sales and operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more information on West Corporation, please call 1-800-841-9000 or visit