SfEP Skype Club
Page owner: Community director
About the local group
SfEP Skype Club is made up of a number of SfEP members located in countries around the world. The instigator of Skype Club, Susan Walton was a Skype novice. She lives in rural Wales and started Skype Club so that she could meet SfEP members without having to travel.
What do we do
We are an experiment.
Initial, pilot meetings in 2014 agreed that Skype Club would meet up on a Skype videoconference call every 2–3 months, when we would discuss subjects of mutual interest. As of May 2015, those who have taken part in Skype Club meetings were located in 16 different time zones.
A timetable of twinned meetings was arranged for 2015, with similar topics for both meetings in the pair. Each pair had one morning and one evening meeting, within a few days of each other, to accommodate members in different time zones.
There is also a Skype Club SfEP forum for members to keep in touch between meetings, and to share resources etc. The forum is also for anyone else who is remotely located – you might be geographically remote within the UK, feel yourself to be remote from the UK, or may be remote because your personal circumstances keep you close to home. To join the Skype Club forum, please see the box in the next column. (Skype Club is at the very bottom of the dropdown list of groups.)
What is Skype?
Skype is a telecommunications software application (an 'app') that enables video chat and voice calls to take place using computers, tablets and mobile devices, via the internet.
The service that Skype Club uses is the video call function. In theory this can host any number of participants, but in practice more than five or six at one go can be a bit unwieldy.
To use Skype you need to download the Skype app to your computer or hand-held device, then go online and create a Skype account for yourself. To take part in video calls you need to have a microphone and camera linked to your computer or similar device (on modern computers these are often integral). Skype is free to download, and the video calls are also free.
Before a Skype call can be made, you need to have accepted a request to be a contact from the person(s) you're going to call, or you need to have sent them a request and to have had it accepted. To make a call, both parties have to be online and have the Skype app open on their device.
If you don't wish to be seen, or if your broadband doesn't have enough capacity to carry the video function successfully, you may turn off the visuals in a video call and just use the audio.
Sometimes there is interference on the video part of Skype – the image freezes, pixelates, or just disappears – and sometimes the audio is like a poor mobile signal. And sometimes they both go together. Don't panic! These are annoying events, but par for the course.
If the video and the audio functions drop off simultaneously, there is a handy instant messaging pane which can be used to send 'I'm trying to re-dial' sorts of messages, so the other person(s) know(s) you're still there really.
Details of upcoming online meetings can be found in the Calendar of events.