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Casting a wider net

Nation spoke fish unto nation last week as college students in Shetland and Iceland used a video-conference link for an exchange of lectures on trawl net design and fjord water temperatures.

Ian Napier of the North Atlantic Fisheries College was delighted with the success of this first international trial of the pioneering equipment that will be used to send and receive lectures and tutorials as part of the new University of the Highlands and Islands.

In contrast to earlier experiments nearer home, the technical side of the link with Akureyri University in the north of Iceland went well, according to Fisheries College principal Morgan Goodlad. Sound and vision were perfectly synchronised, despite Shetland's recent much-publicised problems with microwave radio telephone links.

But one student discovered a drawback. If you nod off in the front row the lecturer can see you, even if you are 620 miles away.

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