Whether you are working one-on-one or with a large group, online conferencing software allows you to share information with classmates or fellow researchers, wherever you are. Many tools allow sharing screens and documents, in addition to video and audio. All tools listed here are free (in general or to Virginia Tech affiliates).
Anyone can chat within the GMail interface to one other person; if you upgrade your account to Google+, you can chat with up to 9 other people using Google Hangouts. The Hangouts interface allow voice and video conferencing. You can install Hangouts apps for Android and iOS devices. You can share photos in the interface, but not documents.
Skype allows chatting through text, voice, and video. Multiple Skype users can join the same call, allowing up to 25 people to conference. (Group video calls and screen sharing require a premium account.)
The Virtual Graduate Life Center is an online extension of the GLC where you can interact with other graduate students through an avatar in the OpenLife environment. You can use a local chat or instant messaging to communicate with other participants.
Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies manages Virginia Tech's WebEx conferencing service at no cost to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and GTAs to host sessions; students can participate for free as well, from their computer or mobile device. WebEx is a suite of web-conferencing tools you can use to host live, interactive, online class sessions with students or meetings with colleagues and sponsors. Detailed help is available through TLOS.