See also the Webmeeting Tools Page on the KS Toolkit
There are a range of free and paid web based tools that allow groups to have meetings together with a distributed group of participants. These are "same time" or synchronous tools, which means everyone is online at the same time. This community knowledge page looks at the technology issues behind webmeeting tools. There are two main sub-threads: paid webmeeting tools and services and those that are free, open source or free/ad supported. There is a separate page on Facilitating Web Meetings
meetings, distributed, online, facilitation, technology, technology_stewardship.
[the meat of the topic – clearly, crisply communicated summary of the topic. Where relevant, a brief story – no more than 1-2 paragraphs - of how this topic has been turned into practice, ideally from the KM4Dev archives? If the example is long, separate into a separate subsection]
KM4DEV Discussions on online conferencing tools
I would say it depends on how many people the conference would have and if you only want to talk /chat or more. For small groups Skype has worked well for me. For more than 9 participants you can use Skype Cast, creating the event and sending the link for others to join. (https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/member/login.html?message=login_required ).
Webex has worked very well for me when having to share presentations online. People can talk, chat, and share presentations/documents that all can watch and edit at the same time and it is moderated. It is not a free service although some organizations have a deal with Webex and provide log in information if you request it (i.e. the Open Educational Resources dgCommunity. You need to contact the content manager to check if that arrangement is still going on or directly contact Nadia Afrin at firstname.lastname@example.org ) [Denise Senmartin]
To combine the two types of functions/services which Denise mentions above, there’s a similar service to WebEx named Yugma – www.yugma.com which you can use with Skype. Yugma accounts are free. [Anthony Bloome]
Drupal is very powerful and quite quick to set up, when you know how. Ning.com provides free social networking out of the box, worth a look. I can help with these http://matslats.net [Matthew Slater]
I have actively facilitated events on at least ten different on-line conferencing platforms and have found that each of them has its comparative strengths. In the end, choosing which platform is “best” truly depends on the “user requirements” of the customer. For example:
- WebEx – is especially strong at incorporating phone bridges
- DimDim – has the strongest price point… although Elluminate Vroom is also free for groups of 4 or less
- Elluminate Live! – has a very strong track record in low bandwidth environments and has an exceptionally strong VOIP capacity
- Adobe Connect – has a great user interface and runs off a flash based platform which reduces the likelihood that users will have problems with plug ins, firewalls and initial download delays
- Microsoft LiveMeeting – integrates well with the Microsoft office suite (no surprise)
- iLinc – has a truly impressive classroom management capacity and a super cool “green meter” that tracks carbon footprint savings while meetings are running
I have advised a number of organizations/individuals as they consider adopting on-line conferencing applications, and in truth, I never go into any discussion with a pre-determined recommendation. In my experience, the “best” alternative is always contingent on the user requirements – and these requirements differ almost every time. My personal requirement has been to optimize low bandwidth connections and maximize VOIP robustness – Elluminate Live has served these needs very well. [Mike Culligan]
- In daily working and learning practice (e.g. in projects) we are using just Skype and Yugma as a Skype plugin , www.yugma.com (e.g. for small groups, less than 10 people).
- offers everything to get familiar with the new teaching and learning style (and no hassle with setup and maintenance)
- remote desktop sharing (e.g. especially useful for software trainings)
- quite reliable, also in case of low bandwidth (e.g. Skype's powerful group chat features)
- no license cost
- no server technology needed and excellent for on-demand support at the workplace. However, this is just a good starting point, an Intranet solution or a corporate academy solution may require more infrastructure. [Sebastian Hoffman]
- If you are interested in free e-learning platforms (no web conferencing) Moodle (http://moodle.org/) is a good choice - I used it as student, and briefly as a teacher, and it was quite OK... though quite difficult to install, if you ask me. [Javier Fabra]
- Just saw this post on web-conferencing tools that you might find interesting. It talks about What Web Conferencing Can Do, What You Need to Consider and then goes through some of the tools. [Stephan Dohrn]
Examples in Application
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Some notes from Nancy White:
"off the cuff" impressions comparing WebEx and Elluminate
- Speed - good and comparable between the two
- VOIP - Easier to take/pass the mic in Elluminate. Requires moderator to control in WebEX
- Dial Up - I don't think Elluminate has a separate land line dial up option - need to check. WebEx has toll free and user-pay-long distance options. VOIP on Elluminate has worked well for me in fairly limited bandwidth in the South.
- Breakouts - WebEx confusing and require quite a bit of juggling by the moderator (I have experienced, but not set up breakouts on Elluminate, so I need to test this.) Concerned that sometimes in a VOIP group call a land line telecon number is delivered for breakouts
- Controls: WebEx can only have one moderator - so hard to share some duties. Can have multiple mods in Elluminate
- Confusing options with dial in and VOIP for setting up confs in WebEx. No Dial up options in Elluminate
- White board performs swiftlyin WebEx, but less functionality than Elluminate white boards (stamps, easy integration of visuals)
- PPT - good on both systems
- Support seems responsive on WebEx. Elluminate is generally pretty good, but I have had one problem.
- Chat function - good options of all group or private messages for both systems. WEbEx has improved from what it was.
- Recording - did not experience the playback of WebEx but both seem to be easy to start/stop recordings. Both capture in proprietary formats, which is a negative.
Cannot cut and paste between whiteboards in WebEx (I need to test this on Elluminate)
- WebEx "Training Room" language is to me annoying - it assumes one particular paradigm which is a minus. Elluminate offers a more generic platform for multiple functions.
- Both have branding options for a room. I think WebEx has a bit more visual options for branding.
Diego Leal wrote of his experiments with web meeting tools in Colombia http://www.diegoleal.org/social/blog/blogs/dotedu-dotco/index.php/2008/03/06/title-1
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