There are several exellent tools available now for synchronous communications, chat, whiteboard, screensharing, etc. Here are some that are either in use or have been used by staff at SUNY Delhi:
Online Meetings and Tech Support Tools
SUNY Center for Professional Development offers Wimba-based conferencing and webinars: http://www.suny.edu/sunyTrainingCenter/webConference.cfm at a cost of $15 per person per hour.
The following tools also have online web-browser based versions available to anyone who sets up a free account:
DimDim.com - DimDim combines screensharing, whiteboard, text chat, VOIP audio, conference call # (not compatible with record feature nor VOIP audio), and video as well as PDF and PPT sharing. Free for up to 20 users, and includes recording of meetings (except for telephone conference call #, attendee audio, whiteboard). See DimDim introductory videos and more DimDim video tutorials.
Notes for Presenters using DimDim:
- recordings will capture the entire screen - so best to set up a desktop free of clutter, personal items, etc.
- also best to make presentation fonts larger, or zoom in on web browser due to entire screen capture for recording. (Live participants can view at actual size and move the window to view the part of the screen needed, but the recording will only capture at full screen, so regular size fonts may be too small.)
- recordings only capture presenter audio/video, so remote attendees will only communicate via the chat (as of this release of DimDim)
Notes for Participants using DimDim:
- given the limitations of the current release, participants are recommended to "view only" and participate in chat - no audio nor video participation
- when viewing a shared screen, participants must select from either "actual size" or "fit to screen" - each having its own advantages and disadvantages:
- "actual size" is larger and easier to read -but requires participant to scroll up/down and left/right to see a particular part of the screen. (Full Screen mode is recommended.)
- "fit to screen" will show the entire desktop of the presenter, but may be harder to see/read due to size. Participants may want to toggle back and forth between modes, which is easily done using the dropdown menu near the bottom of the presenter's screen window.
Yugma - great for screensharing and chatting, integrates with Skype very well for audio/video, includes conference call #. No built in audio or video.
Flashmeeting - a service from the Open University UK, it includes live web cam video, audio, chat, live links to web pages, files, full recording of all meetings with easy playback, etc. and only requires signing up for a free account. This requires microphone and/or headset - no telephone access.