Thursday, 2 June 2011

Web Conferencing software

Over the last couple of weeks I've been immersing myself in a new project. It's currently at that stage where money, organisation, time and stress are in their least desirable configuration.

I have, in the midst of this whirlpool, been investigating web conferencing software as a potential delivery system. Honestly, I like it. I am biased towards this idea. Unfortunately, I can't play fantasy software, as I am required to provide something that the college will value as much as I do (being a responsible adult sucks sometimes).

So, I started with the wikipedia Web Conferencing software page. It isn't a comprehensive list, but it's substantial and gives me a base of operations. Of these I whittled it down to my three favourites (some by more superficial means than others, I have to admit). Open Meetings, Buddy Meeting and Adobe Connect.

I liked some of the others on the list, but had to dismiss them as being untestable unless I can get our Moodle server duplicated, me given the admin password and permitted to install whatever I like to find out how they work. I also dropped a few paid ones on the grounds that they appeared to have no additional features when compared to the GPL ones.

What I'm saying here is that I'm open to suggestions and recommendations about good web conferencing software.

Having tested these three, I can honestly say I like them all and think that the free options are perfectly adequate for our current needs.

However, Connect offers a plugin to allow you to embed your conference in Moodle. This for me is the clincher. I want that. I want everything as much as possible to be on the same page. I want our students to have as few points of failure as possible. Maybe this is the way to do it?

But maybe this functionality is available with a cheaper solution. I feel it is very much worth a look.