These are my notes from Dr. Gary Loving and Kun Huang’s presentation on “Free web-based audio conferencing” at ODLA 2007.

involves a voice stream and a data stream
going to use Yugma and Skype in our demos today

Needs
– increasing online course offerings
– asynchronous online communication does not satisfy all instructional needs
— online presentation
— student collaboration
— Q&A
— real time data sharing

student feeling of detachment, isolation

most online courses are asynchronous, and delivered by some learning management system (WebCT, BlackBoard, etc)
– sometimes the communication tools in traditional asynchronous courses are not idea, there are tradeoffs
– I often wonder why LMS’s don’t have emoticons
– we have transitioned to Angel after using WebCT for about 11 years

developing and interpersonal repoire is about 60% of teaching, the other 40% is intellectual excitement
– students who feel isolated/detached say they often crave synchronous interaction

are many commercial options for web based audio conferencing
Cisco meeting place, Horizon Wimba, Elluminate, etc
– those all come with big costs

Free tools for a simple solution:
– Voice: skype
– Data Sharing: Angel Learning or Yugma

Limitation of Angel: only supports instructor to student presentation sharing

Skype is free voice tool
– free peer-to-peer internet voice communication tool (also text chat)
– an inexpensive PC headset is required

Skypecast
– for organizing large, hosted calls for up to 100 participants
– can be publicly accessible or private
– organizer determines topic, schedule time and duration, and invites participation

Skype Conference Call
– organizer initiates call to contacts
– hosts up to 10 participants
– multiple participants can speak at the same time
– flashing border signals the person who is speaking
– moderator may remove someone from the conference

Skype Conference call: no public opinion or feedback available, like you can have with Skypecast

Yugma enables people to instantly connect over the internet to communicate and share content and ideas using any application or software
– desktop sharing
– annotation and whiteboarding tools
– change presenter
– public and private chat

With Yugma at start of the semester, many students have some interface problems
– lets you change the presenter
– has public and private chat
– annotation is possible while presenting

Procedure for configuring skype and yugma
– everyone must download and install skype and yugma
– instructor must collect students’ skype IDs and add to their skype contact list
– students must send instructor their skype ID
– at start of the session, everyone prepares and tests their headset
– instructor must log on first and initiate the call
– student is expected to log on skype on time and accept the instructor’s call
– instructor goes to the Yugma stie, starts a session, and sends the session link to students (via skype and/or email)
– students click the link sent by the instructor, log on and join the session

During the session the instructor leads the discussion on skype as students join
– instructor and students can start their presentation and use annotation tools
– everyone can watch others’ presentations
– instructor makes sure all students are int he session, communicates via skype chat with students who lost the connection, direct them back to the session
– students are responsible to contact the instructor (via skype chat) when they get disconnected from the conference call

instructor and student feedback
– provides a cost-effective way for real-time teacher-student and student-student communication
– students desire some real-time interaction
– web-based convenience
– generally feedback has been positive

we have tried different techniques of podcasting
– I (Dr Loving) is recording short lesson summaries

Lessons learned
– avoid wireless connections
– educate students not to call instructor on skype when getting disconnected, use skype chat instead
– say name first before talking
– challenge to schedule time that works for everyone
– we will try using Skypecast in the future
– we will explore the possibility for student collaboration using the free tools

Demo and Q&A

my class is built on online threaded discussions, along with individual journals and a presentation phase, students are able to do a narrated PowerPoint and then lead an online discussion based on that content

we have just tested Yugma with 8 students

with the free version of Yugma, you can’t schedule it in advance
– with the paid version, you can schedule a conference
– you cannot record a Yugma session like you can with commercial tools

I’M THINKING THAT PEOPLE REALLY NEED WAYS TO EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT SYNCHRONOUS CONFERENCING TECHNOLOGIES, SO THEY BOTH GAIN BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THEM AND CAN INTELLIGENTLY COMPARE FEATURE SETS
– AT THIS POINT I’VE USED LIVE MEETING, ELLUMINATE, BREEZE MEETING

Yugma has promised to be free forever

VYEW IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A FREE WEB-BAED CONFERENCING SOLUTION

Main benefit of using a tool like Yugma is being able to show webpages and doing annotation during the presentation

I AM ALSO THINKING SERVICES LIKE FREE CONFERENCE CALL AND OTHERS THAT LET STUDENTS USE THEIR CELL PHONES MIGHT BE GREAT: LET STUDENTS DO THE AUDIO CONFERENCING WITH THEIR CELL PHONE, AND THEN DO DATA SHARING WITH THEIR COMPUTER
– THAT WAY IF THEIR COMPUTER CRASHES OR HAS ANOTHER ISSUE, THEY CAN STILL GET THE AUDIO STREAM VIA THEIR CELL PHONE
– LOTS OF GOOD SUGGESTIONS ON CELL PHONE TOOLS FOR LEARNING FROM LIZ KOLB’S K-12 ONLINE PRESO

TALK SHOE IS ANOTHER OPTION FOR AUDIO CONFERENCING

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  • Adrienne

    I think that using programs like skype to teach people classes if they can not physically be present is a great idea.

  • https://www.yugma.com Kenny

    i agree with adrienne. it seems like this is the way more and more people are leaning toward for learning. i’ve been using yugma in my work setting for training. i can completely see the benefits of using it for classroom reasons too, especially now that they have a skype version.

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    For clarification, the presenters were discussing the use of skype with yugma, but I don’t think the two programs are formally related or connected.

  • http://www.yugma.com/yugmaskype Jake

    Actually there is a connection. I’ve been using the Yugma Skype Edition since it launched a month ago. very cool. You can get this version from Skype at their extras page, or straight from Yugma at http://www.yugma.com/yugmaskype (or click the skype logo on Yugma’s home page). I think the new Yugma version is really cool. Very easy to go from skype chat, to skype call, to yugma desktop sharing. Dead simple to use, fast, and works great on PC and Mac. And free. What’s there to not like….

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Hey that is great, I stand corrected! If the presenters mentioned this I didn’t catch it– so thanks for the clarification!

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