Web conferencing is a service that allows conferencing events to be shared with different locations with multiple participants online. Web conferencing can include real time audio, video, text chat and content sharing. Web conferencing has become a common way to hold impromptu or scheduled meetings between individuals in different locations. In education, web conferencing tools help to bridge the distance between teachers and learners, facilitating synchronous discussion for online lectures, office hours and presentations
For instructors looking for web conferencing options, the University of Georgia offers Blackboard Collaborate, a commercial web conferencing tool that’s easily accessible within eLearning Commons (eLC).
Collaborate is available for computers running Windows and Mac operating systems. It offers webcam streaming, live audio, a shared whiteboard, text chat, application sharing and more. Instructors may also record their live Collaborate sessions for playback at a later time.
Collaborate also features voice authoring (formerly called Wimba Voice) to facilitate vocal instruction, collaboration, personlized coaching and assessment. Voice authoring includes the capability to incorporate threaded voice boards, voice-enabled email, embeded voice within course pages, and group discussions.
In eLC, Collaborate is available via the Online Rooms tools. The Center for Teaching and Learning has instructions on setting up an online Collaborate room in eLC on its website.
CTL and Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS) jointly support Blackboard Collaborate.
Additional instructor resources for Collaborate are available on the CTL’s website. For technical assistance, please contact the EITS Help Desk at 706-542-3106.
To request a freestanding Blackboard Collaborate session that’s not integrated within eLC, please submit a request.
For UGA departments looking for an affordable web conferencing tool for administrative purposes, the University offers GoToMeeting on a cost recovery basis.
GoToMeeting allows users to join or conduct online meetings from their desktops or mobile devices. It features video conferencing, VoIP or telephone audio, and collaboration tools to share desktop screens among meeting attendees. GoToMeeting has a free mobile app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
UGA’s license with Citrix includes several GoToMeeting products that allow participants to invite anywhere from one to 1,000 people to join their online meeting, webinar or training session.
GoToMeeting is available to interested UGA departments on a cost recovery basis.