Grey Tales


Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

Collaboration Tools

I am attending a Boston area Ed Tech group that meets periodically to share ideas around instructional technology in higher in education. Today, we are discussing real time collaboration technology.

The first speaker (Peter Hess, MIT) is discussing different Web conferencing software. The first technology, Yugma, wasn’t working well (due to network issues) so we skipped it. It is a free web conferencing technology so feel free to check that out at a later time. We are looking at ooVoo, a free online video chat and video conferencing.


The free version provides:

  • 3-way live video chats
  • Unlimited 1-minute video messages
  • Share and send files up to 25MB each
  • Video effects

Moving on to Vidyo, we have another Web conferencing software to demonstrate. This company is the first to take advantage of the most recent enhancement to the H.264 standard for video compression.

People in the meeting are now introducing themselves and discussing what they are doing with Web conferening efforts at their own school. We hear people are using WebEx, Elluminate, Adobe Connect, Radvision, Wimba, and Saba Centra.   Many are still in an evaluation stage and some mention they aren’t satisfied with the results (e.g., performance issues).  People are using Web conferencing for faculty consultations with students, conferencing, meetings, online video technologies for the library and distance learning.

Phil Knutell

Phil Knutell from Bentley is talking about their 17M library renovation. You can see his slides from the Nercomp Web site. View some of the new rooms on the Bentley Web site. People in his class are required to do presentations. Students are required to give feedback to people about their presentation via the class Wiki (located on Blackboard). Peer evaluation is done using survey tool in Google spreadsheets. He states it is simpler to use than Perseus SurveySolutions or SurveyMonkey. He also creates a syllabus in Google docs means he does not have to upload or download the file. He simply inserts links to published doc from the course Bb site.

  • Hybrid class support team:
    • Got tired of tracking versions/revisions & not being able to edit if checked out
    • Wanted public URL on web server so TAs could view, but uploading to web server or using SharePoint a hassle
    • Inviting collaborators, assigning permissions, & learning to use very easy (95% of most-used Office 2007 features)
  • Library wiki and blog allow entire staff to contribute

Daniel Jamous from FAS asks about student privacy issues. Phil states it can become an issue if you let it become an issue. Google states they are a higher education focused server. Yes, the student information is stored on their server but they state they don’t have any interest in accessing it.  For K-12 and higher ed, google applications is free. Are their FERPA issues? Possibly. He is impressed with the company’s commitment to privacy.


Filed under: Educational Technology, General, Instructional Technology

3 Responses

  1. Beth Gallob says:

    Hi Denise,

    Thanks for including Elluminate on your list of web conferencing products. I love the title, Collab Lab!

    Wanted to let you know about Elluminate vRoom, a free, full-featured, 3-person virtual meeting room. Check it out at It’s a great way to try out the technology. Plus it supports even low-bandwidth connectivity – so no performance issues.

    – Beth, Elluminate Goddess of Communication

  2. Brian Parker says:

    Great article Denise! Another great alternative is TurboMeeting from RHUB. They offer 4-way webcams, superb video compression and quality, sharing and send of nearly unlimited sizes of files. You can sign up for a free trial at

  3. dgreatblog says:

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