Posted on January 21, 2009 by ctomlins
Need to meet with a colleague across town or across the country? Trying to present content or teach an online class? Need to teach library instruction at a satellite campus? There’s no need to travel or to teach in an asynchronous environment- why not try a web conferencing tool? Web conferencing allows for easy screen and presentation sharing as well as options for audio through a conference call or voice over IP (VoIP). Some programs even have the capability for a shared mouse and keyboard so that something like database search instruction can be modeled and then tried by all participants in an online, shared environment. Businesses have been using these technologies for years, but they can also be very useful in an academic setting with more and more online and distance education opportunities as well as collaboration between faculty and/or staff at different institutions.
Yugma is one of the many options out there for online conferencing. One great benefit of Yugma over many others is that it has a slimmed down version that’s available for free! With the Yugma free version, you have the capability to share your screen to up to 20 people at a time. It also gives you a free conference call number or the option to use Skype (VoIP) for all participants to be able to connect vocally. For written communication, public and private chat is also included. Yugma is also unique in that it is compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux systems.
With an upgrade to a paid account you additionally are able to share keyboard and mouse, change presenters, record and archive sessions, schedule meetings in advance, and access presenter tools (highlight aspects of screen/presentation). Prices run from $14.95 a month (or $149.50 a year) to $179.95 a month ($1799.50 a year) depending on the number of possible participants in a conference (20 to 500). An additional “Webinar” feature is available at $19.99 a month (or $199.50 a year) which allows you to have personalized web space where participants can sign up and directly access the webinar.
Yugma is intuitive to use, although I did run into some hiccups with the free account. The presenter/organizer will need to download the program, however participants should be able to access the screen share/presentation by simply visiting the Yugma website (www.yugma.com) and entering the access code that the presenter will see when setting up the session. A few things to look out for when using Yugma:
- Although Yugma gives the presenter the option to “Invite Contacts” or “Invite Contacts to View Only”, the free version only allows viewing, so choose the view only option.
- If you upgrade to the paid version and would like participants to be able to do more than view, they need to “run” the program which may cause administrative rights problems.
- The latest Java will need to be installed on both presenter and participants computers
- The teleconferencing, although free, doesn’t have the best sound quality. Skype is also an option.
- The access code that the presenter is given when setting up the session is in a 000-000-000, however needs to be entered by the participants on the Yugma page without the dashes.
For additional options for web conferencing see the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_conferencing_software
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: collaboration, committee work, distance education, library liaison, online classes, online meeting, presentation, presentations, sharing, web conference, web meeting, Yugma | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 11, 2008 by ctomlins
In the last post Carrie helped us understand what RSS feeds are and how to use Bloglines to read your feeds. Now that you have the basics of RSS feeds down, let’s get creative. Perhaps you have a feed or two that you’d like to share with your library liaison areas or people who are on a committee with you. You could direct them to the blog and tell them how to subscribe or you could use Grazr to create a feed reader like Bloglines directly on your own website!
Grazr’s free account option will allow you to create unlimited single RSS feed widgets to place on your webpage. If you wish to combine multiple feeds into a widget, you can do this also, but it may cost you. The free account allows you to create one combined RSS widget, but to be able to have multiple combined RSS widgets, you’ll need to pay anywhere from $9.99 a month to $149.99 a month. Confused? Let’s say that you have a liaison web page like the one above, a free account will allow you to stream blog entries from one single blog in any one widget. You will have to create multiple widgets to stream multiple blogs (and they will not be combined). If you would like to create a widget with let’s say health news from Medline Plus, along with health news from the CDC, along with articles from a search you conducted in a database, you will only be able to create one of these multi-stream widgets for free (although you could place this same multi-stream widget in multiple places).
Although the free Grazr account does have its limitations in terms of multiple feeds, it can still be a great resource for your liaison pages as well as on any webpage where you’d like to share the latest news, articles or updates from another website, blog or even podcast. Amanda Taylor, a librarian here at Towson has come up with a great way to share new books in the library using Grazr. She has created a blog listing all of the new science books as they come into the library. Grazr allows this blog to be viewed from her different subject pages such as this page: http://pages.towson.edu/amtaylo/biology.html
So I guess you could say that Grazr allows you to be super web 2.0- not only are you able to direct feeds into your feed reader like with Bloglines, but then you are able to push that feed back out on any relevant webpages.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: feed aggregators, library liaison, research tools, RSS feeds, sharing, subject guide | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 28, 2008 by ctomlins
Have you ever wanted to create a collaborative space online or simply a basic web site, but don’t think you have the technology skills to do so? Try Wetpaint (www.wetpaint.com), an extremely easy to set up, easy to use wiki program. Don’t know what a wiki is? Don’t worry! The word “wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick,” but it is also very easy! We’ve all seen the world’s largest wiki, Wikipedia, and understand it as a website that anyone can edit or create pages (encyclopedia entries). Encyclopedias are not the only things you can create with a Wiki- you can also create:
Wetpaint is one of the many web-based platforms you can use to create a wiki. Wetpaint Web based wiki allows you to:
- Easily create and update pages
- Choose from a variety of designs and add your own header image
- Have a variety of permissions settings- possible to assign roles to each user/ creator (editor, writer, administrator, etc.)
- Choose who has access to your page (open to the public or select people)
- Use an easily navigable website design
- Remove ads if your wiki is used for educational purposes
To set up a Wetpaint wiki, go to www.wetpaint.com and choose to create a free site. You will then be asked to name your site and choose the web address of the wiki. You can then choose the level of openness and collaboration of the site by choosing who can edit your site. Next you’ll be able to choose the design and look of your site. That’s all you have to do to get started! Once you start adding to your site, you’ll notice Wetpaint’s option to add widgets to the page. This allows you to easily add things like Youtube videos, an instant messaging chat box, RSS feeds, polls, pictures, audio, and much more. If you need more help setting up your Wetpaint wiki, check out these useful videos:
Wet Paint Wiki How To Part 1
WetPaint Wiki How To Part 2
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: collaboration, committee work, group project, library liaison, staff training, subject guide, wetpaint, wiki | Leave a Comment »