Monday, May 07, 2007

Great (and free) meeting tool!

With Fe-ConE we have regular online meetings. We are from different countries so an online tool is great. We don't have to use a tool like LearnLinc or other environments with lots of functionalities.

Since one year we are using FlashMeeting. This is a simple and clean tool to have meetings, it is developed by the Open University in the UK and it available for free. FlashMeeting is an application based on the Adobe Flash 'plug in' and Flash Media Server. Running in a standard web browser window (not only IE but also FireFox and Opera + it runs without problems on the Mac), it allows a dispersed group of people to meet from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Typically a meeting is pre-booked by a registered user and a url, containing a unique password for the meeting, is returned by the FlashMeeting server. The 'booker' passes this on to the people they wish to participate, who simply click on the link to enter into the meeting at the arranged time.

The mean features:
- video and audio;
- visual overview of the participants;
- raising hands;
- chat;
- sharing url's (and open a webpage on other machines);
- sharing whiteboard;
- vote.

And as an extra you can even review your meeting because it it recorded. It has some great ways of visualizing the meeting.

The quality is good, you only have to be careful with the serverload. But you can check that when you plan the meeting. I'm also using Skype for meetings with a small group but I miss the video recording. Also on the Mac there are less functionalities compared with the PC-version of Skype. So if you have a need for online meetings, just try FlashMeeting and let me know your experiences.

Overview of participants

Voting functionality and emoticons

Managing files and whiteboarding

Overview of session, ready to replay

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