Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Create Your Virtual Classroom Online

by Robin Good

Tim, a Professor at NorthWest University in Katmandu, told me some weeks ago that he fancies the idea of creating his own live classroom to complement and support his quality work in the classroom for quite some time.

"It's an excellent idea, Tim", I told him honestly. "What keeps you from realizing your dream?"

With a sad look, Tim presented me a whole bunch of what he considered to be good reasons:

"First, all e-learning systems I know cost thousands of dollars and I cannot convince my dean to invest that kind of money in an Internet-based solution.

Second, no one here would be capable of installing and configuring the live classroom software on a server - and all of the systems I know require a server...

Third, I'm afraid that it takes costs me at least a few weeks to familiarize with the system and to prepare on how to use the different functions and facilities.

Fourth, I want at least be able to try-out the system before I invest any money and none of the vendors I know provides an easy way to test fully the system.

And last, I did not see many e-learning systems that actually work over slow dial-up lines. However, most of my students have only a modest 14.4 or 28.8 Kbps connection.

I have really looked at many e-learning systems and tried out all that offered me a trial. The features are need are there, that's not the problem. The problem is really the price. We just cannot afford these tools at our university. It's bad, but I think I have to give up."

I got very excited, because just recently I had read on a quality newsletter I am subscribing to that there were some tools that are very affordable while offering basic core facilities. I told Tim of this newsletter and instantly forwarded it to him when I returned home.

When I met him again two weeks later, the sad look on his face was gone.

Happily he told me what has happened:

"To be honest, at the beginning I did not really believe what was written in that newsletter. I thought that the usual marketing hype was probably mounting things a little prettier than they really are.

So I rapidly headed out to verify those claims and to my outmost surprise and joy, I discovered that there were indeed at least 15 tools that would allow me and my colleagues at my university to deliver an unlimited number of live classrooms for the price of a normal book!

And not only that! Though the prices were really low, most of the vendors offered me a full try-out - I really appreciated that. I also immediately found out that these solutions do not require any software installation on my PC or even on a server and that software upgrades are automatic and included in the price.

But the best was yet to come.

As soon as I started to use one of the freely accessible try-outs for this highly cost-effective Web conferencing tools, I realized that I had struck a perfect solution.

The tool was extremely simple to use, it offered the two most important features I need, voice conferencing and co-surfing, and it worked on dial-up lines!

I tried out the tool with my students and all of them were fond of it! Can you believe it - they have already proposed a lot of innovative uses. I'm really satisfied. Thousand thanks for this valuable tip."

Do you need the same things Tim has been looking for?

You too, like Tim, can get today a lot more than you are ready to bargain for. A whole new breed of cost-effective live conferencing tools for individuals and small companies are available for immediate use. You don't need WebEx, Centra or Placeware to do the things that Tim needed to do.

One group of powerful but very cost-effective tools offering the features Tim has described includes:



VoiceCafe (for Middle-East users)

Linktivity WebDemo


and a few more.

To find out everything about the 15 best conferencing technologies that allow you to create your virtual classroom online please give a look to: reports/webconferencing/index.htm
Robin Good's Official Guide to SOHO Web Conferencing and Live Presentation Tools.

Read this short story online at: virtual_classroom_online.htm



Readers' Comments    
2007-08-06 02:39:58


Check out It has all the stuff you need to teach/train your audience over virtual whiteboard and audio/video features and that too free of cost.

2007-07-03 08:38:29


Check out

This has all the things that you need for online teaching, e.g. An Online Virtual Classroom, your online profile, your content library.

You can even build your network with members having similar interests and hold online discussion sessions with them.

And all this for FREE!


2007-06-25 04:12:30

Wiziq Virtual Classrooms

I think WiZiQ offers all features desired of a virtual classroom ( ). It has been specifically designed for teachers, who want to connect globally to their students. The best part is that you don't need to spend a penny to use the system.

2004-08-12 05:10:58

Saranga Panapitiya

Need a assistant for a Video conferencing Based Training Solutions for school in sri lanka.

posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, April 30 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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