Webconferencing

External resources

Converse's Moodle uses OpenMeetings to support Web conferences. OpenMeetings runs in your browser. It normally doesn't need extra software installed (except perhaps for some of the advanced features).

Machine requirements

To take full part in a Web conference, you will need the following:

  • A broadband Internet connection (DSL, cable modem, or faster)
  • A Webcam so you can show yourself to others, and a microphone to speak
  • Recommended: Headphones will cut your echo substantially, and make it much easier for you to hear what's going on in the conference.

All of these are reasonably easy to come by these days. While doing a Web conference over the cell-phone network is still a risky proposition, broadband links are pretty easy to find. A $20 Webcam (or the Webcam that's already integrated into your laptop) and a $20 pair of headphones (or the ones from your MP3 player) are entirely adequate for the job.

Using a meeting room

This covers basic use of an OpenMeetings meeting room. OpenMeetings has a lot of features, many of which you won't need.

Entering the room

  1. Connect your Webcam, if it isn't connected already.
  2. Go to your course home page, and click on the room.
  3. You may need to tell Adobe Flash to run.
  4. Flash will normally pop up a dialog asking you to pick your webcam and microphone. Pick the right device (or devices), and set the levels you want.
  5. To make sure that your browser is accepting input from your camera and microphone, click "Start recording test". If you need to adjust the settings, do so.
  6. When you've got the settings right, click "Start conference” in the dialog.
  7. You may also need to tell your browser explicitly to allow use of the camera and microphone. (I have seen this behavior with Google Chrome.) If you need to, do so.
  8. You should now see a window that looks more or less like this:

Restarting your audio/video

In the Users tab on the left side, just above the list of users present, there's an icon that looks like this: Microphone+camera iconClick it and you'll get the same dialog for changing your camera and microphone settings that you got when you originally entered the room.

Muting/unmuting your microphone

To cut down on everybody's background noise, it's good practice to mute your microphone when you're not talking. In the Users tab on the left side, just above the list of users present, there's a microphone icon that looks like this: Microphone iconClick it to mute or unmute your microphone.

Leaving the room

Close the tab in your browser. (In theory, OpenMeetings has an "Exit” button, but it doesn't exist in the Moodle integration.)

Last modified: Tuesday, 9 September 2014, 9:02 PM