— a company that provides online, interactive, eLearning tools and services — has released version 3.0 of vClass, their virtual classroom that allows live instruction over the Internet through the use of two-way audio, direct messaging and a shared, interactive whiteboard.
The latest version adds Mac compatibility. It runs on Mac OS 9.x and higher, including the Classic environment of Mac OS X (however, there’s no native X version). Participants and instructors speak to each other through a standard microphone connected to the computer. vClass works on bandwidths as low as 28.8Kbps. Elluminate’s proprietary shared whiteboard features writing, drawing and erasing tools. The instructor can assign separate whiteboards to participants or groups of participants so they can work individually or collaborate on questions.
Participants and instructors can communicate using a variety of messaging capabilities including private messaging between participant and instructor, one-to-one messaging between participants and one-to-many messaging between participants. The instructor monitors all messages. Participants are able to plot one or two graphs and find their points of intersection and x- and y-intercepts. It can be used privately or shared and its viewing and use is controlled by the instructor.
PowerPoint presentations can be saved as vClass whiteboards. And vClass comes with a screen shot capture utility for “grabbing” a screen shot from an application or your desktop and showing it on the whiteboard. The “Web Push” feature lets instructors “force” participants to a Web site of their choice.
With vClass, live classrooms can be recorded and played back. What’s more, everyone in the classroom visually knows who is speaking, typing a message and using the whiteboard. However, all communication within the classroom is supervised, controlled and monitored by the instructor. For example, the instructor is aware of all raised hands, in order of being raised.
Participants can be polled with “yes/no,” “true/false,” or multiple choice questions. Responses can be visually monitored. There are also a variety of classroom management tools.
For more details, including pricing structures, go to the
vClass Web site.