Looking for a cost-effective, efficient tool / system for hosting virtual classrooms. Any suggestions?

Hello again!

 

Thanks for your suggestions and comments on my last thread, all were very useful and so I wonder if any of you helpful people have any recommendations or comments about which systems to use to conduct training in virtual classrooms.

 

This is something my company would like to look out this year as part of a blended learning approach. Initially we would like to pilot this by asking all of our HR managers to send us the details of new starters on a monthly basis so we can invite them to attend a virtual class to introduce them to the company, allow them to network and meet others in the same position, give them a chance to 'ask the expert', signpost them to other training, provide case studies etc. All yet to be worked out, but that's the idea!

 

We currently use AT&T connect as a communication tool, but similar style meetings I have hosted using this feature with less participants than we anticipate we would have for the pilot have proven quite costly - hundreds of pounds for a hour!

 

We are working with AT&T to see what we can do to reduce this, but I was wondering which systems are being used in other companies to connect people from around the world, that allow you to share presentations, files and audio?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Catherine

 

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Hi Catherine,

 

We use Webex extensively across the company. Given our budgets, I guess it's quite cost-effective! It works well, and is easy to use.

 

Alternatives include:

 

Adobe Connect (fantastic tool, flash-based so no end-user downloads.)

Big Blue Button (open-source, strong development and user community, but not quite as fully featured as the commercial offerings)

Elluminate (aimed more at education, but works for corporate sector too. There's a free version for small meetings)

 

All the best,

 

Mark

Thank you, Mark. I will have a look at these tools.

 

We did use Webex at one point, however our parent company has now made it policy that all divisions are to use AT&T for meetings.

 

As we will be potentially looking at 40-50 participants attending each virtual classroom from different countries, the costs have been quite prohibitive so far with the account I have to host. Although I have been led to believe this is because I was initially set-up with a limited use account, so I am hopeful they can offer something more suitable for the training department's needs, which are obviously different from someone hosting a short meeting with a few people every so often.

Hi Catherine,

My organisation has just acquired a 12 month licence for Elluminate, with an introductory half-day administrators/moderators session on the afternoon of 03/02/11 on my site (just North of Chester).

If you would like to have a closer look at the tool, I can ask my boss if he is OK with you joining in with the session.

It's up to you...

Hi Craig,

 

That's a really kind offer, thank you. I will look at that along woth the other tools Mark suggested, and if it seems that it could offer us a better service than that of which AT&T are going to suggest I may well be picking your brains about this.

 

Catherine

Hi Catherine,

 

No worries.

 

Happy to help if I can.

 

Craig

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