How do you easily hold virtual office hours? How do you have a meeting with a student or a colleague when they/you can not physically get to campus?
The CTEL staff and their faculty assistants have used this space in the past to talk about the possibility of ‘virtual meetings’: spaces where you go online to have a meeting when you can’t physically be there. These include things like FreeConferenceCall.com, Blackboard Collaborate (FKA Elluminate), as well as Skype, Facetime and the one all of the students, staff, and faculty have access to right from their email web interface if they choose to use it, Google Chat. One feature all of these have in common is the requirement for a login and a ‘co-acceptance’ by the parties involved (ie. Everyone needs to be on the same platform, usernames have to be shared, there has to be buy-in, so to speak.)
This co-acceptance model can be a hard sell for many due to the variety in “tech-savviness” and tolerance for what I like to call the ‘fiddletude’ of programs.
Enter Meetings.io . This is a Flash based website that requires no log in, no username, accesses the installed camera and microphone drivers on most systems and allows for a fast way to have a meeting virtually (free version also can have 5 different connectors I hear).
You create a meeting space with a click of a button:
The server will assign you a meeting room and give you a very simple URL you mail, IM or phone to your co-participants. Then the program will load using the Adobe Flash player that is the plug-in in most modern browsers (sorry iOS users, but you have Facetime… so..). At this step there may be a few ‘do you wanna do this?’ check off boxes to enable you to use your mic and cam and start a peer-to-peer session. At that point you are in the meeting space:
The sound is decent even with normal built in mic options and camera is completely optional, but for a fast simple virtual presence that allows you to hold virtual office hours or ‘phone it in’ for a meeting at a remote location, it really doesn’t get much simpler in terms of software setups. (ie. There is none!) Now, regardless of the “tech-savvyness” of your colleagues, you or your students, if you can click a link, you can have a virtual office space.