Best Practice

Online Tutorial Tools Compared

In this article we compare the various tools available for delivering live tutorials with students. There are lots of free tools available through your UCC account.

The amount of participants allowed enter the virtual classroom, and the availability of recording features are a big thing to consider. It is often that a student may miss a live tutorial and it is useful to be able to share the link afterwards. Take a look at the list of features below to help you choose the option that suits your class.

 

Skypeskype-for-buisness

Price – Free
Recording Available – Yes (UCC account), No (personal account)
Screensharing Available – Yes
Participant Capacity – 250 (UCC account), 25 (personal account)

 

Skype for Business is automatically available on your system via Microsoft Office 365. Simply use the search tool in your Start menu to find it. You can sign-in to Skype for Business using your UCC email address and password.  If you can’t find it on your system, you can contact helpdesk@ucc.ie.

The advantage to using Skype for Business over your personal Skype account is that it can cater for up to 250 participants. It also eliminates the over-familiarity which comes with adding students to your list of contacts on your personal account.

 

Screensharing is one of the many pedagogical advantages to an online Skype tutorial. Participants may also upload documents and share their own screens at any time. Group/one-to-one chat allows for less interruptions over the mic. It is also worthwhile to record your sessions in case anyone cannot make it.

 

Vidyologo-vidyo

Price – Free
Recording Available – Yes
Screensharing Available – Yes
Participant Capacity – 15

 

Vidyo can be downloaded by logging in to http://ucc.dvc.heanet.ie.
Participants do not need an account in order to enter an online classroom, simply share the link and they can access.

It is easy to record a session, which will be saved in your Vidyo library for distributing later. The Vidyo app can be saved to your desktop and accessed at any time. You can also search for other Vidyo users on the network and add them to your list of contacts.

It is a useful tool for small meetings, as the maximum participation capacity is 15. There is also the added feeling of privacy as participants don’t associate with an equivalent personal/social account (as with Hangouts and Skype). As above, the ability to share your screen also adds the pedagogical value of talking through a  presentation/document/online resource.

 

Google Hangouts hangouts-icon

Price – Free
Recording Available – No (UCC acccount), Yes (personal account)
Screensharing Available – Yes
Participant Capacity – 25 (UCC account), 15 (personal account)

 

This app is available as part of the Google Apps for Ed suite. These can be accessed via the apps icon on the top-right of any Google.ie homepage (you must first request permission by emailing software@ucc.ie).

Delivering a Hangout via your UCC account allows for 25 participants. It is useful to record sessions in case a student misses out. Broadcasting to Hangouts on Air is needed in order to record a session. Unfortunately, this can’t be accessed via your UCC account because it does not sync with Google+.

You can record the Hangout session if you sign-in to Google using your personal Gmail account. The caveat being that the participant limit is now reduced to 15.

Screensharing is available through either account – perhaps the most important feature when delivering a tutorial. As with Skype above, participants can also share their own screens and upload files at any time. Group chat is a useful feature which allows participants to discuss ideas/create a queue of questions as the lecturer is presenting.

 

Adobe Connectadobe-connect-bw

Price – €250
Recording Available – Yes
Screensharing Available – Yes
Participant Capacity – 100

 

Adobe Connect can be purchased by contacting It Services in UCC. It has the same features mentioned above – screensharing, recording etc.

A whiteboard feature is available for allowing presenters to draw diagrams/collaborate with students on new ideas. Polls can also be taken for surveying students’ opinions.

Again, the advantage to this tool over the others would be the added level of privacy when delivering web conferences and that extra level of formality that comes with an app which isn’t also available in the public sphere. For more information see Patrick Kiely’s article here.

 

Related

Live Interaction with Hangouts
About Vidyo
Tools to try in teaching