An online classroom is essentially a virtual classroom which enables the delivery of synchronous events online. They are used to enable students studying at a distance (using a laptop or tablet, or even their phone) to engage in live events such as lectures, tutorials or even workshops, with their tutor(s) and other students.
These are not just a video of a lecture not are they the same as online courses and MOOCs where students study materials online independently, collaborating asynchronously via forums/chat, although they may well be an integral part of one. Sessions are likely to be timetabled and accessed via a VLE.
These classrooms offer more than more straightforward web-conferencing. A number of different packages are available but the majority have separate windows/panels to display:
At its simplest, the tutor can upload a presentation and deliver a conventional lecture or presentation, but these classrooms can offer so much more with a wide range of tools available such as:
During a session students are able to:
As well as upload presentations the tutor can:
The session can be recorded providing access to those students who are unable to attend or those who would like to revisit a session for revision purposes. Classrooms can also be used by students for self-help sessions, for group work as well as live student presentations or asynchronously by tutors/students as a quick means to record a presentation. Software to enable tutors to plan their sessions is also available.
A quick internet search reveals a number of different platforms, many of which are also used for online meetings and conferences. A few examples of the many examples are given below:
Blackboard collaborate - http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Collaborate/Overview.aspx
Adobe connect - http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/adobeconnect/learning.html
e-lecta - https://www.e-lecta.com/
Original author: Eleanor Crabb