Wimba is a Web conferencing tool that allows groups of individuals to communicate real-time via voice and graphics over the Internet. Wimba events typically have a presenter and participants who collaborate to conduct meetings or class events.
Wimba features include:
- Voice conferencing, allowing all event participants to speak
- A shared electronic whiteboard for annotation and drawing
- Application sharing, which allows a presenter to share any application running on his or her computer
- Web sessions, which allow a presenter to share a web site with participants
- The ability to insert a range of content materials, including PowerPoint slides
- The ability to quiz or survey using predefined questions
- Public and private text chats
- Participant indicators, including raised hands, emoticons, and step-in/step-out indicators
- Event recording
Wimba also has video conferencing capability. If presenters have a web camera connected to their PCs, they can transmit their image to participants. It is recommended that this feature be used sparingly or not at all. Video adds a layer of complexity to leading the event, the image is poor, transmission to participants may be slow, and little value is added. If you want participants to be able to see you, it is recommended that you display a digital image instead.
When to use Wimba
Wimba is a powerful meeting and educational tool which can be used for a number of purposes. Some possible uses of Wimba at WPI include:
- ADLN class events for class discussions and student presentations
- Incorporating a remote guest speaker into your class
- Advising remote project groups
- Collaborative meetings with colleagues
- Campus events with remote speakers
Keep in mind that Wimba may not always be the best choice for an event. Use Wimba when:
- The participants are dispersed.
- Face-to-face interaction is not critical.
- The meeting or class event involves complex content that may benefit from a presenter's guidance and which may generate many questions that need clarification.
- The meeting or class event can be conducted in a short period of time. An hour is a good event length, but events of 2-3 hours can be conducted with hourly breaks. If you need to meet longer than this, consider breaking your meeting into several short segments delivered over consecutive days. Participants find it difficult to focus on an event for several hours.
- The content materials can be chunked into short segments.
- Interactive activities can be included. An event that is comprised of mostly presentation will not be effective. Interactive activities, such as discussions, application sharing, and whiteboard annotations by participants will keep the participants' attention and make the event more effective.
Do not use Wimba when:
- You require participants to get extensive hands-on practice with an application. Application sharing makes it possible for you to share an application with participants and give control of the application to one participant at a time, but this can be a lengthy and slow process. If you need to observe multiple participants using an application, it is best to do it in a face-to-face setting.
- Your content cannot be chunked into short events of 1-2 hours (no more than 3 hours)
- You are not planning any interactive activities.
Last modified: Apr 23, 2009, 16:20 EDT