Last week, VenueGen demonstrated its beta system for virtual conference at DEMO 2010. It was very impressive and I immediately thought about trying it for my online class. So requested a trial account and installed the system. My object is to test drive the system to see whether it can be used for actual online class sessions.
I listed below some of my experiences and evaluations of the beta system, particularly for online class. I also took a set of Venuegen system screenshots and put them on Flickr.
- What I have tried successfully:
- Created an avatar (but my avatar was ugly based on my photo so I did not use my own photo).
- Uploaded my files (PowerPoint, PDF, images) and display/project them on the big virtual screen.
- Used virtual browser and visited many websites.
- Played YouTube videos on the virtual screen.
- Used the whiteboard for free drawing.
- Moved around the classroom with various gestures.
- But I did not find a way to:
- Share my desktop and demonstrate any local software.
- Copy and paste content.
- Use a laser point or highlighter to point to certain regions on the virtual screen.
- Record the class session.
- And I did not have a chance to:
- Interact with students.
- See if students can use the big virtual screen, and share their work.
- See if students can work in groups and collaborate.
- Test the microphone.
My overall impression:
- The idea is excellent, but as a beta version system, there are a lot of bugs, inconsistencies, crashes, and other usability issues.
- The system is not really designed specifically for online classes. I found many classroom features missing, some of which are important to have.
- It is not ready for serious online class use at this time; but I know it got potential.