Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Idea for the New Year: Virtual Office Hours

The University of Minnesota has some centrally supported chat or chat-like tools that could be used to facilitate virtual office hours. There are two basic forms of these chat tools. One version enables synchronous text-chat sessions where instructors and students can connect electronically and type text back and forth. These tools often incorporate automatic recording of the chat sessions. Examples of synchronous text chat tools at the University of Minnesota are UM Chat (Jabber) or WebVista chat. Another type of tool is one like the Wimba "Voice Direct" tool. Wimba Voice Direct allows students and instructors to converse using natural voice. Both the text-based chat and the voice-chat may offer "hand raise" options that allow instructors to manage the flow of discussions or allow scheduling of office hours with individual students.

Instructors considering Virtual Office Hours may find the below links to resources at the University of Minnesota helpful in getting started:

UM Chat (Jabber)
* Standalone application
* Digital Media Center's UMChat Page
* UMChat Help Page
* Login to Web Client

WebVista Chat
* Inside a course management system
* UTTC Online training video or PDF
* Deciding on whether to use WebVista or UM Chat

WebVista Wimba "Voice Direct"
* Inside a course management system
* WebVista information webpage

Moodle Chat
* Inside a course management system
* Moodle instructor guide on chat

Here's a link to an informative and idea-generating video that was created at Purdue University. Faculty describe their use of Adobe Connect.

If you'd like to get started with UMConnect, please visit:

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. good integrated system. Go Minnesota!! ^_^
    Gunadarma University