This week we are profiling a really powerful video conferencing package called Zoom, recommended to us by our good friend Jim O’Connor at Distributed Education. A desktop app not unlike Skype, it’s free to use in conferences of up to 25 people and for 40 minutes, with unlimited one-to-one calls (for unlimited calling, you need to subscribe.) What makes it a little different from Skype, though, is its capabilities for recording audio, screen sharing, and “remote control,” all of which seem to have infinite applications.
If you’ve invited someone to speak to your class remotely, you can not only communicate with HD audio and video, but can also open a mutually-editable whiteboard so your guest, as well as students, can share ideas on the same screen. You can also give control of your computer over to your guest (with your permission) to demonstrate key concepts or walk through difficult software right before the class, and even record and save the conversations for future reference.
Alternatively, if you’re working on a project outside the class and need to schedule a meeting, Zoom will allow you and your colleagues to share ideas instantly, and with a variety of tools. Notably, installing Zoom is a walk in the park: the process only takes about a minute, so spontaneous meetings are a breeze even when participants are new to Zoom. The interface is intuitive, and new users will have no trouble finding their way through the app (available for both Android and Apple products).
We are very excited by the prospects of this app, and suggest that if you’re interested in using it, you use the email associated with the university to sign up. Happy zooming!