News Story

FlashMeeting 3.0 Released

Peter Scott, Tuesday 14 November 2006 | Annotate
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The newest version of FlashMeeting, version 3.0 is now live on the core research server. This version introduces the concept of "signing-in" to an event to unlock new features. The applet keeps a tight hold of the lightest possible principle, in that users can still just come to an event as a web url and enter there-and-then as a "guest". Such guests still do not need to load anything, or do anything extra to attend a FlashMeeting. However, users who take the trouble to obtain a sign-in account and use it to enter a booked meeting will find that they can now access a digital whiteboard and upload/download files connected with the event. The most common use of the whiteboard so far has actually been to upload images that are saved from presentation applications like MS PowerPoint, and to run through these in FlashMeeting events. Users can now privately chat to other signed-in users, and even have access to a set of "control commands" that they can use to manage their interface. This was originally designed as an assistive interface feature so that users could queue to speak, vote, smile etc entirely via the text chat window, working without a mouse. But the command set can also be used by "FlashMeeting Moderators" (another new concept for us) to manage the event and users within it. With an extended command set, a moderator can exclude users from events, and even offer them individual help. For example, a moderator could now use a simple command to interrogate the settings any individual is using, before offering advice or changing something for them directly! Furthermore, meeting attendees will find that they can now keep their own "portfolio" of FlashMeeting activity - their own record of meetings they have attended, complete with their own list of other "signed-in" people they have encountered during these events. These basic features point to a new and exciting set of social networking possibilities for this research. Another cool new feature, meetings can also now be marked as "syndicated" indicating that the event is to be "shared" with the wider world. Meetings which are marked in this way are made available via a public url. FlashMeeting is also now publicly available to the Open Learning community via the OpenLearn LabSpace. When you sign up for a LabSpace community account, you automatically become a FlashMeeting booker, able to run your own events under the aegis of this innovative open learning concept.

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Peter Scott

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