Virtual classrooms

The virtual learning space in your moodle shell will be represented by a puzzle piece. When you select the icon above there may be two virtual classrooms, one called “office hours”. This is a classroom space where the lecturers and tutors can get together with students in private or semi private conversations. Actual classes will be conducted in the designated room ‘Course meetings‘. Select the Join button to enter the appropriate room.

Adobe Connect joinYou should also ensure that your technology is ready for the online classroom experience.

Audio & video requirements

To interact within a virtual classroom you will need some extra computer hardware:
Audio

  • Microphone for recording and,
  • Speakers for audio output, or
  • Headset containing both microphone and earphones

Video (optional)

  • Webcam

Before entering a virtual classroom, plug in all devices you intend to use such as microphones and webcams. Ensure your computer has recognised them and that all drivers have been fully installed before joining.

Self check your system here

Audio setup

Just as you might expect to bring books, paper and pencils to an on-campus tutorial, ensure that your system is working properly to attend an online class.

Follow these steps to prepare your microphone and speakers.

  1. Choose your microphone from the dropdown menu under the microphone icon.3_microphone_setup2. Click Connect My Audio from the dropdown menu under the microphone icon this will make your microphone active.

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3. Follow the Audio Setup Wizard located under the Meetings menu in Adobe Connect.

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Adobe Connect requires Adobe Flash to operate. Due to security settings you may be asked to allow access to your audio and video devices. You must select yes for these devices to work correctly in Adobe Connect.

4. To activate your microphone, just click the microphone symbol – it will turn green when it is on. Your audio should now be working and active. If you click the microphone again it will be muted.

You will only be able to speak to other folk in the class when the HOST (lecturer or tutor) provides you with permission.

Video setup

Video uses a lot of bandwidth and can slow down the performance of your system, but the problem goes further than that. In a class of 10 students, the person with the worst connection will be most affected by large data-using applications like video. For this reason video should be used sparingly and only when needed, such as for introductions. You have the option of pausing video during your presentation and resuming it at any time. This avoids bandwidth problems and ensures that the video is not distracting other students from the primary content and on-screen activities.

Video presentation is only available to students when the HOST (lecturer or tutor) activates your permission.

1. Select the camera you want to use from the Webcam icon dropdown box.

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2. Click Start my Webcam

3. Click Start Sharing in the video pod.

Video-screen

Consider what other people will see when you are on video. Have you set the camera to show your face, or just your ear? What is in the background? It is important to control the environment that you will show on a video cast.

Status icon communication

The HOST of a virtual class has control over who can present ideas at a given time. This stops people from talking over each other and confusing the content. There are several ways to let the presenter know you’d like to make a comment, by using the Status Icons. The presenter can see a list of names of those in the class. When you activate a status icon, it appears next to your name. The host will see it, and address you when they are ready. It is an unobtrusive way of communicating without interrupting the flow of the class or presentation.

Asking a question: The raisestatus-icons hand icon shows that you wish to ask a question. The presenter may use a chat function to have you write down your question or may activate your audio so you can explain your question to the group.

Agree/ Disagree: The presenter can make a statement and ask the group to identify whether they agree. This allows discussion to occur without having to wait for each person to respond to activated audio.

Step away: If you are forced away from the computer, select this icon. It ensures that you will not be expected to answer a question when you are not in the room. It also automatically disables your microphone so it cannot be activated while you are away from the computer.

The presentation: If you are having difficulties with the presentation you can ask the HOST to adjust things from their end. Speak louder/ softer and talk faster/ slower are instructions for the presenter. If you are having difficulty with audio, check your own volume setting first before asking the presenter to make adjustments.

When you have used a status it may remain on screen until you clear it using Clear Status.

Sharing with the class

If you are asked to share content with the class, a pop-up box will appear in the top right corner of your screen.
share1Whether you intend to show exactly what is on your screen, or just a single file you, should select start. It is important to make sure that nothing private is shown to the class. (Some email and social media messages pop up as friends post them. Ensure you disable these, as they are not appropriate in this context.)

A Share Screen will open which allows you to specify exactly what you would like to share with the class. You can specify whether you wish to share a specific application or window, and which monitor to use. If you have multiple monitors, this function is convenient as you can move all of your work off one space and drag information onto the space as it is required for class.

share2

Make the appropriate selections and then click share. Your virtual classroom interface will shrink down so that you can now work on your chosen monitor/ window/ application whilst the class watches.

share 5

When you have finished simply click Stop Sharing and you will return to the normal screen.

Breakout rooms

Adobe Connects Breakout Rooms facilitate group work effectively. The host or lecturer can split the class into groups and assign each to a separate online work space. The host is still in the main room but may drop in to see how you are going. Once inside a breakout room, you can send messages to the hosts to notify them of anything by using ‘Send message to hosts’ located in the top right corner.

Student Breakout Room Broadcast

When you are in a breakout room, you have the same level of control as the presenter had in the main room. Each group can use their microphones and webcams in that room, completely isolated from the other groups. Each breakout room work space is unique to that room. For example, if there are four rooms each with a whiteboard, then there will be four different whiteboards. You may notice that the ‘PODS’ in the room all have ‘Breakout’ before their title.

Student Breakout Rooms

When the breakout is finished you will be returned to the main room. The host will be able to bring any information you have created back to the main room. This allows you to discuss the ideas raised in your group with the whole class.

Breakout activity is not captured by recordings.

Access class recording

Recordings can be accessed from Moodle via the Virtual Learning Spaces link. You can find recordings listed under either the Course Meetings or Office Hours headings. To access recordings click the Recordings link.

Recordings_menu

Under Recordings for that meeting you will see:

  • The name given to the recording you have made
  • Recording date
  • Duration in minutes

Recordings_fileClick on the name of the recording to start playback.