Daniel Lemire's blog

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Multisite lecturing on a budget using webhuddle

Here is our current plan for this Spring’s CS6905 Advanced Technology on E-business course. The course will be offered in Fredericton and Saint John, and there are three lecturers: Yuhong Yan, Owen Kaser and myself (and I reside near Montreal). Also, while Owen and I are Linux addicts, Yuhong only uses Windows.

Our experiments show that gnomemeeting is quite capable, but unfortunately, it is point-to-point and doesn’t multicast. This means I can’t lecture to both Fredericton and Saint John simultaneously. I also do not know if gnomemeeting works perfectly with netmeeting, but I hope so.

Because I’m not so insanely pretty, we can do without the video stream. On the other hand, multisite teleconferencing is supported both by my employer and by NRC through the normal phone services.

What about slides? You need a tool that will project your slides to several sites. It needs to be cheap, simple and cross-platform. So far, the best tool in this domain is webhuddle. We tested it rather extensively and whereas the audio support is not very credible (the tool has no “settings” to specify which devices are used for audio input/output), it is a brilliant implementation as far as slides are concerned. In theory, you can install it on your own server, though I’m too lazy to do so.