woensdag, december 06, 2006

Realtime collaboration in Sakai: it gets better

Today,Miguel Gonzalez Losa from Lancaster University presented a new set of collaboration tools that they have developed to enhance the collaboration experience within Sakai. They have been funded by JISC in the area of e-Science (or e-Research).

The aim of the project was to create software that was useful, simple and extendable. They didn't want to create 'the most powerful' or 'the most complete' solution.

Features available in Agora are audio/video conferencing, whiteboard, shared desktop and chat. With a very simple PC, of a few years old, you can still have a conference room with 4 to 6 participants. They found a very simple solution for the desktop sharing application: they are only transmitting an image of the screen from person 1 to the rest of the persons. This seems to be enough for most use cases. The same goes for the chat tool: it is geared of sharing simple information like URL's of email-adresses. Everything that is done in the conference room is recorded for later viewing, which is strong feature! This recording is done a the client PC, so that you can (re)view it offline.

Agora can be used with no problem on Windows and Linux computers. For Apple the problem lies in the video and audio conferencing, which is a pity. There is a Agora server needed to make use of Agora.

There are lots of thing still to be done, as Miguel pointed out at the end of his presentation, e.g. whispering mode, full Mac support, encryption and SIP compliancy. They also want to make it available for more opensource projects, like Moodle. That would be a good approach for sustainability of this nice toolset.

1 opmerking:

  1. You can find more information in http://agora.lancs.ac.uk