Adobe Connect provides an online meeting space accessed via your web browser. It enables synchronous communication between group members using video, audio or text, as well as document sharing and annotation. It is used to host seminar-type sessions where you will be able to discuss and explore topics with your tutor and other members of your group. In some instances this may be referred to as the Tutorial room. If your course uses this technology you will be informed.
The best way to check that your system is set up correctly to use Adobe Connect is to go to the Meeting Connection Diagnostic page, which will let you know if you are set up correctly and suggest what to do if you are not.
To use Adobe Connect, students and tutors only require a browser plug-in; you do not need to download or purchase the Adobe Connect software.
To be able to hear other group members you will need speakers or headphones connected to your PC. In order for others to be able to hear you speaking you will need a microphone or a headset with an integrated microphone.
You will be able to see video of your tutor in the tutorial room, but if you want to appear in video form yourself you will need a webcam set up on your PC. Instructions for setting up your system to allow you to broadcast audio and video are covered below.
If you intend to log in from more than one PC, i.e. from home and from work, you will need to make sure that these steps are followed for any PC that you use.
Joining your tutorial
Meetings using Adobe Connect will be listed in the Calendar and the Upcoming events block on your course homepage. At the planned time click on Tutorial room from the top block on your course homepage and log in using the email address you provided when you registered for the course and the password you were sent for accessing the course website provided in your course joining instructions.
Because the Tutorial room and your course website are separate sites, changing your password for the course website will not change it for the Tutorial room.
When you have logged in you will see the home page (above). This page is where you will see a list of the meetings you can enter. Click on My Profile to change your profile details, including your password. To enter a meeting click Open located next to the name of the meeting.
Set up your audio
To broadcast audio, click Connect my Audio, which you will find by clicking on the arrow next to the microphone icon in the navigation bar (note that you will only see this icon if your host has enabled audio for you). When you start broadcasting audio, you will see the microphone icon change colour and become green. To stop broadcasting audio click Disconnect My Microphone, which you will find by clicking the arrow next to the microphone icon. (When you stop broadcasting audio, you will notice that the microphone icon in the navigation bar will change colour from green back to white.)
Single speaker mode: the meeting host/presenter can set this mode by selecting Enable Single Speaker Mode in the Audio menu. If this feature is on, the microphone icon will look like this: Clicking this icon means that you block out the presenter’s broadcast to all attendees, so you should only use this option if told to by your tutor.
Roles in the Tutorial room
Host: A host sets up the meeting, invites the participants, chooses the content, and assigns both presenter and participant roles to the attendees. A host can also perform all of the same actions as a presenter. Your tutor will usually be the meeting host.
Presenter: A presenter can broadcast live audio and video, chat, customise the meeting room layout (moving and hiding pods) and can present content to other attendees, such as PowerPoint slides, web pages etc.
Participant: A participant can view content being presented and audio and video broadcasts. Participants can also use text-based chat. As a student you will normally be set up with the role of a participant. However the host or presenter can also choose to give you additional rights so that you are able to do the following:
- Broadcast audio and video
- Share documents
- Annotate documents
- Make notes which are visible to all attendees.
The main meeting area
The main meeting area is where your online meeting will take place and can be laid out in a variety of ways depending on the aims of the meeting. The main meeting area is comprised of a number of pods, which are similar to the blocks on the course homepage. The main difference with pods is that they can be moved around, minimised, maximised and even hidden as the meeting takes place. How much of an effect you can have on the meeting area depends on your role and the rights that you have.
The screen layout
There are several default layouts which can be used and the host/presenter can also customise the layout of the meeting area themselves, so you may find that the layout changes depending on the presenter and the aims of the meeting. Although the layout is liable to change, there are a limited number of pods which can be used.
The Attendees pod lists everyone who is logged into the meeting at that time. Attendees are grouped by role. The icon to the left of the name also indicates whether people are set up as hosts, presenters or participants. During the meeting different rights may be assigned by the host and when this occurs you will see names move to their newly assigned role.
The Video pod broadcasts a video feed. If you’ve been given broadcast rights, you will see Start My Webcam in the middle of the pod. Clicking this button will show you a preview screen; click Start Sharing to begin the broadcast of your video feed.
When you start broadcasting video you will see the webcam icon in the navigation bar change colour and become green. To stop broadcasting video click Stop My Webcam at the top of the pod. (When you stop broadcasting video, you will notice that the webcam icon in the navigation bar will change colour from green back to white.)
The pause button can be found at the bottom right corner of the Video pod and stops broadcasting video and just displays an image of the last frame to be sent by your webcam instead. When you pause your video, the pause button changes to a play button and you can click this at any time to start broadcasting video again. If there are participants with slow network connections then the meeting host/presenter may pause the video feed.
For further options, click the Menu icon in the top right hand corner of the Video pod.
The Chat pod is for simple text-based chat. You type your message in the box at the bottom of the Chat pod and press the enter key, or click the button to the right of the text entry box, to post your message. The default is to chat to everybody, but you can choose to restrict your chat to just the presenter or to other attendees by clicking on the menu icon on the top right hand corner of the pod and selecting who you wish to chat with from the ‘Start Chat With’ option.
The Notes pod may be used by the host/presenter to make notes that all participants can see. It remains visible in a Notes pod throughout the meeting or until a presenter edits the note or displays a different note.
The Poll pod allows the host/presenter to poll attendees on the answer to a question. You may be able to select single or multiple answers and the poll remains open until the presenter closes it. The results can then be broadcast to all participants. You can see your answers and the overall results, but only the presenter can see how all participants voted.
The Q & A pod allows the host/presenter to answer questions posted by attendees. When a presenter answers a question, the question and answer appear as a pair in the Q & A pod. Hosts can choose to give participants enhanced rights, allowing them to answer questions as well.
The Share pod is used to share and collaborate. The Share pod allows the host/presenter to share a range of files, as well as make their computer screen visible to attendees, and can therefore be used to demonstrate a software application or display a document. The host/presenter can also launch a collaborative whiteboard.
The whiteboard function allows the host/presenter to create a blank whiteboard, or to overlay a whiteboard onto another document, so that they can be annotated. If you have been given rights to edit the whiteboard, you will see a set of tools for writing and drawing on the screen at the side of the pod.
You may find that there are several different types of Share pod open at any one time, sharing different types of document, including:
- Files: allows the host/presenter to upload and share files with participants. Meeting participants cannot upload files; participants who want to upload files should ask the host to change their attendee role or to grant enhanced rights for the Files pod.
- Web Links: allows the host/presenter to enter a URL which is displayed as a link in the pod for all participants to click on.
During the meeting
At the top of the Tutorial room is an icon called Set Status. Clicking on the arrow next to the icon displays the following list:
These options are useful for giving a clear and simple message to the host/presenter, or to other participants. For example your tutor may ask you to use the Raise hand status if you wish to ask a question during a tutorial.
Built-in help features
Adobe Connect has comprehensive support built-in. When in the Tutorial room, use the Help button at the top right of the screen to view the different Help options. If you wish to know more about a specific pod, use the Help link, which can be found in the Pod Options menu at the top of each pod window.
There is no single correct way in which to use the Tutorial room and you may find that each of your tutors prefers to use it in a different way. We envisage that as a group you will develop your own working methods over the time of the course. It may take a little time to become accustomed to working together in this environment.