E-Learning 2.0 In Brief

Stephen Downes, Teemu Arina, Sept 24, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

So anyhow, I played my first game of golf in 16 years yesterday, a community social afternoon that stretched into a social evening and delayed today's newsletter 24 hours. Meanwhile, at the crack of dawn this morning I was awake and preparing for an online talk with a group put together by Teemu Arina in Finland. What was significant was not the content of the talk (which was a brief version of a talk I gave in Ottawa last week) but how we did it. For the audio, Teemu gave me a call on Skype, which he hooked into some speakers. We then set up a chat window for all the participants using a CGI:IRC he had installed on his server, which "allows you to use Internet Relay Chat from a web browser without having to use Java." For slides, we used S5. As we planned (all this started Wednesday afternoon) we thought it would be neat if I could advance the slides fom my end; 24 hours later the programmers at Teemu's end had whipped together a version of S5 that uses Ajax server calls to coordinate slide advances. And first thing this morning, I rewrote their server code (because it requires BerkeleyDB, which I don't have). It all worked pretty well, considering it's probably the first time anyone has done this; Teemu took some photos. If you want to try it yourself, here's the code Teemu's team put together, and here's my hacked together server code. Sure, you could buy Centra or Elluminate or any of these expensive conferencing systems, or you could it for free, the way we did. Note that if you click on the link above, the slide how may move around on its own as others access it, and you might start on any given page. Hover your mouse on the lower right hand side of the page to see the navigation options.
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