Adobe Connect Professional as a Meeting Tool

Adobe Connect Professional is a video conferencing application including desktop and document sharing. Hosting the sessions requires the software to have been acquired and installed but participating only requires an up-to-date web browser with Adobe Flash Player.

Requirements

Connect Pro works through the Flash Player, which if not installed, you can download at Adobe's download pages.

Minimum bandwidth requirement in practice has turned out to be around 256 kb/s. You can check your connection speed in Connect Pro from Help-> Troubleshooting which opens in a web browser. Presenters need a minimum bandwidth of DSL/Cable (wired connection is recommended). When screen sharing, a 1 GHz processor is recommended. Participants can get by with a minimum bandwidth requirement of 56 kb/s but if screensharing is used, 200-400 kb/s is recommended.

For using camera and voice, you need a web camera and preferably a headset with a microphone, as using loudspeakers may cause echos. Adobe has a video on choosing a microphone. When a group is using Connect Pro collectively in one place, one should choose a good quality desktop microphone, like the ClearOne Chat 150, and adjust the audio settings accordingly in the Audio Setup Wizard. More information in Finnish on choosing a microphone is available at the HY wiki ACP-pages.

More information on system requirements is available at Adobe's Connect Pro system requirements page. causes of low blood pressure

Instructions

Here are brief instructions to get started. More help and guides can be found at the Adobe Connect Documentation pages. The university also has its own wiki pages on Connect Pro.

Additionally, there are the Connect Pro and Breeze Meeting resource centers. Breeze is an older version of Connect Pro, but the basic functions and look of the program is very similar, and there are lots of video guides and best practice articles available, among others a quick start video going through many of the main points documented here as well.

Different roles: participant, presenter, host, meeting organizer

Participant
Participants may enter the meeting room but they have only limited access to take part in the meeting through the chat. They have no voice or video inabled.
Presenter
Presenters have voice and video enabled, and can share their screen with others as well. Presenters however can't change settings in the meeting room.
Host
Hosts have all the rights of presenters as well as additional rights to change the layout and bandwidth of the meeting room, to record the meeting, change user roles, etc.
Meeting organizer
Meeting organizers are hosts that have the rights to start new meeting rooms and allocate rights and roles to those rooms for other registered users. At the moment (spring/summer 2008) we don't have integration with ldap, so not all university users are registered, and there are only a handful of meeting organizers (of which a list here). There is however a general account in use at our department that you can inquire about from e-learning support, currently Henna-Riikka Laitinen.

Info about the different user roles and rights is available in Finnish at the HY wiki ACP-pages.

Participants and Presenters

Before the meeting

  1. Go to the URL provided by the host.
  2. Log in using your (preferably full) name.
  3. Follow the advice provided by the host if available.
  4. In the Meeting menu, select Audio Setup Wizard and go through it. If problems arise during a meeting, you may need to adjust the advanced settings accessible on the last page. See the troubleshooting section for more info.
  5. If you have presenter rights, enable your camera and microphone by clicking the button in the lower left corner of the Camera and Voice pod.

Humac has a video on using the =Audio Setup Wizard= with Finnish instructions.

During the meeting

  1. To speak, press and hold the Talk button. For longer speeches, press the lock icon at the right edge of the button.
  2. For silent communication, use the Chat pod to talk to either everyone or a single person at a time.
  3. If you are a presenter and need to share your screen, check the instructions on screen sharing in Managing the meeting.

Host

Creating the meeting

  1. Log in to your administrative account at http://connectpro.helsinki.fi/.
  2. Go to Meetings and choose Shared Meetings. This ensures that other language technology meeting organizers can see your meetings as well.
  3. Enter the Kieliteknologia subdirectory. Here you can see a list of already established language technology meetings.
  4. Click New Meeting and enter the information required.
    1. Name: Choose a descriptive name for the meeting, e.g. name of the course.
    2. Custom URL: It's good to provide an easy to remember url for the meeting room.
    3. Summary: You can provide a description here about what the meeting room is for.
    4. Start Time and Duration: Usually the meeting rooms are kept open indefinitely, so these don't really play a significant role, and you can leave them as they are. As long as you never choose End Meeting in the Meeting menu, the meeting will stay open.
    5. Select Template: There are some different meeting templates available, you can choose one that you think corresponds to your needs, but you can also edit the meeting environment later on.
    6. Language: English, as there is no Finnish version available.
    7. Access: Because at the moment so few are registered users, it's best to choose the latter option that anyone with the url can enter the room.
  5. Click Finish. You can later edit this information in the Edit Information tab of the meeting.
  6. If you want to add additional hosts to the meeting, you can do so in the Edit Participants tab.
    1. Search for the user you want to add in the left-han *d window, choose the user, and click Add.
    2. Now choose the user in the right-hand window and click Set User Role to select Host.
  7. Enter the meeting and set up the layouts and other preferences.
  8. Send the meeting URL to the participants.

Information in Finnish on creating a meeting at the HY ACP wiki.

An Adobe video on creating a meeting. The interface of our current version differs slightly at the beginning, but in any case you need to remember to first access Shared Meetings and create your meeting there!

Managing the meeting, Screen sharing

  1. Admit the incoming participants to the meeting. If the meeting is open, assess the appropriateness of the joining participants.
  2. If the participants will need voice and video, check that Auto-Promote Participants to Presenters in the Meeting menu is on, or promote each participant individually through the button on the lower left-hand corner of the Attendee List pod.
  3. Monitor the chat for technical and content questions.
  4. Share your desktop or selected applications or windows with the participants.
    1. Click the Share button in the lower left corner of the Share pod.
    2. Select My Computer Screen.
    3. Choose the window/application you want to share or the whole desktop.
    4. Accept Control requests from participants when appropriate.
    5. If sharing the whole desktop, preferably keep the active window in full screen.
  5. You can also choose to use notes, polls and file sharing, available through the Pods menu.

Check out the tips on screen sharing.

Adobe has an illustrative tutorial video on screen sharing, as well as a best practice article on screen sharing, with different strategies to optimize the load on the bandwidth.

Recording a meeting

  1. In the meeting room, select Record Meeting in the Meeting menu.
  2. Give a descriptive name for the meeting and click OK.
  3. A red dot should appear in the upper right hand corner of the meeting room.
  4. When done, hover your mouse over the red dot, and you can select to stop recording in the box that appears. Or, you can de-select Record Meeting in the Meeting menu.
  5. The recordings are saved in the Recordings tab of the meeting room, which you can access by logging in to your account.
  6. To make the recordings visible for others, access the recordings in the Recordings tab, and move them to the kieliteknologia shared content folder.
    1. Check the box in front of the recording name, and click the Move To Folder button.
    2. The default is your own content folder, so you'll need to change that to Shared Content, and below that, Kieliteknologia. If there is a matching subfolder, you can choose that, or organize the recordings later by accessing Shared Content and creating a new folder.
    3. Click Move, and then OK.

HY ACP wiki page in Finnish on recordings.

Adobe best practice article on recording a meeting, including how to start and stop recording.

Using recordings on web courses

You can record your lectures and link to them later on your course pages, or you can make short recordings on specific topics for web courses. Illustrating the topic and giving demo examples is easy with screen sharing. Follow the directions for recording in Recording a meeting and screen sharing in Managing the meeting.

It is probably best to navigate to what it is you want to share, then start the recording in ConnectPro, and then start sharing. You should automatically pop out of ConnectPro and to the window you're sharing, and an icon should appear in the lower right-hand task bar. Right-clicking on this icon will let you choose to end sharing, and this will pop you back into ConnectPro, where you can stop recording.

Tip: Because the recording is not a simple video, you can also utilize it to share a file, which can be then downloaded through the File Share pod when watching the recording.

The Adobe best practice article on recording a meeting has some good tips on creating captivating recordings. There is also a video with useful tips on using a camera, how to set it so you're "facing the audience", what to wear, lighting, etc.

Tips

Screen Sharing

Screensharing takes up a lot of bandwidth so it is advisable to consider alternatives especially to sharing the entire desktop. It's preferable to share only an application or window, or use FlashPaper to convert files to flash format. Lowering the presenter's screen resolution and amount of colors can also help. More tips are available in the Adobe best practice article on screen sharing.

FlashPaper

FlashPaper is a plugin and program that converts various file formats into flash (.swf), making them more usable in Connect Pro. FlashPaper can be downloaded from the university's Connect Pro pages.

Troubleshooting

  • There's no sound.
    • Run the Audio Setup Wizard.
    • Check your computer's volume settings.
    • See if the microphone icon appears on the bottom left corner of the speaker's video window. On your own video window, there's also a green bar indicating the speech volume.
  • The sound is suddenly muted or distorted during the meeting.
    • Try logging out of the session and then back in.
    • Try emptying your browser cache and logging back in.
    • Try logging out of the session, exiting your browser and deleting files under your temporary internet files folder, then logging back in.
    • Try the above, but also delete the saved data from webpages under your Macromedia directory, for example:
      C:\Documents and Settings\"username"\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects
      and
      C:\Documents and Settings\"username"\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\macromedia.com\support\flashplayer\sys
    • Playing some other sound, or muting and un-muting the speaker solves the problem short term, but it tends to come back after a while.
  • Sound quality is low.
    • Check that the right microphone is selected by running the Audio Setup Wizard. Some cameras have an integrated microphone using which is most of the time not the best option.
    • In group situations, check that that the silence level is not set too high. The Audio Setup Wizard default seems to be 10, but for situations where a large group is using the same desktop microphone, this needs to be set significantly lower, e.g. 2. Here's a picture of the right settings which you can access on the last page of the Audio Setup Wizard.
  • There's no video.
    • Check that the right camera is selected by choosing Select Camera in the Meeting menu.
    • Make sure the cameras are enabled. First activate the camera by pressing the button on the bottom left corner of the Camera and voice pod. Then, in the Pod options (the bottom right button), see that Camera Off is not selected.
    • Make sure camera drivers are installed properly.
  • Breaks in audio and freezing during screen sharing due to bandwidth
    • This may be either your bandwidth or the person who is speaking.
    • Ask the speaker to lower their silence level, and take breaks in speaking when scrolling the screen, and maybe use some of the tips on screen sharing.
    • Try turning off the video of individual users by hovering your mouse over their name on the Camera and Voice pod, and clicking the small camera icon that appears.

-- TeroAalto - 01 Nov 2007 -- HennaRiikkaLaitinen - 15 Jul 2008

Topic revision: r13 - 2008-11-21 - HennaRiikkaLaitinen
 
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