WPI is making the switch to a new web conferencing tool!

Since 2008, WPI has been supporting Wimba Classroom for its campus web conferencing needs.   However, a couple years ago, Blackboard, which powers our myWPI system, acquired Wimba and also another web conferencing tool used in higher education, Elluminate.   As part of the acquisition, Blackboard is phasing out Wimba (and Elluminate) and has rolled out a new tool called Blackboard Collaborate.   Due to the differences in interface design, and also the change in feature sets, WPI did not participate in the initial migration to Blackboard Collaborate when it was first rolled out last year.   Instead, we decided to stick with Wimba for academic year 2012-13 while we evaluated synchronous vendors to determine whether WPI’s web conferencing needs have changed.  A committee was organized with members from the faculty, staff, and student populations to represent the variety of ways web conferencing is being used at WPI to support program outreach, distance learning, virtual office hours, virtual tutoring, information sessions or program marketing, and group collaboration.   This committee reviewed several vendor tools, while ultimately deciding that the new tool had to meet several requirements (in no particular order of importance): cross-platform compatibility, integration with Blackboard/myWPI, support for both VOIP and telephony connections, mobile device compatibility, and the ability to set up and collect event registrations.   Of the tools evaluated, Adobe Connect met all of WPI’s web conferencing needs and the recommendation was made that at the beginning of FY14, WPI move to this new tool.

So where do we stand?   As of today, we are still working with Adobe to set up our Connect implementation.   We expect to be online very soon and at that time, the TTL team will be conducting more formal outreach to the campus to announce the transition.   For our current Wimba users, however, we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to download and save any Wimba recordings that you have saved in Wimba before Blackboard takes our Wimba server offline at the end of our contract (June 30, 2013).   For that reason, we are including instructions below so that you can download any recordings that you would like saved in mp4 video format.

From myWPI:

  1. Access the course/organization site where your recordings presently live.
  2. Navigate to Course/Organization Tools > Wimba Classroom.
  3. Under the List of Rooms and Archives, you will see a Download mp4 button for any recordings (archives) that exist.
    Download mp4 from myWPI
  4. Clicking this button will send the recording into a queue to be processed for download on the server.   You will receive a message indicating that the process may take several minutes.   Note that the server can only process two recordings at a time, so it could several hours for your media to generate.
  5. To check whether your download is ready, simply check back later following steps 1-4.   Instead of receiving the message that your download is being processed, your browser will launch its download manager.
  6. Save the file to your computer.

Saving a Higher Quality Archive Format from myWPI

  1. Access the course/organization site where your recordings presently live.
  2. Navigate to Course/Organization Tools > Wimba Classroom.
  3. Under the List of Rooms and Archives, click the pencil icon for Settings.
  4. Scroll down to Section 4: Portable Media Settings and expand the section.
  5. Under Encoding Quality, select the option for High Quality.  (Default is Standard.)
  6. Repeat the steps from the first section to queue processing for the higher-quality media file.

 

Downloading from the Admin Portal:

    1. Log in to the portal at http://wpiclassroom.wimba.com/admin
    2. Navigate to Archives and locate the desired recording in the Archive Management list.
    3. Click the link for the archive to bring you to the Modify Archive page.
    4. Navigate to Media Settings and click Download mp4.
    5. Clicking this button will send the recording into a queue to be processed for download on the server.   You will receive a message indicating that the process may take several minutes.   Note that the server can only process two recordings at a time, so it could several hours for your media to generate.
    6. To check whether your download is ready, simply check back later following steps 1-5.   Instead of receiving the message that your download is being processed, your browser will launch its download manager.   Save the file to your computer.

 

Saving a Higher Quality Archive Format from the Admin Portal

  1. Follow steps 1-4 from the section above.   Prior to clicking Download mp4 within the Archive Media Settings page, scroll down to the Portable Media Section on the page and select the option for High Quality.
  2. Click the Download mp4 button when you are down customizing your mp4 settings.

 

That’s it!   Please make sure you download any recordings that you would like prior to June 30, 2013.   At that time, Blackboard will be taking our server offline and recordings will no longer be accessible.   The ATC will be in touch before then to announce the availability of Adobe Connect.   Please don’t hesitate to reach out to atc-ttl@wpi.edu if you have questions or need assistance!

 

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