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Thursday, March 7, 2013

What are reasonably priced, and professional quality, technology/service options for hosting a real-time seminar? What are the pros/cons? (e.g. join.me, gotomeeting etc)

I just answered a question on Quora.com about the best software for hosting webinars. Quora.com is a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users. I answer questions about e-learning, Moodle, and Blackboard.

I'll reproduce the question and answer below.

Question:What are reasonably priced, and professional quality, technology/service options for hosting a real-time seminar? What are the pros/cons? (e.g. join.me, gotomeeting etc)

  • There will be 20-40 remote participants each in a separate location
  • I will be using powerpoint slides and will speak to those slides.
  • I would like to be able to interact with the participants in a controlled way.
  • I have a good broadband connection. I have a webcam.
  • Most if not all remote participants will have a reasonable broadband connection. 

My answer: join.me versus meetingburner.com versus gotomeeting.com, plus Google Hangouts

I have run classes using http://meetingburner.com and http://gotomeeting.com. I have attended a class given on http://join.me. I found that meetingburner had the best balance of features and ease of use.

GotoMeeting has lots of features, but its interface is sometimes confusing for first-time users. Join.me is dead simple to use, but it lacks the ability to record your meeting, and it doesn't integrate with a payment system.

Meetingburner let me record a session, and then download the recording so I have it even if Meetingburner goes out of business. It also has built-in options to quickly share the recording to Youtube. Also, Meetingburner integrates with PayPal so you can charge for your course and the application takes care of the usernames/passwords/payments. These features are with the Pro level, which is $40 per month.

Also, don't forget Google Hangouts. It's free. You can share your screen, record your session, and share files on your Google Drive. Why not convert your PowerPoint presentation to a Google Presentation, and share it during a Hangout? If you require the people in your class to get a Google account, you can add them to your Circles and use G+ to share with them in between sessions.

In sum, I think Meetingburner is the easiest solution, and Google+ is the cheapest solution.  With work, Google+ can provide intriguing possibilities for sharing and keeping in touch with your students.


If you'd like to read the other questions that I've answered on Quora, or just click around the e-learning and Moodle sections, or you can click through to my Quora profile

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