Adobe Connect (formerly known as Breeze)
Review by Denise Kuethe-Strudthoff
Adobe Connect (formerly “Breeze”) is a web-conferencing tool that enables users to connect in real-time with video and audio capabilities. In addition, Adobe Connect allows participants to interact with images and presentations.
Adobe Connect (AC) has 5 main components that can be used interchangeably or each component can be used by another component.
The 5 components are Meeting, Content, Virtual Classroom, Course, and Curriculum. Content allows the instructor to upload documents, images, video, presentations, and URLS. Course allows the instructor to select Content for each course and then to organize it. In Course, you can also decide which content will be shared and which will not be shared. Curriculum organizes the content and the Meetings (which are scheduled by the instructor or host). The Virtual Classroom is the area in which the web conferencing takes place.
The Virtual Classroom reminded me a lot of the GoToMeeting interface:
The screen, document, whiteboard, or course can be shared in the dropdown menu in the Virtual Classroom area. There is also a Pods menu that allows pop out windows for notes, URLs, polls, surveys, and chats while the screen, document, or whiteboard is open.
The roles of the users are host, presenter, and participant. Participants can also present or “take over” the screen; however, the host/presenter must add those permissions to the participants.
The sessions are recordable. When the presenter sets up the training, he/she can determine how long the session will be open.
My Experience with Adobe Connect
I tried the Virtual Classroom with some friends who acted as participants. Setting up accounts for each participant was not difficult but it was time-consuming. But once they are entered into the system, they can be participants in any course. So the time that is invested at the beginning of the process pays dividends later if a participant wants to take a course later.
Recording the sessions was easy—once I found out how to do it. Luckily, their help menu is wonderful and is indexed well. I played back the recording of the session and although I wouldn’t call it high-definition, the playback had the same quality as most streaming video.
Reviews I read on the product said that the whiteboard was one of the best in the industry. I would agree that the whiteboard works well. We didn’t experience any choppiness. When four of us used the whiteboard, we didn’t experience any lag time.
The feature in the Pods menu truly enhanced the learning space. The one I liked the best was the polling. In f2f classes, the use of response systems to check for understanding is becoming a valuable tool, and one that would be hard to give up in an online class. But the Poll option in AC would fill that gap. Participants may also poll. I also like that the Pods menu allowed the user to insert a URL. So, a participant or a teacher can quickly insert a URL that could enhance the online discussion.
- Price is charged monthly; therefore, you don’t have to pay when you don’t need it
- Has whiteboard component
- Uses Flash technology for audio/video/chat/collaboration/demonstration
- Screen share
- Uses small amount of bandwidth
- End-to-end security
- Lots of flexibility for presenters
- Variety of ways users can find help and training; step-by-step instruction available to set up meeting
- Works on all platforms
- Allows desktop share
- Price is charged monthly; therefore, the yearly cost could be prohibitive for educational institutions
- Reliance on Flash may limit the number of portable devices that can access the tool
- Integration of components is outsourced which sometimes results in instability; however, outsourcing lowers the cost of AC
- Inviting others to participate in meetings was burdened with lots of steps and lots of clicking
- Recording online meetings/sessions requires an plugin upgrade (more costly) of the software
- Time limits may restrict use to blended rather than totally online classes
Application of Adobe Connect in an online class
The most obvious use of Adobe Connect would be to use the virtual classroom to deliver an online class or it could also be used in a blended class.
In addition, the web conferencing component would be a place in which students who are working on a project together could meet and discuss in real time.
Or, if the instructor is looking for ways to make the online course more personal, the conferencing component could be used to develop relationships among the students.
The Pod options are great tools for a teacher to differentiate learning as well.
- Students will synthesize their own left brain/right brain quiz results from text form to a self-produced, 30-second video to upload, share and discuss with classmates in the Virtual Classroom of Adobe Connect.
- Using the Virtual Classroom, students will design a 5-minute introductory lesson on how to use their favorite Web 2.0 tool and will differentiate the lesson by using 3 of the Pod tools.