Three Options for Recording Elluminate Events

Most LINGOs members know a lot about Eluminate and are aware that Elluminate Live sessions can be recorded and played back.   The record and playback capability enables those who missed a session to view it at their leisure and allows the creation of sessions to be delivered asynchronously.  All of the audio, video, public direct messages, polls and quizzes, whiteboard content and annotations, multimedia, as well as every shared application in the main room, is recorded and played back in perfect synchronization.

What most people don’t know is that there are three options for recording Elluminate Events:

1. Recording events to the Elluminate Virtual Conference Recording (VCR) Library:   Supervisors can choose to record their sessions and they will be stored automatically to the Elluminate Virtual Conference Recording (VCR) library.  These recordings are stored in a proprietary format known as Virtual Conference Recording (VCR.)   They are configured to play using the Elluminate Live interface and the file is streamed to users, so playback may begin when a small portion of the file is received.  These files are highly compressed and are designed to play well in low-bandwidth environments.   This option, however, has several downsides:

a.  The recordings are only accessible on-line and cannot be viewed by users without internet connections;
b.  The recordings cannot be edited and they are only available in a propietary format that requires a Java plug-in to view
c.  The recordings are resident on the Elluminate site and cannot be shared  or embedded in other content or on other pages

2. Transfer Elluminate VCR Files to the Elluminate Publish Format:   Elluminate Publish! allows users to convert Elluminate Live! recordings into formats that no longer require a web connection.  For example, using this application, you can create standalone recordings that can be sent to your learners around the world via CD-ROM, e-mail attachments or loaded as files to your intranet – no more wondering whether your user in Swaziland has the bandwidth to view your session recording off of the server.   Elluminate Publish! Allows users to create a standalone multimedia recording that preserves interactiviry or a video file in a variety of industry-standard formats: AVI, FLV, MP3, standard MP4, high definition MP4, OGG, VORBIS, Wav and WMV.

One of the many ways that the Elluminate company supports the work of LINGOs member agencies is by providing access to Elluminate Publish! licenses at the considerably reduced prices. For more information, visit the Elluminate Publish! section of the LINGOs website.

3. Transfer Elluminate VCR Files Using Camtasia:   Users can also convert their Elluminate Live recordings using the Camtasia Studio or SnagIt applications.  The Camtasia application allows users to convert the file into a format so that it can be edited, combined with other recordings and indexed into a SCORM-compliant format.  Like the Publish application, the Camtasia product can output a number of different formats, including: AVI, SWF, MWV, MOV, FLV, RM and GIF. For more information on how to use Camtasia to convert Elluminate recording files, visit the following link

Many LINGOs member agencies who would like to transfer their VCR files into other formats, but who would prefer not to complete the process in-house.  In these cases, agencies can contact LINGOs for assistance.  LINGOs provides fee for service assistance to member agencies who would like to transfer VCR files into other formats.  Contact mike(at)lingos.org for details.

Advertisements

Integrate Teleconferencing in Your Elluminate Live! Session

Elluminate has released version 9 of its Live! On-Line Classroom application and it has added a number of outstanding features!  One in particular, is the addition of integrated teleconferencing to your Elluminate Live! session.  Now, when you set up your Elluminate session, you have the option of managing audio via VoIP, teleconference, or a blended approach that includes both VoIP users and teleconference participants!!  (note:  the teleconferencing phone number must be located in North America.) 

I have experimented with the teleconference integration and it works wonderfully!  For those of you who have wondered how to engage a group of training participants in an Elluminate session while they are gathered around a single computer – here is your answer!

If you are interested in testing out this functionality, you must first log in to your Elluminate account and select the button to SCHEDULE A MEETING.   Then, select the button SHOW DEFAULT SESSION FIELDS at which point, you can schedule your meeting, but be sure to select the version choice of 9.0 SLL INT (tip:  once you have selected this version, click the SAVE CURRENT SETTINGS AS DEFAULTS button so that all future meetings default to version 9.0.)

Now you are ready to go!  Elluminate has great support materials that explain how to set up your next session using a teleconference utility.  I followed those instructions and was able to set up a session with integrated telephony within minutes. 

I did, however, run into one snag in getting my teleconference utility to log in correctly to Elluminate.  My free conference call utility requires that I call a number, enter a pin, AND then respond to a confirmation query that my pin number is correct.  Elluminate has anticipated this challenge and has designed a process that allows your Elluminate session to automatically navigate through a multiple code input sequence.  The guidance to solve this challenge is not immediately “findable” on the site, so I am linking to the support URL hereIMPORTANT:  This support URL  provides the key to working with a number of conference call utilities that require multiple input codes.

LINGOs’ Support Strategy for Elluminate

One of the most popular learning tools employed by LINGOs members is Elluminate Live!  To date, LINGOs members have used the Elluminate on-line classroom to host over 3,200 sessions.  On any given day, staff members from all over the world sign on to learn how to do their work more efficiently and more effectively.  Tomorrow, for example, learners will log in from Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.  Who knows where we will reach in the future! 

As adoption of the tool increases, LINGOs member agency staff have questions about all aspects of the IntraLearn LMS, including:   “What orientation resources can they access?”  “Is there training for Participants? Moderators?” “What usage reports can LINGOs member agencies access?”  “What if I need help troubleshooting?”  “What if I lose my passoword?”

The LINGOs Support Strategy for Elluminate Live provides an easily accessible repository for all these questions and more.  This knowledge base will evolve and expand over time.   Furthermore, if there are any points that are not covered in the strategy, add a comment to this blog post and we will address the topic.

Playing Video in Elluminate Live!

I have been long aware of a feature in Elluminate Live that allows the facilitator to play video clips during on-line synchronous events.  While the feature intrigued me, I hadn’t found the time to experiment with the feature functionality until today.  While I do not have definitive results from my testing, I will share some of my observations from today’s experience.

During today’s event, I wanted to push out a video clip of debriefing interviews with iNGO staff who attended a recent project manager training in Uganda.  The video clip was large (27MB) and was published in an .mp4 format (one of several file formats supported by Elluminate, including *.swf, *.mpg, *.mpe, *.mpeg, *.qt, *.mov, *.m4v, *.mp4.)

 

I signed into the Elluminate event about a half hour early and uploaded the video file into the Elluminate room.  As I began to upload the file, I received the multimedia warning message displayed in the image below.  While I was quick to close the window, I later realized the importance of the message (more to come on this later.)

 

The 27MB video took about 5 minutes for me to upload to the room (I would recommend that you try to compress your video clips into a smaller file size if possible.)  What I didn’t realize when I first started the process, however, was that each participant entering the room, would need to buffer that content on their machine.  The buffering process started automatically when each participant entered the room and worked without any problems.  However, I recommend that you NOT plan to share a video as the first activity you conduct when facilitating an event, as the video files need a few minutes to buffer (in this case about 3 minutes.) As a moderator, I could monitor the progress status of the video buffering process on participants’ machines via an LED indicator that switched from red to green when everyone’s video clips were loaded. 

So, how did the experiment turn out?  Regrettably, the results were mixed.  The video displayed successfully on three computers, and failed to launch on three others.  Why?  I can’t be absolutely certain, but I am almost positive that the inconsistent performance is related to the warning message I received when initially loading my content – “Participants must have appropriate media players installed to view these files.”

Each of the workstations that successfully launched the video had QuickTime Version 7.4.5 or higher.  Conversely, at least one of the computers that failed to launch the video had an older version of QuickTime Player (version 6.5.) 

On the workstations that launched the video successfully, the functionality was strong (admittedly they had good internet connections.)  The quality of video was excellent, sound was clear as a bell, and there were no latency effects.  The successful examples made me excited about the potential for using video as a facilitation element of Elluminate events.  The caveat, however, is that moderators need to ensure that meeting participants have updated versions of QuickTime Player before they begin the session.

Which leads to the next logical question, “how do I ensure that participants have updated media players?”   Do not assume that passing the Three Step Set Up process found at www.elluminate.com/support/ will ensure that Elluminate event participants have the required media players to access video.  That Set Up process does NOT check the version of QuickTime Player.  Instead, I recommend that moderators share the LINGOs Plug-in test link instead – which will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the workstations Quick Time player plug in.  For more information about playing video files in Elluminate Live, see Elluminate’s Multimedia Playback documentation at:  http://www.elluminate.com/support/docs/Multimedia-Configuration.pdf