Virtual Classroom Tools, Apache Openmeetings

by Iman Fiqrie@William E Hamilton

For many institutions of higher learning, it’s been difficult to crack the code on virtual classrooms, how to acquire and use them; many of the big learning management systems (LMS) themselves use only a few of them, many are Open Source. The two big ones that come to mind are Big Blue Button and Openmeetings.

Openmeetings was an Open Source project that was taken over by the Apache Openmeetings Project and is a robust virtual environment that can do public, private and personal virtual rooms. There are webinar rooms that can accommodate up to 100 users; conference rooms for 1 – 16 or 32 users; public interview rooms; video or microphone only rooms, restricted rooms and more. The real question is how

to use and incorporate this virtual environment into mainstream training or business. Apache Openmeetings (AOM) can be “plugged into” (plugin) such LMS as Moodle, Blackboard and others for an enhanced experience. Virtual space can be also used to provide virtual services.

As security is a concern, AOM can be configured with its own built in database, logon security (LDAP and OAuth2). It also considers backups and multiple server instances as well. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to install, compile and implement- more than two to three days for a real web developer Ninja. I’ve installed it on my server only just recently. Overall, a great choice for any virtual experience!

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