Wimba Classroom in Under 5 Minutes

The following is a transcript of the "Wimba Classroom in Under 5 Minutes" multimedia presentation available here.

Welcome to the Quick Tip “Wimba Classroom in Under 5 Minutes”.

I’m Stephanie Richter, Instructional Technologies Coordinator for the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at Northern Illinois University. This presentation will give you a quick introduction to Wimba Classroom, including what it is, how to participate in a Wimba session, and some ways you can use Wimba in your classroom.

So what exactly is Wimba Classroom? It is an online collaboration suite that allows you to have meaningful and memorable interactions with your students, without meeting face-to-face. Wimba Classroom is integrated with Blackboard, so it is easy to incorporate it into your classes.

Wimba Classroom allows you to communicate synchronously with live two-way audio and video, as well as with text. You can deliver PowerPoint presentations and embed polls, quizzes, and surveys. Use desktop and application sharing to demonstrate a program running on your computer. Wimba even has a whiteboard that is great for creating diagrams and adding annotations to slides.

You may be asking “what do I need to do to use Wimba Classroom?” Well, first, you need to have a course already created in Blackboard. Then, go to this link to request access to Wimba Classroom for that course.

You will need a microphone to speak with the web interface. If you don’t have a microphone, you can use the telephone number and passcode that are generated whenever a Wimba Classroom is created. If you want to use video, you will need to have a webcam, as well.

Finally, you can run the Wimba setup wizard at this link. You can also access the wizard on the splash page every time you enter a Wimba session. The wizard checks your computer’s settings and hardware to ensure that it is compatible with Wimba. It is a good idea to have your students run this wizard before entering their first Wimba session.

Let’s take a moment to go over Wimba’s interface.

This is the Content Frame. Any visuals for the session will display here.

To the right is the Presenter’s Console. Only the presenter can see the Presenter’s Console. From here you can load and control content, start application sharing, and create Breakout Rooms for small group discussion.

Below the Content Frame is the Media Bar. The colored bars indicate how strong your connection is. Click and hold the Talk button when you want to talk using your microphone. Click the telephone if you need to view the phone number for the session.

Next is the Text Chat Area. Type in the field to send a message to the Main Room or select a specific participant from the drop down menu to send a private message.

The Participant Area lists everyone who is currently a part of the session. At the very bottom, you can use the status bar to change your status. Click the checkmark or the X to answer yes or no. Click on the hand to raise your hand and ask for the leader’s attention. The last button allows you to select an emoticon that indicates your mood. In some cases, this adds a message to the Text Chat Area, as well.

Finally, at the far right is the Branding Frame. By default this displays the NIU logo, but you can update this to display a different image, like your photograph.

How can you use Wimba Classroom in one of your own courses? There are a wide variety of uses, and faculty come up with more all the time. The most common way to use Wimba is for online discussions. You can hold class without requiring everyone to come to campus. Another common application is to use Wimba to hold weekly office hours. You may want to give guest access to an expert to have a guest lecture. Wimba is also a great tool to facilitate group discussions and group projects.

The development of the third generation of clickers is currently underway. This technology uses laptops and PDAs instead of handheld response pads as student response devices. And the data is transmitted via a wireless network that laptops and PDAs connect to.

Need more information? The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center provides online tutorials, handouts, and face-to-face workshops that address the use of Wimba Classroom in greater detail. Visit the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center website at www.niu.edu/facdev/ for more information about upcoming programs and resources for NIU faculty and staff.

You can also find more information on Blackboard and Wimba Classroom at www.niu.edu/blackboard/.

Finally, Wimba Classroom’s developers have additional documentation, short demonstrations, and free training sessions at www.wimba.com/support/instructors.php.

Last Updated: 9/10/2014