As part of the Digital Learning Pilots R & D project, we selected a new synchronous learning platform to power eClass Live. Adobe Connect has been selected as the University of Alberta's centrally supported tool for delivering synchronous courses for digital learning. It supports instructors in all faculties and provides fully mobile synchronous learning experiences to all students, and is integrated with eClass, powered by Moodle. Over the spring and summer terms of 2013, we piloted Adobe Connect in a number of courses and now offer a university-wide production environment for the Fall 2013 term. The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) worked with those instructors who'd used Elluminate previously to migrate them from Elluminate to Adobe Connect, and Elluminate will be de-commissioned in the next two weeks. CTL has offered several free training courses (http://ctl.ualberta.ca/events) during the summer and will continue to offer them in the future. We encourage all synchronous instructors to attend a free training session.
The current synchronous learning tool, eClass Live!, is powered by Elluminate. Elluminate was purchased by Blackboard and discontinued in favour of a new product named Collaborate, based on Elluminate's code. As Elluminate is no longer supported, the University needs to select a new tool to serve as eClass Live!
The University of Alberta has been using Elluminate as its centrally supported synchronous learning tool for a number of years. In July 2010, Blackboard announced the purchase of Elluminate and Wimba, and in December 2012, announced the end of support for Elluminate. This termination of support forces the University to adopt a new synchronous learning tool for eClass Live! The Blackboard Corporation expects Elluminate and Wimba sites to migrate to Blackboard Collaborate.
The selection of this tool has been thought out carefully, and the project flow follows. Current step is emphasized.
As I indicated in my Synchronous Learning Tool Selection Announcement, we have selected Adobe Connect as the University of Alberta's centrally-supported tool for delivering synchronous courses.
Now we are planning to run a small number of pilot courses in Spring and Summer terms. In the Spring term we will use a standalone Adobe Connect server which will be accessed from Moodle links. In the summer term we will have a tighter integration between Moodle and Adobe Connect, although Adobe Connect will still be usable from other Learning Management Systems using links.
Is there an instructor in your unit, with a course offering in Spring or Summer, who is VERY experienced in teaching with specific synchronous tools such as break-out groups, application sharing, polling and allowing students to present their own work using synchronous tool functionality?
Would this instructor be interested in participating as one of a small number of pilots of Adobe Connect in the Spring or Summer term? If so, please ask this person to contact Tashie or me by e-mail by March 28.
We will provide Adobe Connect training for the instructors in April.
The project team will review the list of interested instructors and select a few for each pilot term. Do not worry if your instructor is not selected for one of the pilot terms, as we are still on-track for offering a campus-wide production environment for the Fall term that they will be able to use.
Duane Szafron, VPIT
|EDIT 202||Anwen Burk|
|EDEL 325||Amanda Montgomery|
|MED 543||Holly Huber|
|NURS 301 & INTD 570||Nursing|
|Science Advisement||Julie Naylor|
Thank you for participating as a stakeholder in the Synchronous Learning Tool selection project. There was some urgency to this project since we needed to evaluate the appropriate products in time for a Spring term pilot and Fall term institution-wide production release. We have compiled requirements and evaluated their importance. The project team has seen demos of 5 leading products and we conducted public demos of each of them. We have evaluated the 5 products, based on the requirements and stakeholder responses. The consensus of both the project team and the stakeholders is that two of the products, Adobe Connect and Blackboard Collaborate, are much more suitable for our Synchronous Learning Environment needs than the other three products.
For example the overall average scores from the Stakeholder surveys for each of the five products were:
These relative scores, the comments of the stakeholders, and the evaluations by the core project team has led us to select Adobe Connect as our solution. Although Adobe Connect and Blackboard were both high in the scoring, Adobe Connect was viewed as being much better for current Tablet and Smartphone Support (4.63 versus 3.25) and Application (Desktop) Sharing (4.16 versus 3.58).
The next step for this project is to run a small number of pilot courses in Spring term using Adobe Connect and to prepare a communications and training plan so that we can move to full production mode in time for the Fall term. If you have taught a course using synchronous tools before and would like to participate in one of the Spring term pilots, please send Tashie an e-mail. Although we can only run a few pilots in the Spring, we need to run some so we can gather valuable user feedback before the Fall term. Please monitor the project website for further information. However, we will also send an e-mail about training during the spring/summer.
Thank you for filling out the requirements survey, for attending the public demos and for filling out the evaluations surveys for each product, and completing the final survey to rate them. In summary, thank you for participating in this project!
Frequently asked questions are addressed, and you are encouraged to ask others at and they will be added to the FAQ page.
There will be regular communications to the community on the progress of the migration.
Note that the selection of a new synchronous learning tool only affects the centrally supported LMS. Use of the central synchronous tool is not mandated.