Virtual classrooms - how can we use them?

I’d like to use this thread to discuss possible virtual classroom software and it’s uses in meetings.

What are they?
Virtual classrooms are geared towards remote teaching, and so are subtly different to conference calls.

In particular, they have:

  • moderation and privacy controls (preventing chat, muting)
  • audience polling / questions
  • a whiteboard, or drawing space, to answer ad hoc questions
  • the ability to share presentations (such that users can download them and flick through locally)
  • the ability to create small breakout groups
  • an ideal world, should we ever have the resources, they also should have the ability to add live captions.

While these make passable virtual conferencing tools, they’re geared towards interactive teaching in a virtual environment. We’re using them at ScalaBridge, as well as London Scala User Group workshops.

I currently work for Blackboard, and have free use of their Collaborate tool for the London Scala User Group, but only on my personal account. I’ve asked for free use for all Scala meetups on behalf of the ScalaCenter, and got a promising response, but nothing concrete yet.

Let me know if you’d like to try it out - I can set up a classroom for you to play with.

There are also other virtual classrooms out there, and I’m sure some of them are free for not for profits.

Points we could talk about:

  • can you see a use for these in your meetup / conference?
  • how can this be paired with other software (e.g. VSCode LiveShare) for a better remote coding experience?
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