Web Conferencing in Distance Education

Web Conferencing in Distance Education

M. Michelle Panton (Bemidji State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch116
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Web conferencing is a technology that allows groups of individuals in a variety of diverse locations to communicate and share information without having to leave their desks. It provides features such as whiteboarding, screen sharing, chat, and polling. It eliminates the need to travel, reduces downtime, increases efficiency, and reduces costs. AT&T worked on proofs of concepts and prototypes for personal conferencing systems for 20 years and finally released its product in 1993 (Perey, 2003). Microsoft released NetMeeting in about 1995. Wooley now lists 95 real-time collaboration products and Web sites on his Web site, ThinkofIt.com. The growth of real-time collaboration has grown significantly and been more successful in the last few years, as the CPUs in PCs are faster, the PCs have more memory, and more bandwidth is available and cheaper. Frost and Sullivan’s 2002 report estimates that by 2008, $2 billion will be spent on Web conferencing (as cited by Perey, 2003). This technology allows a business to conduct training simultaneously, globally creating a collaborative learning environment while keeping costs down.

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