Thing 9 for 23 Things is about digital communication tools. Specifically looking at Google Hangouts and Collaborate Ultra. Collaborate Ultra is part of the Blackboard learning management system (LMS). Unfortunately, my institution uses a different LMS, so I am not able to play around with this tool. However, Google Hangouts is free to use and access with a Google (gmail) account.
Previous Use of Google Hangouts
Previously, I have used the chat and video chat features of Google to collaborate with colleagues for group assignments and research projects. Currently, I am only using it to chat with one colleague on a research project. It’s been a useful tool. The only reason I do not use it more is simply due to the abundance of other texting/chatting options out there. Very few people I know use Google Hangouts, so it’s just not one that I use often.
One feature that I came across through the readings for Thing 9 was the ability to broadcast. This is especially intriguing to me as I have recently been looking at finding a tool to host webinars. The one that has been recommended to me often is Zoom.us. I like Zoom, but the cost specifically for hosting webinars was a little steep on my student budget.
It appears that Google Hangouts On Air is now part of Youtube Live. Meaning it would be free to use and access. I need to look into this tool a little more to ensure I would be able to enable screen sharing for slides. Otherwise, there is a Q&A section or chat section where participants could interact with the presenter. I will have to set up a time with a few colleagues to test this tool out.
I know that in the past we have tried to use the tool for broadcasting events within our student association, but due to the nature of these events being in person and broadcasted online there was a lag for those online and a good quality microphone and camera would be needed. Things we didn’t have so we didn’t opt to use Google. However, for webinars that are solely online, with a presenter in front of their computer, this might work very well. I’m excited and curious to try it out!