Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro is an awesome service for presenting and collaborating at a distance. Unfortunately, not a lot of people at the University of Denver (and other universities, I’d imagine) have a Connect Pro license and have to look elsewhere for such services. In preparing for the H1N1 Influenza virus, faculty actually have a lot of options beyond setting up a standard Blackboard course. Adobe offers some great free tools to help users collaborate across great distances.
One of the services provided by Adobe is called ConnectNow, which actually shares a lot of functionality with Connect Pro. You won’t be able to conduct an entire class with the service (as it only supports a limited number of connection per room) but you can share your desktop, take control of a student machine to work through a problem, and it includes rich whiteboarding and chat tools.
Couple this with Buzzword, Presentations, and other Acrobat.com tools, and you can easily conduct your course at a distance in the event of student or faculty illness. I’m fortunate enough to have a Connect Pro account and conduct all my office hours through that service.
Today’s faculty have a set of really robust, free tools at our disposal and should take full advantage of whichever ones complement our specific courses.