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I am looking at running virtual classroom sessions over the web. The thing is I need the following to be satisfied:

  1. I use Ubuntu and my students may use anything
  2. Ideally this is browser-driven but not a requirement.
  3. It should have a whiteboard, audio (video is a plus)
  4. I will need the students to see my GEdit and browser screens as I type.

I've already seen one called wiziq.com but this is only for Windows.

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Remote desktop viewer is not an option for you? Combine it with skype and I think you should be ready. I may be wrong, though ... –  Richard Rodriguez Jan 13 '12 at 12:10
    
@RiMMER I'm afraid it's not. For one thing I don't have a static IP and honestly I've never been successful with it. And adding Skype to that for voice may require a lot of bandwidth. I'm not sure but I just think so. And skype with conference facilities is not cheap either. –  itsols Jan 13 '12 at 12:43
    
How about a G+ hangout with extras?, allows for screensharing/drawing board/video/audio and bunch of other stuff too. –  nitstorm Jan 13 '12 at 14:11
    
Thanks @nitstorm for your input. Even my basic gmail-based voice/video chat doesn't work properly on Ubuntu. Furthermore, I don't think it's a good idea to force all users onto gmail. And to top it all, I don't like to use G+. I mean, my gmail address is important to me and I don't like mixing this in with a social platform. Thanks anyway! –  itsols Jan 13 '12 at 15:16
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've played around with Big Blue Button in the past. It's open-source web-based designed for distance learning (although I was testing for my company). It has video, whiteboard, desktop sharing, audio, chat and is under pretty steady development.
The problems I had were mostly bandwidth. You can build and deploy your own server but you'll need a good chunk of bandwidth to make it work well with lots of participants. Also, if you don't have a static IP you'll run into issues with the way the system works. It can run with Dynamic IP as I recall, but it takes some juggling.

Edit: It also has no front end, you'll need Moodle or something like it to set up meetings and invite participants.

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This may be the solution I'm looking for... +1 for finding/sharing –  itsols Jan 13 '12 at 15:28
    
This far, I've only found BigBlueButton to be the best one available. But it sure does demand a lot of resources - 2GB RAM, ROOT access, tied to port 80 and the like... Then again, I think it's worth the trouble looking at what is achieved. However, one major issue is that the site does not show how it works remotely. To start with I don't have a static IP. Anyway guess it's the best we have...Thanks buddy! –  itsols Jan 14 '12 at 2:40
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I definitely recommend Moodle Platform where you can customise the content of your virtual classroom There are different options such as :

Moodle Hangout [Moodle WebEx][3] [Moodle Big Button][4]

each could be personalise according to your needs.

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