Adobe Connect is a very versatile and flexible flash-based web conferencing program used to conduct meetings between participants that are geographically separated. Connect allows you to share video, audio, and presentations remotely. More information about Connect can be found at its homepage here.
As mentioned above, Connect is a flash based program and is supported in any browser that supports Flash. To enter a Connect meeting, one only needs to enter the meeting URL into the browser and go.
The core components of Connect are "pods." Pods are small windows that display different kinds of content. There are a great variety of pods available providing a wide range of interactivity. There are the simple notes pods which are basically billboards used to display information up to the highly interactive chat pod that allows instant communication between users. A full description of some common pods are found below.
Attendee List Pod
The attendee list displays all the attendees of the Connect meeting. Attendees belong to one of three groups. There are the hosts, presenters, and participants. Participants have the least amount of rights and are confined to an observer status. Participants can use the chat pod and participate in polls. Hosts and presenters can share their video and audio with all the attendees. Hosts and presenters can also manipulate the share window to modify and interact with the presentation materials. The attendee will also display the status of the audio connection of the attendee. A static phone means the attendee is connected via the integrated phone system. A handset with soundwaves means that attendee is currently speaking. The "My Status" drop down menu at the top of the Attendee List allows a user to command Connect to dial their phone, mute their phone, or add an icon next to their name to denote their current status (ie thumbs up, speak up).
Audio Information Pod
The "Audio Information Pod" displays the telephone number and password required to join the integrated phone audio conference. This pod will only be displayed when the integrated phone system is in use. This pod will be displayed the entire meeting, so if you join late the information will be readily available. Simply dial the toll-free 866 number and follow the directions given. Enter the passcode listed in the pod when prompted. You should then be connected to the audio conference.
Camera and Voice Pod
The camera and voice pod will display a host's and/or presenter's video when they have a camera activated. This will also activate an audio component to the presentation when the meeting is utilizing VoIP. Video and audio can only be shared by attendees with presenter or host status. To share, simply click on the "Share my camera and voice" button on the lower-left hand corner of the pod. When prompted, allow the Connect server access to your camera and microphone. Video should then be displayed. Once connected, click the camera icon to pause the video and the stop icon to stop transmitting video and audio.
The "Chat Pod" can be utilized by any attendee. Simply type a question or statement into the box at the bottom of the pod and press enter. This will transmit your input to all of the attendees by default. Alternatively, you can send a private message to an attendee by clicking on the drop-down menu at the bottom of the pod and selecting the target participant. Chat is a useful method of communication with technical help if you are having audio difficulties.
The "Help Pod" will be displayed in every Connect meeting and displays the toll-free 800 number to contact technical assistance. This is a hotline and will immediately connect you with a Connect facilitator.
The "Share Pod" allows hosts and presenters to share various different kinds of presentation materials. The materials can range from PowerPoint presentations to Flash movies. The share pod can also be used to screen share. When in this mode, the pod will display the contents of the presenter's screen. This is useful for live demonstrations and tutorials that make use of applications. A whiteboard mode is also available that basically allows participants to freehand shapes, drawings, and text over the presentation. The sharing will stop when the "Stop Sharing" button is pressed at the bottom of the pod.