Google Hangouts on Air

I had never used Google Hangouts (video conferencing with up to ten cams) before I was part of the Convergence Meeting on the OU’s OLDS MOOC last week. I was quite impressed with the quality and with ‘Hangouts on Air’ a feature that allows you to stream the session live to youtube so more than ten people can see and hear the discussion and also save a copy of the session for future watching. However, I didn’t think I’d be promoting it at my institution for two reasons.

  1. We already have BigBlueButton integrated with our VLE (Moodle) and can run multiple cams in that though not as slickly.
  2. Users have to have Google+ accounts.

However, today it is snowing heavily in the West Midlands and although I have got to work, my colleagues have not and I thought it would be interesting to meet up in a Hangout.

The first thing we learnt was that it does take some time to set up a Google+ account if you don’t already have one.

It also takes longer if you have to download anything (e.g. an app for an ipad) and users in our  institution don’t have admin permissions on their PCs so need to get someone from IT to install it.

But even after doing all this, we (I) failed to hangout because of –

Connectivity issues – restarting call. Reason Code: 27.

Maybe this is an issue with our proxy server at university. We’ll have to investigate, but for sure this is not something that can be set up on the fly.  The snow may have cleared by the time I get it working from work.  I should have stayed at home.



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