Elluminate (www.elluminate.com) provides software that enables real-time (synchronous) online learning and collaboration. As of October 2008 (according to its website), Elluminate had been used for more than 300 million minutes in over 185 countries!
Elluminate has offices in both Calgary, Alberta and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is used by a number of school systems and corporations including Apple Computer and Queen's University. Elluminate has won several awards and was named as one of the 50 fastest growing technology companies.
Elluminate is available in a variety of configurations. Be sure to check out the product comparison chart for detailed information. According to one GO survey respondent, Elluminate works very well with both high speed and lower bandwidth connections. This can be an important consideration for people in some rural areas.
Elluminate Plan (www.elluminate.com/plan/index.jsp) lets you organize and set up learning content and activities before a live session. Once everything is set up, it can be launched during the actual live session. Features and activities that can be managed ahead of time using Elluminate Plan include recording, moving to the next slide, breakout rooms, quizzes, and multimedia files. According to Elluminate's website, you do not need to have advanced technical skills to use Elluminate Plan to set up your live session; the software guides you each step of the way.
Elluminate Live (www.elluminate.com/elluminate-live/index.jsp) is designed for a group of people to meet online at the same time in a multimedia learning or meeting space. Elluminate Live is available in three editions, including a virtual classroom environment, an environment designed for corporate training and collaboration, and a “lite” version that provides only basic functionality (www.elluminate.com/products/lite/index.jsp). Elluminate Live offers a number of features including an interactive whiteboard, direct messaging, live webcam capability, application sharing and breakout rooms.
Elluminate vRoom (www.elluminate.com/vroom/index.jsp) is a free version of Elluminate Live that provides the same interactive features as Elluminate Live but only three people can be online at the same time using vRoom. A vRoom session can easily be set up by following the links on the site.
Elluminate Publish (www.elluminate.com/publish/index.jsp) allows you to create a podcast or a standalone recording of your Elluminate Live Session.
Elluminate Next (www.elluminate.com/next) combines Elluminate Plan and Elluminate Publish in one package.
Elluminate Learning Suite (www.elluminate.com/products.jsp) combines Elluminate Plan, Elluminate Live and Elluminate Publish in one package.
To help review the various features of the different versions of Elluminate, and to see what the classroom looks like, be sure to watch some or all of the demonstration videos at www.elluminate.com/demo/recorded_demos_list.jsp. Elluminate also offers a number of free webinars about the software and its features.
Elluminate vRoom is free to use. Costs for Elluminate vClass vary depending on the number of seats that you require. Contact Elluminate for more information using the “contact us” or “request info” links on its website or by telephone at 1-866-388-8674.
Technology in Action
Throughout the GO project, our research team used Elluminate for our planning meetings. GO team members were located across Canada, from the East Coast to the West Coast, but we were able to review documents and meet with each other on many occasions by simply downloading Elluminate and meeting together online in real time. During these online meetings we were able to speak to each other and also correspond through a text chat. Our agendas were posted on the whiteboard, and we could add notes to them or cut and paste information from other documents. We could also upload any resources that were needed during the meeting. Our online meetings were recorded and were available for team members to review at any time.
Many post-secondary and training institutions across Canada use Elluminate to deliver some of their online courses. Examples include:
Athabasca University, Canada's Open University (www.athabascau.ca) uses Elluminate in many of its courses to help students communicate with each other and with professors.
College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland (www.cna.nl.ca) offers career planning sessions to its students, using Elluminate.
The Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (www.cdli.ca), also in Newfoundland, uses Elluminate as well. It features a “help” tab on its main menu that provides links about Elluminate along with information and helpful advice.