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Virtual Classroom over Pidgin


The goal of the project is to design a Virtual Classroom over Pidgin. The instructor can add the students as buddies in his own classroom group on Pidgin. Whenever the instructor runs the classroom, the students can connect to it to get benefits from his lecture. The main features are a white board where the instructor can draw & write and chat facility (through Pidgin). He can also show them some videos if required. Multiple pages are also supported to enable presentation kind of lecture ..


The instructor is going to run the Virtual Classroom for Pidgin on his own computer from where he is going to teach. Here are the things which he can do :

  • Allowing only specific buddies to add to the classroom
  • Using chat to communicate with his students
  • Enhanced whiteboard support using Yahoo Doodle : The instructor can use white board to draw shapes and write. This is as if he is writing/drawing on an actual whiteboard. This is the core feature of this project. It has the following features:

This also removes the need of LATEX like plugins since most of the people find it difficult to use LATEX.

  • Support for multiple pages : This tool enables the instructor to create multiple whiteboard pages. When he creates a new page the other pages become read-only but he always has options for editing or deleting pages. He can also save all the pages in one shot in the form of images. Note that all the operations - ''new page'', ''edit page'', ''delete page'' and ''switch page'' are performed automatically on the students' side giving this whole process the form of a presentation.
  • Support for separate class groups : This tool enables the instructor to create separate class groups within his account. By default all the buddies who are online in the instructor's account get whiteboards when instructor starts the classroom session. However, the instructor can select/deselect some specific groups (corresponding to different courses) in his buddylist. Only the buddies in those groups will receive the whiteboards when a classroom is started.
  • Support for small video : This is done by integrating a flash based player using open source Swfdec flash library. The purpose of this tool is to provide video support with which will enable students to see the video played by the instructor. The video is started simultaneously in all the student accounts. If a student wants to see the video again he can click on the video button on his board. Note the the video URL is specified by the instructor on his own interface and students shall be able to see the video only when the instructor plays the video and exits. This is a sort of check that video URL is working.
  • Modified Conferencing : The main purpose of this tool is to allow students to interact with the instructor. The discussion room is initiated by the instructor. A discussion request is send to all the students simultaneously. A student can join the discussion only after he accepts the request. Note that the instructor can see all the students in his discussion room but the students can only see the instructor. This prevents unnecessary discussions between students. All sharing of information should be done via instructor :)

Grading, Assignments, Handouts/Notes?, Notifications, Feedbacks, Self-tests can be given in the usual way.

*Latest Development

  • Updated Text Tool
  • Adding and removing a group from class

*Virtual Classroom

  • Starting the classroom
  • Instructor's whiteboard
  • Student's whiteboard
  • Video Tool
  • Modified Conferencing

*Limitations & Future work

  • Students can not join the class in between. This feature worked well when there was support for only one page. However, even in that case the student was not able to get the last whiteboard contents before his joining the class.
  • Video tool does not have proxy support. Moreover, it has not been tested when the video size is large and takes too much time to load.
  • Integrating a local voice chat application so that it can used efficiently within a college like environment.


Last modified 10 years ago Last modified on Nov 3, 2013, 2:52:46 AM

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