Using Adobe Connect to participate in and organize online meetings

August 30th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

Adobe Connect is user-friendly web conferencing software for meetings, online learning and webinars. With its simple to use interface, video capability and mobile readiness, it is becoming a popular tool for organizing meetings and webinars online.

At AlphaPlus, we started using of Adobe Connect after one of our colleagues attended an online webinar and came back excited to tell us how much she enjoyed the webinar interface.

Until then, we had used GotoMeetings and GotoWebinars for our Tech Tuesdays. Although we liked it as organizers, some participants found the platform confusing and a bit difficult to use. When we heard that there was another tool that could help us with some of these issues, we decided to give it a try.

This year our Digital Competency Wednesdays and Tech Tuesdays webinars will be delivered using Adobe Connect, and Moodle Mondays will be delivered using Saba Centra, another online meeting tool commonly used in the literacy field. Click here to learn more about the webinar series we are launching in September.

As with many other tools, this platform has both advantages and drawbacks.

The things we like about Adobe Connect:

  • it’s clean and simple to use for participants
  • participants can raise a hand to ask a question, see who is in the session, chat, fill out polls and follow links with just one click
  • mobile App allows participants to attend the webinar from any device and location (even from a coffee shop)
  • when we set up an account, we received a specific URL which will always be the same; webinar URL’s can also be customized
  • it’s quick and easy to set up the online meeting room with various layout options for organizers
  • video capability makes it possible for participants to see the presenter(s) and each other if allowed
  • it’s easy to upload, share and navigate through presentation slides and record the sessions
  • you can promote participants to presenters and give microphone rights with one click

Some drawbacks:

  • participants who use cloud services, such as Citrix, are able to get into the session but experience audio difficulties
  • sharing and navigating through web pages during the sessions can be tricky for the presenter – when the presenter switches to sharing mode, his/her Adobe Connect dashboard disappears and it is hard to see participants’ activity in the chat. It’s good to have someone else co-present with you to help with managing the session, questions in the chat and potential technical issues.
  • the document sharing is limited – Adobe Connect lets you upload and share PowerPoint and PDF files but not Word or Excel files; this can be bypassed by desktop or screen sharing though
  • in the Adobe Connect Meeting option we have, the registration tools are not included – we have to use third-party tools for registration and follow-ups

Even though there are some drawbacks, we received good feedback from participants on how clean and simple to use the interface is. We have used Adobe Connect already to deliver some Tech Tuesdays webinars, and the AlphaPlus Board is using it for online meetings.

Adobe Connect and other online meeting tools can benefit practitioners not only by saving them time and resources, but also by helping them to become more comfortable with technology and to develop digital skills. They can also be helpful in teaching students how to participate in online sessions – skills they might need for work or to meet with family or friends virtually.

A few tips on how to join Adobe Connect sessions:

  • follow a webinar link provided during the registration process and/or in registration email reminders
  • on a login page, select the option to enter as a guest and type in your name; click on Enter Room to continue. In some browsers, Adobe Connect will launch right away. In others, it might ask you install a plug-in.

  • When Adobe Connect launches, your name will show in the list of participants and you will be in the session. Your microphone will be automatically muted but you should be able to hear the presenter. If you can’t, you can click on the audio button in the top toolbar to check the settings. In the centre of your screen you will see the content shared by presenters and the sidebars will allow you to see the presenters (if they activate the video), a list of participants and a chat box. Other tools, such as polls or links, might be provided as well.

Click here
for a visual quick guide on participating in Adobe Connect meetings.

Tools and resources:

Adobe Connect Free Trial – get a free trial to test Adobe Connect

Learn Adobe Connect – a fantastic series of video tutorials to help you explore the features of Adobe Connect

Learning Center – general information about how to use Adobe Connect and links to many of the complementary tools developed for Adobe Connect end users, administrators and developers

Adobe Connect on Twitter

Adobe Connect User Community