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What is Your Favorite Multi-Person Video Chat Client?

Webcam000c1This semester, I’m teaching an online graduate seminar on the digital humanities (see the course syllabus here!), and I’m requiring that my students meet with me once a week on video chat for a traditional seminar-style discussion. I generally use Google Hangouts and Skype Premium for free or inexpensive videoconferencing, but have been annoyed with the bugginess of both applications.

Wondering what else was out there, I turned to my social media hive mind to ask what other software people were using. I got the range of answers below.

  • Adobe Connect. If your institution does not subscribe to this, this may be pricey ($55/month for an individual subscription).

  • Blackboard Collaborate. Useful if you have an institutional subscription to this LMS. I’m not a fan of the blackboard interface, so I will not be using this.

  • Conferences/Big Blue Button on Canvas Instructure. Even if your institution does not subscribe to Canvas, individual instructors can use it for free. I’ll be trying out this application this semester.

  • Webex. Reviews I’ve heard—stable, but expensive and with a non-intuitive user interface. The monthly plan for 25 person meetings is $49 per host per month.

  • OoVoo. Free. Allows for up to 12 people on a connection at one time. Reviews indicate it might be buggy in the same way that Google Hangouts and Skype premium are.

  • GoToMeeting. Good reviews regarding stability, but expensive. $49 per host per month for 25 person meetings.

  • Flashmeeting. A free research project run by the Open University, UK. You have to request access to it.

  • Join.me. Free for up to 10 people, pay for a professional account for    up to 250 people. Allows screen sharing, and for people to call in or connect online.

  • Seevogh. Requires Java, Pay as You Go.

  • Jitsi. Open source, cross platform.

  • Empathy and Pidgin. Open source, only on Linux.

  • Chatb.org. Open source, web-based.

Have you used any of these applications? Are there any we’ve left out? Let us know in the comments below.

[Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons]

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