Wimba Collaboration Suite 6.0 Adds IM Whiteboarding, Enhanced Assessments

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Wimba has announced an update to the Wimba Collaboration Suite. The new 6.0 release, introduced Tuesday at the Wimba Connect 2009 user conference, adds a number of new features to the individual applications in the suite, including new whiteboarding capabilities in the instant messaging module.

The Wimba Collaboration Suite includes four of Wimba's communications tools: Classroom, Pronto, Voice, and Create.

Wimba Classroom is a virtual classroom that supports audio, video, application sharing, and other interactive features for online classroom environments. It's designed for pure online classes and blended learning situations and is targeted toward both student instruction and teacher professional development applications for both K-12 and post-secondary education. Wimba Classroom 6.0 adds new MP4 functionality for both audio and video.

Wimba Pronto is an education-focused instant messaging and voice chat tool designed to provide live online communications for students and instructors. Some of its features include audio and video conferencing capabilities, desktop application sharing, support for queuing for individualized help, and automatic population of contact lists based on courses. Wimba Pronto 3.0--the updated version that ships with the Collaboration Suite 6.0--adds whiteboarding capabilities and now includes Wimba Instructional Gallery, which includes templates and various instructional materials.

Wimba Voice adds voice and audio capabilities for online courses, including import and export of MP3 and WAV audio, and can be used for podcasting applications. Voice messages can be embedded in course pages and in threaded discussions, as well as live group discussions. Wimba Voice 6.0 now allows instructors to grade voice discussions from within the application and to add these grades to the CMS gradebook.

Wimba Create is a a utility for converting Word documents to LMS-friendly formats. WImba has not announced any feature enhancements to the new version.

Further information about the Collaboration Suite can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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