We have become spoiled for choice in the world of online meeting platforms for synchronous teaching and webinars. We can choose between Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate, WebEX, GoToMeeting, Zoom, FuzeBox, BigBlueButton, Lync, Skype and I'm sure others (what am I missing?).
The question I have is who is providing services around these platforms? Are these platforms becoming commoditized to the point where the real value add will be in services?
Is there a third party service provider that is platform agnostic, willing to look at the requirements of a client and then deliver the platform that best matches these needs?
Eventually, it seems to me that most educational institutions will need to develop competencies and capabilities in high stakes online classes, webinars, and online events. The option to work with a partner would, however, allow colleges and universities to quickly roll-out new synchronous online programs and events.
A dedicated service organization would have the staffing, experience, and skills to ensure high quality online interactions, and would offer partner universities the opportunity to learn what sorts of people and platforms that may be necessary to bring in-house.
Some of the tasks that a services organization could provide would include:
- Collaborate with client to develop requirements and select the online meeting platform.
- Host the web meeting / conferencing platform.
- Provide learning design and content development services for synchronous classes and educational webinars.
- Deliver training and instruction around best practices for synchronous class and webinar design.
- Pre-meeting technical support and training for participants.
- Provide in-meeting / webinar technical support to both meeting hosts/instructors and participants.
- Real time translation and captioning services.
- Support mobile participation (from participants), VOIP, and integrated phone conferencing.
- Training of local (partner) staff to grow competencies in online / web classes/meetings.
- Post-meeting analysis and consulting for continuous improvement.
- Post-production editing, hosting and streaming of the recorded online class / webinar (with analytics).
- Assistance with platform selection and contract negotiation should the client decide to move these service in-house.
What is missing from this list of required services?
What companies are currently providing these services?
What college and universities are working with a partner to access these services?