I tried out ooVoo last night as part of PIDP 3240 to chat with my instructor, Brian Cassell. ooVoo is a software that allows you to video chat with students (well actually with anyone but this is an education blog). ooVoo allows up to 12 people on a video call at a time and can be accessed through a PC, Mac, or smart phone.
I have done online office hours through the LMS my institution uses but a lot of students had problems getting into the session or downloading the software. ooVoo was simple to install and register (you can register with one click using your Facebook profile).
The participants in a call have the ability to mute their microphones and screens and also have the ability to share their computer screen. So why do you want to see your students in an online office hour? I have held office hours through chat and it is frustrating not having the facial feedback to know if someone is understanding what you are explaining. You can also see if the students are actually paying attention or are on their cell phones.
The ability to share your computer screen is ideal for giving a tutorial online. I also like the fact that you can share your screen and then use the program that you are most comfortable with. For example I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and use the stylus to write on OneNote. This is a much cleaner option than using clunky LMS that barely supports my stylus.
There are ads on the free version but I didn’t find them too distracting. I will be trying ooVoo out with my class this summer.