(This post is still here, because of the ideas shared beyond DimDim)
Another Option? Explore WiZiQ :)
"'Powerful simplicity’ is dimdim’s mantra. dimdim differs from first generation web meeting solutions, as they were exceedingly expensive, notoriously difficult to implement and impossible to customize. dimdim provides a business-class quality web meeting service that is free to consumers and extremely easy to use, as there is no software to download or maintain."
- Upload & Share Presentations
- Desktop & Application Sharing
- Multi User Chat
- Audio and Video
- On Wire Security
- Scheduling & Reports
- Mood Indicator
- Private labelling
- Email based support
- Platform Certification
- dimdim training
- Integration with LMS
- Integration with customer relationship management systems
New features under development include annotations on collaboration work space, active directory integration, Outlook & Google calendar integration, skins / templates, recording & archiving, polls and question manager, etc.
If you want to install dimdim on your own servers, you can download and install the open source edition. Though, keep in mind that "the dimdim open source edition is meant for Developers, Highly Technical Enthusiasts and for usage in Non-Critical Environments. It has all the features of the Enterprise edition and the only difference is that it is more of bleeding edge software. The Enterprise Edition is a much more stable, scalable and reliable piece of software which is fully supported and certified by dimdim, the company. The Open source community supports the Open Source edition." Click here to explore the different editions offered by dimdim, including the hosted Enterprise Edition, which is not free (but reasonable! Though, I don't like the current rule of only allowing a maximum of 20 participants per room).
In terms of features, interface design, and ease-of-use it is perhaps not as attractive as WiZiQ. On the positive note, you can download the open source edition (value-added!) and install it on your own server. Better yet, you can also integrate dimdim with Moodle (Integration Guide.pdf and dimdim-Moodle User Guide.pdf), and that is an exciting prospect with so many Moodle installations and users around the world. I suppose many Moodlers are already exploring dimdim as their free virtual classroom alternative.
Thanks Patricia Donaghy for sharing with me this juicy FREE virtual classroom tool. Yeah, if you don't like WiZiQ or dimdim, you can always explore Elluminate, which is not really free (free for 3 concurrent users only), but is a user-friendly feature rich cost effective virtual classroom tool.
I suppose Virtual Classroom tools will soon be as free as e-mails, social networking, social bookmarking, file sharing, chatting, wikis, blogging, Skype(ing), LMS, uploading videos, and so on. What's next on the free learning tools menu? Got any predictions? :)