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Virtual Classroom Technical Support

Virtual Classroom System Requirements

To test your system for compatibility, try the system test page

Browsers

In order to get the best experience form your virtual classroom, make sure you are using Google Chrome (this is the only browser that fully supports all our features).

Internet Explorer: only supported for Windows (not Mac). In order to use Internet Explorer, you must have permission to download and script signed activc_screen_improvedvex controls (this is the default security setting). If you have changed the default security level in Internet Explorer you will either need to to click on “custom level” and ensure that “download signed activex controls” is set to “prompt” and “run activex controls and plugins” is set to “enable” and “script activex controls marked as safe for scripting” is set to “enable”.

Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox: supported for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. To install the plugin, you just need to click the ‘click here to install the required plugin’ link at the top of the page.

Safari: only supported on Mac. You will be prompted to download the .pkg plugin file which you need to install. Note that you must be running X11 for Groupworld to work on the Mac.

 

Google Chrome: plugin supported on Windows and Mac OSX. HTML5 client supported on all devices (including Chromebook)

Operating Systems Supported

Windows Vista/7/8Xplogo

iPad (any version) running iOS 4.0 or later

Android tablet running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or later with microphone and LARGE or XLARGE screen.

Mac OSX 10.6.8 or later, Intel CPU, with X11 installed, Safari, Firefox or Chromeicon-os-ios-8

The HTML5 client should run on any browser that fully supports HTML5 (currently, Chrome on all devices except for iPad). Firefox should work with all features except desktop sharing.

Internet Connection/Bandwidth

In order to use video or desktop sharing, all users require a minimum of 256kbps of both upload and download bandwidth, but for optimal performance we recommend 1024kbps download speed and 512kbps upload if using desktop sharing and/or video. Check your bandwidth here.

Firewalls

The application is called Groupworld plugin and it opens a TCP/IP connection to port 9174 on the server (port 9175 in the HTML5 version). Most home firewalls (including the built-in Windows firewall) do not block outgoing connections, so you should not normally have any problems. However if you have a restrictive firewall which blocks outbound connections, you may need to open up TCP/IP ports 9174 and 9175 outbound.

 

Hardware

1Ghz Pentium or equivalent (but 2Ghz with dual-core CPU recommended for optimal performance when using desktop sharing), with 512MB RAM (1024MB with Vista).

For audio: users must have a sound card and a headset.

For video: users must have a webcam with DirectShow drivers (i.e. any webcam released in the last 10 years).

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I access the room Via my Pad and How do I install the plugin?

Simply go to the TutorASAP plugin setup/test wizard. If using iPad or Android, just search for Groupworld in the App store or Google Play (if you can’t find Groupworld in Google Play, it probably means your Android device’s screen is too small to support Groupworld). Alternatively you can try out the new HTML5 client (simply click on the link at the top of the conference room page).

 

2. Why do I keep getting a message saying “internet explorer has stopped working”?

This generally means that you are using google toolbar, which has a known bug that causes IE to crash when using video conferencing software such as ours. The solution is to disable google toolbar OR:

In order to get the best experience form your virtual classroom, make sure you are using Google Chrome (this is the only browser that fully supports all our features).

 

3. Why do I hear an echo of my own voice when using the voice conferencing?

This generally means that another user has loudspeakers which are feeding back into their microphone. Ideally all users should have earphones or headsets when using the voice conferencing. This issue can also occur with some sound cards if you have not explicitly selected a recording source in the Windows Recording Volume Control.

 

4. I get delays/breakups with the sound/video.

Please check the troubleshooting section in the help pages.

 

5. The audio does not work at all.

Please check the troubleshooting section in the help pages.

 

6. The conference room doesn’t appear at all in Internet Explorer.

the virtual classroom will work on all 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer. The most likely cause of problems is if you have increased the IE security settings and thus ActiveX controls (plugins) have been disabled.

In order to get the best experience form your virtual classroom, make sure you are using Google Chrome (this is the only browser that fully supports all our features).

 

7. I have problems using the virtual classroom on Windows Vista.

Normally our app should run without any problems on Vista. However, if you have changed your security settings you may get an error “Cannot chdir to Groupworld directory”. If this happens, you will need to go into your Internet Explorer security options and either uncheck “enable protected mode”.

 

8. How do I increase the number of video windows visible?

By default there is only space for 3 video windows, but you can increase this if you have a wide/high room. You can also configure the video so that only the presenter can send video, or so that only the person talking can send video – this enables you to have 10 or 25 users but only one person sending video.

10. I’m experiencing crashes/slowness/lost connections.

  • Try temporarily disabling browser toolbars, virus checkers and security software in case they are interfering with Groupworld (normally this should not be the case, so please let us know if you do experience any incompatibilities with other software).
  • Bring up task manager (press the ctrl+alt+delete keys in Windows) to see if another process is using all of your computer’s cpu or memory.
  • Try pinging www.tutorasap.com to see if there are any network problems. In Windows, bring up a DOS window and type “ping www.tutorasap.com”. If you experience more than 10% data loss, performance will be affected.

11. Why is there lag and/or missing pen strokes when using a Wacom tablet on Windows?

This is a known issue with the Wacom – see here and here for solutions.

12. Why does the text get cut off where it says “there are x other users connected” and other places?

This generally means that you have changed to the larger fonts in Windows, so Windows is giving us fonts that are 25% larger pixel size than we are asking for. To fix this problem on Windows 7, right-click on your Windows desktop, choose “screen resolution”, then “make text and other items larger or smaller”.

13. Problems with IE10

Internet Explorer 10 has increased security which can cause some problems  including an inability to use the ‘allow control’ function in desktop sharing, inability to download files, as well as random errors such as ‘gzopen error on new_whiteboard.gz’. Please Try using google chrome!

In order to get the best experience form your virtual classroom, make sure you are using Google Chrome (this is the only browser that fully supports all our features).

14. Why do I get an error in IE on Windows 8 saying that I’m missing the GSM6.10 codec?

The Windows 8 version of IE seems to have extra security which prevents plugins from using audio compression. The solution is to run IE in administrator mode. Just right-click on the IE icon (beside the start menu at the bottom of your screen), and choose ‘run as administrator’.

 

In order to get the best experience form your virtual classroom, make sure you are using Google Chrome (this is the only browser that fully supports all our features).

 

15. What bandwidth do I need in order to run the Groupworld server?

It is recommended that you have 512kbps (kilobits per second) for each user connected from outside your network if you are using desktop sharing or video. If you are not using these high-bandwidth applications then you will be able to support a lot more users (e.g. whiteboard and text chat only, you will be able to support 25 users on 256kbps). Note that this is the UPLOAD bandwidth of your internet connection (which is generally lower than the download bandwidth).

 

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The applications that use the most bandwidth are desktop sharing, video conferencing and audio. The audio (voice) conferencing uses 26kbps (kilobits per second) of bandwidth. So, if you have one person speaking and 5 people connected, it will use 26×5 = 130kbps. The video conferencing uses 1.5-2k (kilobytes) per frame when using the small window size, and 3-4k per frame when using the large window size.

So, if one user is broadcasting video to two other users at 10 frames per second using the large window size, it will use about 2x4x10x8=640kbps of outbound bandwidth on the server, and 320kbps of upload bandwidth on each user’s computer.

 

Desktop sharing sends a compressed png image of the desktop at the beginning (which is generally 50-100k, depending on the size of your desktop), and subsequently sends the changed areas of the screen (again png compressed) once per second.

In general, 512kbps of bandwidth per person will give a good response, although more bandwith will give a faster desktop sharing experience (especially if you are sharing a large window). You can see how much bandwidth is being used by transmitted/received by your computer by going to Activity Monitor on a mac and clicking the Network tab (on a PC, just download a bandwidth monitor tool).

 

To see the bandwidth being used on your linux server, just use mrtg or similar tool.

 

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