Virtual Classroom User Guide
Please also check out the Frequently Asked Questions.
NOTE! If you do not see certain buttons in your conference room, don’t panic – it just means that the room you are in has been configured to not have those buttons
1- The drawing canvas of the whiteboard. Hold the left mouse button down to draw onto the canvas. If other people are connected to the whiteboard, you will see them drawing in real-time. The size of the whiteboard can be configured on the server. If you have loaded a large image onto the board, you can use the scrollbars to move to different areas of the whiteboard.
2- Click on a button to activate that function:
Clear All – deletes the contents of all pages.
Load – allows you to load a previously saved picture, or a jpeg/png background image.
Save – allows you to save the current picture. If the filename you enter ends with “.jpg”, “.jpeg” or “.png”, the picture will be saved as a jpeg or png file. Otherwise it is saved in a custom vector format.
Upload Document – allows you to upload a document (.doc, .xls, .ppt or .pdf) or image (.gif, .png, .jpg or .tiff). After uploading, you can load the document by using the Load button. Note that the Upload Document button is only displayed if you have upload permission.
Disable Drawing – click this button to prevent any other users from drawing onto the whiteboard. Note that this button is only displayed if admin has given you the permission, and the show_disable_drawing option is set. When you click this button, a window appears showing who can draw. You can click on a user’s name to allow only that user to draw.
Desktop Sharing (optional) – clicking this button enables the desktop sharing function. Your computer desktop image (or optionally, one of the windows on your screen) will be sent to the other users in real-time, allowing you to demonstrate applications. The other users will be able to view your desktop and your mouse pointer, and if you tick “Allow Control” they will also be able to control your mouse and keyboard. The Desktop Sharing button only appears if the show_deskshare option has been set to true in the options file for the whiteboard.
File Store (optional) – clicking this button brings up a file store, allowing you to upload and download files. This button only appears if the show_filestore option has been set to true in the options file for the whiteboard.
Icon Library (optional) – clicking this button brings up the icon library, allowing you to have a library of pre-set icons which can be placed on the whiteboard. This button only appears if admin has activated it.
Messages (optional) – clicking this button brings up a bulletin board, allowing you to read and post messages. This button only appears if admin has activated it.
Chat (optional) – clicking this button brings up a chat window, allowing you to chat to other users. This button only appears if if admin has activated it.
Record (optional) – clicking this button starts recording the session. This button only appears if if admin has activated it.
Send URL (optional) – Type in a URL, then press the RETURN key or click the Send Url button to open up the web page on the other users’ displays. This button only appears if if admin has activated it.
Poll (optional) – Allows you to ask a poll question to the other participants, and then view their answers in real-time.
3- Click on a button to change the current drawing mode:
– Use to draw freehand lines.
– Use to draw straight lines. Drag and hold down the left mouse button to draw the line. Hold the shift key to force horizontal/vertical lines.
– Use to draw ovals and circles (press shift to force to circle).
– Use to draw filled ovals and circles (press shift to force to circle).
– Use to draw rectangles and squares (press shift to force to square).
– Use to draw filled rectangles and squares (press shift to force to square).
– Use to draw using a highlighter tool.
– Use to draw dotted lines.
– Use to draw arrows.
– Use to draw polygons. Click with the left mouse button to place each vertex, then double-click to finish.
– Use to draw filled polygons. Click with the left mouse button to place each vertex, then double-click to finish.
– Use to place text. Click on the whiteboard with the left mouse button where you want the text to appear, then type in the text. You can change the font by selecting it from the drop-down list at the top. The size of the text is determined by the current thickness selected.
– Use to flood fill an area with the current colour (note that the flood fill may not display correctly if you subsequently use the pan or zoom functions).
– Enters eye dropper mode, allowing you to pick a colour from the drawing canvas. Click the left mouse button on the whiteboard canvas to select the colour from the pixel at that location. If you have the RGB colour palette displayed, the colour will also appear in the palette window.
– The eraser acts in the same way as a large freehand brush with white colour.
– Sets the current zoom level to 100%.
– Zooms in on the picture.
– Zooms out of the picture.
– Use this like a laser pointer to highlight items to other users on the whiteboard without actually leaving any mark on the whiteboard. You can change the size and colour of the laser pointer by using the size and colour selectors.
– Enters pan mode, allowing you to move the drawing canvas. Click the left mouse button on the whiteboard canvas and drag to pan.
– Click to clear the contents of the current whiteboard page.
– Click to undo the last drawing action (or press ctrl+z/cmd+z).
– Click to redo the last undo (or press ctrl+r/cmd+r).
– Enters select mode, allowing you to select an area of the whiteboard for copy/paste operations. You can also click on objects to select them, and move them by dragging or using the cursor keys (use shift with cursor keys to move faster). Use +/- keys to increase/decrease the size of an item once it is selected (html5 version only).
– Click to copy the contents of the whiteboard (or selected area, if any) to the system clipboard.
– Click to paste the contents of the system clipboard into the whiteboard.
– Click to cut the selected area and copy it to the system clipboard.
– Click to delete the selected area or objects.
– Click to crop the image to the selected area.
– Click to print the whiteboard (or selected area).
– Click to bring up the gridlines window, allowing you to have a grid on top of the whiteboard and optional snap-to-grid.
– Brings up this window.
– Click on the line thickness you want to use. This will be the pen size for lines and unfilled shapes, and the font size for drawing text.
4- Click on the drawing colour you want to use.
– click to bring up an RGB colour palette window.
5- Your video preview window. Click on the X below the video window to stop sending your video to other users. Below the video window is the audio recording meter: the circle lights up red when your voice is being transmitted to other users, and the red bar shows the current recording signal level of your microphone.
6- Other user’s video window. The triangle lights up green when that user is speaking.
7- Audio controls:
– Move the slider to the right to increase your headphones/loudspeaker volume (the volume that you will hear other users speaking).
– Move the slider to the right to increase your microphone volume.
Disable Talking (optional) – Clicking on this button disables all other users from speaking. Only displayed if the user has disable interaction permissions.
Grant Presenter (optional) – Grants another user presenter status. This button is only available if the conference room has been set up in presenter mode, where only one user can talk/draw.
6- Optional math features (if enabled for your room):
|– Brings up a library of math symbols which can be placed on the whiteboard.|
|– Brings up a function graph plotter.|
|– Displays a graph paper background on the whiteboard.|
|– Lets you temporarily place a ruler onto the whiteboard (just click the mouse button and hold on the whiteboard to temporarily place the ruler).|
|– Lets you temporarily place a protractor onto the whiteboard (just click the mouse button and hold on the whiteboard to temporarily place the protractor).|
|– Brings up an equation editor, allowing you to type in equations and copy them to the whiteboard.|
TutorASAP stores the downloaded files and images in a temporary cache on your computer, similar to your web browser cache. On a Windows PC you can clear this cache by right-clicking on the Groupworld icon in the system tray (at the bottom-right of your screen, near the clock) and choosing ‘clear cache’. On a Mac, you can clear the cache by deleting the ‘groupworld_data’ directory that is created on your disk (inside your home directory).
The conference room can support up to 3 users by default, each with video and/or audio. More users can be supported if the room is configured to have a single presenter user. If you have enabled your webcam, your preview window will appear at the top, with the audio controls underneath. The other users will appear in the windows to the bottom. If you see a message saying “Video Disabled” instead of seeing yourself, it just means that the room you are in has been configured to not have video.
Your video is transmitted automatically to the other users. By default the frame rate is set to 4 frames per second and increased to 8fps when speaking. This can be configured when the room is created.
Audio is only transmitted to the other users when you are speaking. The recording circle (under the video preview window) should light up red when you are speaking and your voice is being transmitted, and it should be white when you stop speaking. If this does not happen, you may need to adjust your microphone volume up or down. You will also see the red bar under your video window move to the right when you are speaking – generally it should move about 30-50% to the right if your microphone volume is adjusted correcty. Alternatively you can use “push-to-talk” mode: simply untick “Auto Transmit Voice”, then click and hold the left mouse button on the recording circle when you want to speak.
Audio not working at all – if you don’t see a red circle light up under your name when you speak, try clicking and holding the mouse button down inside the recording circle under your name. If the recording circle does not turn red, it means you have answered NO to the ‘enable audio’ question when logging in so you will either need to log in again (and maybe clear your cache if it doesn’t ask you the question because you ticked ‘always choose this option’). If you do see the red light when you click and hold the mouse button down in the recording circle but you do not see the red bar moving to the right it means your microphone is not working. Check to make sure that your microphone/headset is plugged into your computer and correctly configured:
On a Windows PC you can test in the Windows Sound Recorder (normally in start menu->programs->accessories->entertainment) – if you can record your own voice and play it back in Windows Sound Recorder then the audio should also work.
Echos – delayed echos are an indication that there is feedback (the speech is coming out of a user’s loudspeakers and entering their microphone). In general, if you hear a delayed echo of your own voice, it means there is feedback from the other user’s microphone (i.e. their voice is coming out of their speakers and into their microphone again). This can be solved by ensuring that all users use headsets or headphones rather than loudspeakers. If this is not possible, the problem can be reduced by ensuring that all users untick “Auto Transmit Voice”, and use push-to-talk.
Echos can also be caused by an incorrectly configured Windows sound card – if you have not selected a default recording device under Windows, sometimes it will record from the headphones as well as the microphone resulting in the other person hearing an echo. The solution is to make sure your microphone is selected as the default recording device. This is never an issue on a Mac.
Note that some headsets have poor-quality electronics resulting in crosstalk, which will cause echos for the other user. If you hear a quiet echo of your own voice and the other user is using a headset, this is a likely cause.
If you hear an immediate echo (with no delay) of your own voice, it generally means that your sound card is not configured correctly, and you will need to make sure that your microphone is muted in the Windows playback volume settings.
Also make sure you are not logged in twice with two Groupworld windows open, as that will cause you to hear an echo of your own voice.
Garbled Audio – generally this is caused by network jitter (i.e. your internet connection slowing down and speeding up). Make sure you have a good quality internet connection. If using desktop sharing, bear in mind that it can use a lot of bandwidth and might affect the audio. Note that by default Groupworld uses no buffering (like skype). This results in low latency but potential garbled speech if there is internet jitter. If you prefer you can configure your Groupworld rooms to have buffered audio – audio will always be perfect (no loss), but there might be delay (to do this, simply change the buffering value from 0 to 1 when configuring the room).
Audio Break-ups – if you hear break-ups (small gaps) in the sound, it can have one of two causes. If parts of the speech are missing, it means that the talking user’s microphone volume is too low for the automatic recording threshold or the user is speaking too quietly. That user will need to either increase their microphone volume (and maybe tick “mic boost” in the Windows advanced volume control), or else just click and hold the mouse button inside the recording circle when they want to speak. If no speech is lost and you simply get pauses in the sound, it means that the packets are getting delayed. Check to make sure that you are not using any applications that are using your internet bandwidth (such as file sharing apps), and also make sure you have sufficient bandwidth (see the client system requirements). Also note that the audio will get paused on Windows when you are uploading documents (using the ‘Upload document’ feature), whenever any error or yes/no dialog boxes are on-screen, or when you are dragging or resizing any Groupworld windows such as the chat window. Also check to see if any other programs are using excessive cpu time on your computer (press the ctrl+alt+delete keys and bring up Task Manager on Windows, or load Activity Monitor (inside Utilities) on a Mac). Sometimes virus checkers and system updates can be using a lot of your computer’s resources in the background without it being obvious.
Video Delays – if you experience very large delays in seeing another user’s video (more than a few seconds), it generally means that one of the users has insufficient bandwidth (usually the person sending the video). Check the client system requirements for more info.
Sound Delays – you should never get delays of more than one or two seconds during normal usage. If you do get large delays, it can be caused by one of two things. First, delays can be caused if your internet connection is dropping packets (use pingtest.net to check) or is too slow (use speedtest.net to check). Delays can also be caused if some other program on your computer is using excessive cpu or network resources, or if you are using the ‘upload document’ feature or moving/resizing a Groupworld window, or if an error box is on-screen – see audio breakupstroubleshooting above for further details.
If you still experience problems, or you have any questions that are not covered here, feel free to contact us for support.