May 31, 2014

A free online meeting platform: Fuze

This post is dedicated to a dear friend, Márcia Lima, who introduced me to FUZE, the webtool I'll be talking about today.

According to the website, Fuze is an online meeting platform for Mac, Windows, IOS and Androids, in other words, it's a device neutral platform which allows people to meet online (for free) and share content.

So you might say, "That's the same thing we can do with Skype, Google hangouts, Adobe Connect and Wiziq".

Well, not quite. As far as I know:
- With the free version of Skype, nowadays, you can't have more than two webcams working, no screen sharing and your meeting is not recorded.
- With Google hangouts, although you can share your screen and record your meeting, you have a limit of 10 webcams.
- Adobe Connect is perfect for webinars and online meetings, however (this is a big BUT), it is paid.
- Wiziq would be the best alternative here. The free version allows several webcams to work and you have the possibility to record some of your sessions.

To start my exploration, I watched some of their videos, such as this one:

Fuze Content Collaboration from Fuze on Vimeo.

With the FREE plan you can have:

As with all the webtools and apps I decide to use with my students, I wanted to try it out first. Márcia promptly accepted my invitation to give it a go on a Saturday Morning. Our trial video is in Portuguese, our mother tongue, but you can have an idea how our exploration happened.

What we liked about it:

  • It's free.
  • It runs on different devices and systems (Mac, Windows, IOS and Androids)
  • You have a whiteboard to write on.
  • You can share different files such as word, ppt, pdf, images and videos.
  • You can share your screen.
  • There is a chat box.
  • You can have 25 people using their webcams (I haven't tried the quality of the session with many participants).
  • It seems simple to use.
  • It's very easy to start an instant meeting by creating a room and sharing the link with another person provided you have already downloaded Fuze.

What we didn't like about it:

  • You can't record the meeting with the free version ( I used Quicktime on my Mac to record our meeting).
  • The files I shared didn't work so well on the Ipad. The only file Márcia could see was the image I shared. However, when I started another meeting on my Ipad, the video worked just fine.
  • You have to download the product before you join a meeting.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ana!
I've just read and watched a part of your blog and what I've seen is a great engagement on testing some web tools and sharing your experience in that area! I also noticed a remarkable desire to learn and show that learning is a natural process in all good teachers. Besides, your blog is organized and very interesting. I would like to know how you can record videos from the screen of your PC. Keep on doing that great job. I'll be your "follower". Thanks. Carlos.

Ana Maria Menezes said...

Dear Carlos,
Thank you so much for the kind words. Blogging has become part of me and it's a great pleasure to share what little things I learn and try out in class. As to your question: I recommend you try to record screencasts (videos from your screen), it's free and you don't need to download anything.