Introduction

Congrea is a new generation scalable, open source online virtual classroom environment. It has been packaged with several value added features such as, audio-video interaction, chat, poll, quiz, collaborative editor and much more. Congrea also enhances the user experience by allowing the users to share media, documents or even screen with their fellow participants. It has been designed to enable real time knowledge flow in all the categories of institutions such as, school, college and corporate organizations.

Its unique feature of getting integrated with other software makes it an easily acceptable and reliable product. Moreover, Congrea provides a safe platform to its users, as all the end to end communications are encrypted via SSL. Being an open source application, Congrea is highly customizable and can be modified according to the different requirements of the user. It’s a lightweight, browser based application and has no dependency on Flash. Also, Congrea’s cloud services are offered from twelve different locations across the globe.

Pre-requisitions

Hardware

Congrea has a very basic hardware requirement which includes,

  • Quad core processor with minimum 4GB RAM
  • Camera
  • Microphone

*Note- If a person owns a system (e.g. Laptop) wherein the build in camera is either damaged or its picture quality needs to be enhanced then the person will have a choice to add in another external camera to the system which can be enabled in the settings section of Congrea.

Software

Software requirements for Congrea includes,

  • Latest version of modern browser (e.g. Google Chrome)

 

Understanding the UI

Before understanding the UI one must note that Congrea is meant for two type of users, i.e., presenter and learner. Presenter will be the person, having all the access over the different features of the application, However, learner will have limited access as well as different look and feel of the application.

Once you login to Congrea as a presenter, you will land to a page which will look exactly like the screenshot below.

Video Block & Personal Settings

 Microphone:  Click here to mute and unmute your sound

 Camera:   Click here to enable and disable your camera for real time virtual interaction

 Settings:  Click here to change the settings of the classroom 

Once you click onto the settings icon a drop down menu will appear, this menu will have three different sections, bulk user action, general and media.

  • The Bulk User Action section will have the options to enable/disable the audio and video access for learners i.e., you have the option to mute all audio and disable all videos of the learners.
  • Under the General section, you can validate the app prerequisites by clicking the start button
  • In the Media section you can change the audio input, audio output and video input.

Participant's Information

 Users : Click to display the list of online users

 Request Screen Share : Click to ask any of your learner to share their screen with you. To share the same with other participants, click on Share to All  present on the bottom left of your screen

 Mute Participant: Click to mute and unmute any of your participant

 Disable/Enable Chat : Click to disable or enable chat option for any of your participant

 Hand Raise :  Whenever the learner raises the hand during the session this icon will flash in the participant’s information section, until you take any further action

View Controls

*For a Presenter these controls are available in selected features of Congrea such as, Whiteboard, Document sharing and during the Learner’s screen sharing.
Zoom in
Zoom out

Fit to screen

 Reload: Click here to reload your current document or white board

Applications Panel

 Whiteboard : Click here to enable a virtual whiteboard

 Document sharing : Click here to enable document sharing during the classroom session

 Screen share : Click here to enable the screen sharing

 Share video : Click to start sharing relevant youtube videos during the session

 Poll : Click here to start an online poll during the classroom session

 Quiz : Click to start an online quiz to have a quick assessment of the learners

 Text editor : Click on the text editor to start an online text editing session wherein, you also have an option to collaborate with the fellow learners

 Share presentation : Click here to share your online HTML5 presentation during the classroom session

 Session end :  Click here to end the session

Applications Toolbar

This toolbar changes along with the application. For instance, the one shown in above picture is the toolbar for whiteboard

Additional Icons

 Dashboard : This icon is available during document, video and presentation sharing sessions which allows you to modify the shared files

 Collaborate : Available in the text editor application, this icon enables your participants to have a collaborate session

 Connectivity : This icon aids in understanding the bandwidth of your network. The colour of this icon changes with the speed of your internet, wherein Green reflects good connectivity, Yellow means satisfactory, Orange means poor and Red denotes no connectivity

Using Congrea

Whiteboard

Steps for using the whiteboard

  1. Click the whiteboard icon and use the application toolbar to select and draw the shapes as required.
  2. To replace, resize or realign any shape click the Active All option and select the shape or text you want to modify. Using the motion of your mouse, you can easily customize them. You can also use Active All button to select and delete any shape.
  3. Clear all button can be used to delete all the content on a whiteboard
  4. Use the arrow icon present on both the centre ends to use multiple whiteboards

Document Sharing

Steps of using document sharing

  1. Select document sharing from the applications panel and go to document dashboard to upload documents
  2. Click on Upload Documents to select the document from repository and click open to add the same to the dashboard
  3. On documents dashboard, left row shows the name of documents and right box displays different pages of a document
  4. The documents can be selected (tick) or deleted (Bin) and within a documents, the pages can be hidden (eye) or deleted (bin)
  5. Click on Finish to start sharing the document with participants. The toolbar can be used to annotate the document and the left (<) and right (>) arrows can be used to switch pages
  6. Zoom in, Zoom out, fit to screen and reload button can be used to manage the page view

Screen Share

Steps of using screen share

  1. After selecting the screen share option, the system will ask for your permission to share the screen
  2. Click Share and your screen will be shared with all the participants of your classroom
  3. To stop the screen share you can click on the Stop Sharing option present on the bottom left corner of your screen

*Note-

  • For Google Chrome – The main prerequisite for using screen sharing on Chrome is a desktop selector which allows you to share the screen on image basis i.e., you can select whichever window you want to display
  • For Mozilla Firefox – Once you click on the screen share option you will get a notification, wherein you will be asked to choose the desired window and permit screen sharing

Share Video

Steps of using share video

  1. Once you select the share video, you will get directed to the video dashboard
  2. You can now either add a video already present in the system or you can share the online videos using their URL
  3. To Upload a video already present in the system click on the Upload Video option present in the bottom left. Select the video you want to share and press open. You can also select multiple videos one by one.
  4. To share online video copy their URL and paste the same in the Enter youtube/online video URL option present in the bottom centre and press save
  5. You can now see all the added videos on the video dashboard
  6. You can see three options present on the end of each of the video. Click the first option to play any video, second to disable the video and the last one will delete the video from your dashboard

Poll

Steps of using Poll

  1. Click on the Poll icon from the applications panel and you will see two different options (course poll and site poll) present on the upper left section of the screen. Click course poll to run a poll related to the course running in the classroom. Click site poll to run a general poll.
  2. After clicking any of these two option you can add your poll by clicking the Add New option, a new tab will get open which will say create new poll
  3. Now start adding the options of your poll in the Option section, to add more options you can simply click on the Add Option button
  4. To publish your poll click on the Publish option, a poll setting tab will open where you can modify the settings as per your requirement and then press publish to run your poll
  5. After the completion of poll the result will be shown in the graphical as well as in the text format
  6. To publish any of the Saved Polls, find the poll you want to run. You now have three choices under the control option, first option will allow you to edit the poll, second will delete the poll and third will publish the poll

Quiz

*Congrea along with other softwares (e.g. Moodle) allows you to run a quiz during a classroom session.

Steps of using Quiz

  1. Once you select the quiz option, it will direct you to the quiz dashboard where all the quizzes of the course that you have imported will be available to publish
  2. Choose the quiz you want to publish now click on the Publish option present below the “Controls” tab
  3. A new window will open, click publish quiz option present over it, you can now have the real time feed on how the participants are performing in the quiz
  4. You can also click on the grade report to check the performance of each of the participant

Text Editor

Steps of using text editor

  1. After clicking the text editor option, click on the Collaborate option (in case you want to have the participation of your learners) present on the bottom right of your screen
  2. For the selective collaboration simply click on the Write Mode option (present beside the name of each of the participant) of the learner that you wish to collaborate with
  3. You can now write anything over the text editor, you can also choose font, size, colour and alignment of the text using the application toolbar
  4. To add a picture just click on the Image icon present on the toolbar, add the URL and click submit to upload it

Share Presentation

This feature of Congrea allows the you to share high quality online HTML5 presentations just by using their URLs.

Steps of Using share presentation

  1. Once you select the share presentation, you will be directed to the presentation dashboard
  2. Enter the URL of the presentation in the Enter your HTML5 presentation URL option present in the bottom centre of the dashboard
  3. Save the presentation by clicking on the Save option
  4. To play a particular presentation click on the play option present just beside the name of the presentations
  5. To add or delete the presentation open the dashboard by clicking on the dashboard icon. You can then either play, disable or delete the presentation using the options present beside the name of each of the presentation

Chatroom or Private Chat

Both the presenter and learner have the option of having common as well as private chat with any of the member present during the classroom session. You can simply click on the Chatroom option present on the bottom right of your screen to start a common chat. Whereas, for the private chat you can click on the name of the participant that you want to have a discussion with. Here the presenter also have an authority to disable the chat of any of the participant/s just by clicking the option of disable chat present just beside the name of the participants.

Audio Visual Interaction

You can also have a basic audio visual interaction during the classroom session by enabling the microphone and camera by clicking on the respective icons.

Session Recording

Once the classroom session is over you can click on the close session icon, the system will then ask your permission to Save the Session. Click on the save option to record the session and then press download. The recorded session will be saved in your own system and will be available for any further usage.

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