Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


*training, *pedagogy

Publication Details

Presented at NAIRTL/ LIN Conference on Flexible Learning at the Royal College of Surgeons. Dublin, Ireland. October 2010


The increase in demand for open and distance learning has resulted in many higher education providers investing in virtual classroom systems. These systems can be an essential component in the delivery of flexible and online courses. While many institutions correctly place a greater emphasis on the pedagogical development of flexible courses, poor selection or implementation of virtual classroom software can reduce the pedagogical effectiveness of such courses and in some cases render them unworkable for both lecturing staff and students.

Changes in vendor offerings, the continual evolution of end user technology, developments in mobile devices and improvements in internet infrastructure and services have resulted in need for continuous evaluation of virtual classroom systems and their capabilities to provide ideal environments for teaching and learning.

This paper provides a comparative analysis of two such virtual classroom systems (Adobe Connect 7 and Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007) and examines their suitability in meeting both pedagogical and technological needs in Irish higher education. In doing so it suggests a comparative framework for other institutions engaged in the evaluation of virtual classroom systems.