Reliable and convenient tools for online events and home learning have become especially important in the past year, with the COVID-19-related transition to remote working. URAN Association, the national research and education network (NREN) of Ukraine, presented its two remote communications services to researchers and educators in a webinar on 25 March 2021, including eduMEET, which was deployed with the support of the EU-funded EaPConnect project.
The webinar “Services for online learning and communication for the research and education community” provided detailed information about the eduMEET and WebClass platforms offered by URAN. Around 120 participants heard about the services’ capabilities and examples of their use.
The web-based, secure online video-conferencing service eduMEET was developed by the NREN community in the EU-funded GÉANT project GN4-3. In March 2020, URAN quickly deployed this platform in Ukraine with the support of GÉANT and the EU-funded Up2U project, as well as EaPConnect.
“Every day, eduMEET is used by 60 to 120 Ukrainian users simultaneously,” URAN technical specialist Oleh Yurchenko said, while demonstrating eduMEET to the webinar participants in a virtual room that he created during the event. Participants discussed what they saw while URAN staff answered questions.
The WebClass video-conferencing platform is based on BigBlueButton, an easy-to-use open-source software. The webinar participants learned that many URAN users widely use WebClass for a variety of online events, from school-parent talks to business meetings and international scientific conferences. The webinar itself was held in URAN’s WebClass platform so participants could experience the service.
Executive Director of the URAN Association Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi spoke about the functionality of the service, its technical capabilities and interface. Participants tried to keep joint notes, learned how to create questionnaires and divide visitors into groups, and how to use both eduMEET and WebClass for interactive activities.
In expectation of new webinars
The webinar ended with answers to questions that were sent in advance by participants during registration for the event. Are eduMEET and WebClass integrated with the LMS e-learning system? What server characteristics are required for the platforms to work reliably? Does URAN provide specific services for certain fields of science and education? How can Ukrainian students use the services of European universities during academic mobility?
Some of the questions covered topics beyond the scope of this meeting and Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi assured participants that URAN will cover them in future webinars, because a series of events is being planned. “We are waiting for new webinars”, said several participants in the meeting ‘chat’, thanking the organisers for the informative and practical meeting. The success of the webinar testifies to a high level of interest in unique digital services for science and education. URAN will continue to acquaint the Ukrainian community with such services.
The next webinar in URAN’s series will focus on the eduGAIN authorisation system designed for research and education – date to be confirmed.