As the whole world is adapting to working and studying from home in the time of COVID-19 pandemic, in Ukraine researchers, students and teachers have a new tool to help them: eduMEET. This online meeting tool was rapidly deployed by the Ukrainian Research and Academic Network URAN, with the support of the EU-funded projects EaPConnect, Up2U and GÉANT (GN4-3).
On 18 March, the URAN team was asked to implement eduMEET and immediately started work to provide the service, working throughout the weekend to complete set up and testing. Early the following week, URAN contacted around 225 systems administrators, ITC heads and rectors of research and education institutions and department heads at the Ministry of Education, inviting them to try eduMEET. In the first five days, almost 30 people used the new service.
eduMEET has been developed in the pan-European GÉANT Project and offers simple, easy-to-use functionality that does not overload the processor of computers, phones or tablets. It provides a secure connection of good quality and, currently, does not require registration, which means that it is open to anyone for easy use. It has chat, file sharing and screen demonstration features. The current eduMEET is a beta version that has been made available at short notice in response to the pandemic and the sudden need for people to be able to meet online to support working and studying from home. Work to develop eduMEET functionality for the longer term is ongoing in the GÉANT Project. URAN worked closely with the GÉANT project eduMEET and Partner Relations teams to understand the service.
eduMEET is an easy-to-use GÉANT service, just such a service that our users lacked for convenient daily communication in the process of work.”
The Up2U project has included eduMEET in its trimmed-down Next Generation Digital Learning Environment package, ‘openUp2U’. openUp2u was launched on 25 March in an effort to support continued learning during the pandemic. National research and education networks such as URAN were asked to install eduMEET on their national servers to help the scalability of the openUp2U eduMEET offering.
URAN already offered a web conferencing tool, but decided to push for eduMEET in addition.
Why have we decided to implement the new GÉANT service eduMEET while already having another web-conferencing tool, Webclass? Because they serve different purposes. Webclass is an ‘out of the box’ solution based on Big Blue Button open software, which has a whiteboard, pointer, grouping of participants into different ‘rooms’, presentations, etc., but it requires more technical resources and certain skills from the meeting organisers. eduMEET is perfect for fast group meetings without preliminary preparation, does not require training, and works quickly as it is not overloaded with functions.”