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Elluminate Live!


Elluminate, Inc. is a privately held, multinational software company headquartered in Calgary, Canada and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The company provides live e-learning and web collaboration solutions for academic and corporate markets. Elluminate's products are written in Java and available on Apple Macs, MS Windows, Novell Linux Desktop and Red Hat Linux. (www.cramster.com/reference/ wiki.aspx?wiki_name=Elluminate)

The company's educational product line includes:
  • Elluminate Plan! for organizing and scripting session content ahead of time;
  • Elluminate Live! for transforming the teaching and learning experience with real-time online interaction;
  • Elluminate Publish! for creating standalone files or industry-standard video files from Elluminate Live! recordings;
  • Elluminate Bridges for seamless integration with popular learning and content management systems.

Elluminate technology partners include Apple, Blackboard, eCollege, Sun Michrosystems, Unicon, and WebCT. Elluminate's Community Partnership Program provides products and services to a wide variety of organizations, including nonprofits, education consortia, academic institutions, and others. Elluminate customers include higher education, and K-12 academic organizations, such as universities, community colleges, virtual schools, school districts, and departments of education, as well as corporations, nonprofits, and government organizations.
(www.cramster.com/reference/ wiki.aspx?wiki_name=Elluminate).



Elluminate Live! enables users to provide instruction in an interactive, real time setting (www.ncat.edu/ ~univstud/elluminate-white-paper.pdf). Its features allow educators to duplicate many elements of face-to-face interaction in an on-line environment, including:
  • Real-time, on-line instruction using an interactive whiteboard and/or through sharing of applications, such as Word and Excel documents, over regular internet connections
  • Multimedia delivery of content
  • Transfer of all types of files, including audio, video, and PowerPoint
  • Audio interaction, including simultaneous talking among multiple participants
  • Video interaction using a webcam
  • Communication among participants via text messaging
  • Private communication with an instructor/presenter during a lesson using the text feature
  • A live polling tool that allows an instructor/presenter to assess student understanding and/or interest in a topic
  • Synchronized web tours
  • Breakout rooms for participants to work in small groups
  • The ability to record sessions which can be achieved and viewed later
(J. Crofton, C. Pugh, K. Evans, 2001)

General Applications

Elluminate, Inc. identifies several applications of Elluminate Live! that relate directly to the work of educators and other school division personnel, professional developers, and consultants. These applications provide opportunities for:

1. Live Instruction and Professional Development
Teachers and professional developers can provide e-learning experiences in real time, replicating the interaction of a physical classroom.

2. Content Development
Teachers and presenters can collaborate to plan lessons using software features that enable them to talk, share resources, and design lessons and ancillary materials without meeting face-to-face. Additionally, Elluminate Live's recording feature enables students/participants to view lessons in which they cannot participate live and re-view lessons they have previously seen.

3. Tutoring Programs
Students can ask questions and receive help with assignments without meeting face-to-face. Professional developers can provide consultative services and follow-along assistance to participants who have previously attended face-to-face or e-learning workshops.

4. Student Collaboration
Class members/workshop participants can engage in small group activities with one another without meeting face-to-face. Students/participants can also collaborate with counterparts in other states, countries, and cultures to enhance their learning experiences.

5. Meetings
Elluminate users can participate in meetings without having to travel to them.

6. Virtual Office Hours
Elluminate software enables teachers to meet one-on-one or with groups of students outside of class time.

7. Student/Parent Orientation
Schools can showcase their programs in order to attract students and provide orientation programs for new students who cannot participate in person.

8. Remote Guest Speakers/Virtual Field Trips
Speakers can be brought into distance classrooms or professional development activities, eliminating the need for them to travel.


Few studies have been conducted to identify benefits and limitations of Elluminate Live! (Wang and Hsu, 2008). When Kohorst and Cox (2007) "used Elluminate to facilitate both virtual office hours and the communication of course-related information to students" they found that "Elluminate effectively facilitated interaction between the instructor and individual students who had questions regarding the course materials" (Wang and Hsu, 2008). Wang and Hsu (2008) have also identified the following five advantages of using Elluminate Live! to facilitate communication between two sites:

(1) Webinar tool is affordable (de Gara &Boora, 2006). Users can participate in a webinar session with a computer, video/audio capture devices, and broadband network connections. (2) Webinar tool enables synchronous communication. Instructors can communicate with the learners in a synchronous format to provide immediate feedback to learners (Hotcomm, 2003). (3) Webinar tool facilitates real-time multimedia demonstrations. Instructors can share the application on the presenter's site with all participants. (4) Webinar tool facilitates multi-level interaction. Instructors can lecture, interact with the audience, facilitate participant group collaboration in a real-time format (Marjanovic, 1999), and designate certain participants to be in charge of the sessions. (5) Webinar tool provides an environment in which participants can archive seminar content for personal review or for people who missed the real-time session.

The Elluminate, Inc. website promotes numerous affordances of Elluminate Live!, including accessibility features, user supports, and benefits of using its flagship product. Accessibility features include the following:

1. Compatibility with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers
2. Computer requirements limited to the ability to download Java, optional use of a webcam, and a microphone with speakers or a headset with a microphone
3. Multiple streams of closed captioning
4. Enlarged, easier-to-see video
5. Activation of menus and dialogs via short-cut keys
6. Ability to inherit user-defined color schemes from operating system
7. Scalability of visual content, such as direct messaging
8. Auditory notification of certain events, such as new user joining session
9. Magnifier for application sharing
10. Customized content selection
11. User controlled interface layout
12. Hot key to terminate application sharing
13. Java Accessibility Bridge for screen readers, like JAWS
14. Integration with LMS and Web applications

The company advertises support services that include:
  • An on-line orientation program
  • On-line participant training program and Participant's Guide
  • On-line moderator training program and Moderator's Guide
  • Live on-line training sessions on Elluminate Live! and the Session Administration System
  • Content development tools - PowerPoint Converter and Presentation Wizard
  • A Java software check
  • Customer support technicians who are available by phone and on-line

Benefits of using Elluminate Live! for educational purposes include:

1. Cost Reduction
Students can take courses, educators can participate in professional development activities, and employees can participate in meetings without incurring the expenses associated with travel.

2. Versatility
Elluminate can be used to provide classes, workshops, seminars, institutes, meetings, study groups, mentoring, tutoring, and peer-coaching sessions to students, teachers, administrators, and other education staff.

3. Flexibility
On-line instruction and professional development using Elluminate can be both synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous instruction allows students/participants and teachers/professional developers to interact in real time. Content can be recorded and viewed again and again in a variety of locations using portable devices, such as MP3 players. Information sessions can also be pre-recorded before a class begins.

4. Geographic Accessibility
Schools can use e-learning and web collaboration to extend their geographical reach, enabling them to increase enrollment, provide access for all, and provide guest speakers and experts, regardless of their location.

5. Productivity
Employees save travel time by participating in e-learning opportunities, thus increasing productivity in the workplace. Increased opportunities to collaborate and share ideas and materials can also increase teacher/professional developer productivity.

6. Accountability
E-learning can provide teachers with knowledge of and practices for meeting the demands of the 21st century teacher and learner, such as the requirements of No Child Left Behind and other educational mandates. Elluminate makes it possible for teachers and consultants to collaborate to develop and refine curricula that align with federal, state, and district standards. Distance learning using the Elluminate program can also address teacher quality challenges.

7. Student Achievement
Today's students are digital natives. They learn better when they are allowed to use methods that reflect their preferred learning styles. Further, when students engage in distance learning activities that use only asynchronous technology, they tend to feel isolated and less motivated to complete coursework. Elluminate, Inc reports that synchronous distance learning enables teachers and students to interact with one another, resulting in improved student attitude, motivation, and retention of material. This, in turn, results in increased completion rates, higher test scores, and improved retention.

E-learning can increase the number of opportunities teachers have to engage in professional development. Increased opportunities for professional development may result in improved teacher performance; as teacher effectiveness increases student achievement improves, as well.

8. Teacher Retention
Many teachers leave the profession because of a lack of professional support. Distance learning can increase the amount of professional support teachers receive through online coaching.

9. On-Line Learning Communities
Students can use synchronous technology to collaborate across campus or across the globe, creating on-line learning communities that encourage engagement and stimulate innovation.

Likewise, web collaboration can facilitate faculty intra- and inter-school communication, collaboration, and the sharing of effective teaching practices.


Most studies on synchronous-communication tools focus on the interaction between instructors and students (Wang and Hsu, 2008). "Most of the problems described in the literature surrounding technology-based courses focus on the following areas: restricted access to technology, restricted access to technology support services, lack of technology skills, lack of community, poor reading skills and poor academic skills" (Harrington, 2010, p 13).

Elluminate Live! like other webinar tools, requires access to computers and broadband internet service. At this time only 60% of adults in the US have broadband internet service at home. Many community colleges and public libraries have limited hours during which their computers are available. These limitations especially limit access for Blacks, Hispanics, low-income students, and students living in rural areas (Harrington, 2010).

A lack of technology support is one of the most important factors impacting students' use of technology. Technical problems that students cannot easily fix or for which they have to wait a long time for assistance leave them feeling behind schedule, frustrated, and unmotivated (Liu, Gomez, Khan, and Yen, 2007) . Many schools and community colleges lack adequate support services (Tinto, 2008). Nash (2005) reports that the support services they do provide are often not available during weekend and late evening hours.


1. Live Instruction and Professional Development
  • The Alabama Department of Education provides Elluminate Live!® to its school divisions in order to in create opportunities and options for Alabama public high school students to engage in Advanced Placement (AP), elective, and other courses to which they may not otherwise have access.
  • Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Springfield use Elluminate Live!® to provide on-line synchronous coursework.
  • The Office of Career-Technical Education (CTE) of the Ohio Department of Education uses Elluminate Live!® to conduct professional development and provide technical assistance. The CTE office made the decision to use Elluminate in recognition of the need for efficiency in times of limited resources resulting from the current economic recession (Huston, 2009).

  • New York State Teacher Centers provide professional development to nearly 240,000 teachers via Elluminate Live!®

2. Content Development
  • Nova Scotia Community College records sessions that train students to use the college’s learning management system and other required software using Elluminate Live!®. The college’s international business instructors record their introductory courses with Elluminate so that students can review lessons.

  • The Leadership Team of Canada’s Argyll Centre uses Elluminate Live!® to discuss ways to execute its annual plan (Barbour, 2009).

3. Tutoring Programs
  • The Alabama Department of Education ACCESS program uses Elluminate Live!® to create virtual rooms its staff uses to provide a virtual help desk to teachers in local school districts.

  • In Ohio, West Central Learning Academy provides after-school math tutorial services to struggling math students using Elluminate Live!®
4. Student Collaboration
  • Students at Japan’s Dohto University have used Elluminate Live!® to collaborate with Tennessee Tech University in a course about international architecture.
  • Elluminate Live!® made it possible for middle school students in three continents to participate collaboratively in a project designed to address global warming issues. Students were able to report their findings and share their action plan with a global audience.
5. Meetings
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education uses Elluminate Live!® to conduct distance meetings. This initiative has eliminated the costs associated with travel expenses; it has also resulted in increased numbers of employees’ ability to participate in meetings and has improved interaction among employees.
  • The Manoa School of Education at the University of Hawaii uses Elluminate Live!® to reduce the costs associated with use of interactive television and the cost of traveling to meetings.
6. Virtual Office Hours
  • Chemistry professors at Northern Arizona University provide evening and weekend virtual office hours via Elluminate Live!®.
7. Student/Parent Orientation
  • Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania uses both real-time and recorded Elluminate Live!® sessions for student orientation.
  • California’s Laurel Springs School, a distance-learning school for students in grades K-12, uses Elluminate Live!® to conduct monthly open houses.
8. Remote Guest Speakers/Virtual Field Trips
  • Students in North Carolina’s Union County Public Schools’ Performing Arts program take virtual field trips via Elluminate Live!®.

  • Georgia State University uses Elluminate Live!® to deliver guest lectures.

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