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Collaboration Drawing Board
     
    Drawing Board


The Drawing Board allows students and instructors
to collaborate and share diagrams with audio communications

 

The drawing board is a web-based drawing application that allows all users to share drawings in real time and even communicate with voice (assumes users have microphone and speakers). Each user can draw objects and all other user can view and change the drawing. The tool also allows users to communicate by text similar to a chat room.

It should be noted that the drawing board is a true, vector-based tool and not a paint tool. This means that each object is independent of other objects, and they can be easily edited and moved.

Each class has it own drawing board and can be started by clicking on the "Drawing Board" link on the main menu after the user has logged in their class. Only those in a given class can use the drawing board. The drawing board opens in a separate window and requests that you click on the "start" button to begin. The tool will connect to the server so that your activity will be shared with other users of the drawing board. As new users enter the drawing board, the current image is transmitted to the new user.

Each user can add, delete, move and change any object in the drawing. Currently, all users have the same priority, including the instructor. When the last user closes the drawing browser window, the drawing will be deleted from the server. Images cannot be saved for later use.

     
    Basic Drawing Tools

Tool Palette
 

The drawing tools are grouped together at the bottom left of the drawing area. The current tool is highlighted with a yellow background. The tools included:

Icon
Name
Description
Select
Allows user to select any object in the drawing area. Objects can be moved or deleted.
Pencil
Simple freehand drawing tool for writing or creating pictures.
Rectangle
Constructs basic rectangular shape. Edge and fill can be different colors.
Eraser
Erases any object in the drawing area. Basically, this is a white area object. Can be selected and deleted later.
Line
Creates straight line between two end points
Circle
Constructs basic circular shape. Edge and fill can be different colors.
Arrow
Similar to the line tool by adds an arrow head at the end.
Pointer
Allow user to point without drawing an object. Disappears when any other tool is selected.

The edge and fill colors can be selected by clicking on the desired color. Colors cannot be changed once the object is drawn. Also, line and edge thickness can be selected.

The Clear button removes all objects on the screen. There is no "undo" so be careful with this button. The Grid button places a drawing grid on just your computer (not shared) to help with drawing size and orientation.

     
  Text Chat
    Similar to any text chat on the Internet, you simply type your comment or question into the text field and click on the send button. All text is seen by all users (there is not private chat).
     
  Audio Chat


Audio Controls


Flash Security Warning Window


Basic audio chat headset with microphone
(Labtec AXIS 502)

 

In join in the audio chat, you must first activate your microphone. This is done by either clicking on the "Auto" check box or clicking the Talk button (and holding it down). The Auto will keep the your mic in standby mode. When you talk, the mic automatically sends your voice to other users.

The first time you use your mic, you will get a warning window that requires you to allow the mic to be turned on. This assures you that the mic cannot be activated without your knowledge. The system does not use video, so if you have a camera, it is not active at any time.

CAUTION....

It is important the all users of the audio chat use headsets. This will reduce echoes and speaker feedback. If you use standard speakers (good for music) with a stand-alone microphone, there will be feedback from the speakers into the mic. This can cause real load sounds. Plus, since there is a small time lag, you will here yourself speak about 1 sec after you speak. This echo will then be repeated with a stand-alone mic.

One of the best, and cheapest, is the Labtec AXIS 502 model. It can be purchased online for as little as $15. It retails for about $25. There are other more expensive models (up to $80) but the Labtec AXIS unit is better than most (I have tried most all units, and this is a best buy).