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Adobe Connect Review: "Connect with your students with AdobeConnect!"
https://www.trustradius.com/web-conferencingAdobe ConnectUnspecified7.6283101
Maximus Mednick profile photo
February 01, 2014

Adobe Connect Review: "Connect with your students with AdobeConnect!"

Score 9 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
9.1.2

Overall Satisfaction

Our organization switched from Cisco's WebEx to AdobeConnect 3 years ago, en masse. It was a directive from the top executives, primarily due to a 'conflict of interest' in having a business relationship with our direct competitor. So, while the directive was initially 'groaned' at (en masse), changes in employee enthusiasm became readily apparent after a few months of use (and training). There are several key departments within our org that use AC on a daily-basis: mostly used for the typical business conference-calls/meeting room, but also used by my department for technical training purposes.
  • The Training function is extremely robust for sharing: we hold week-long technical training classes using a number of tools provided by AC. The ability to share the desktop is the most basic function, and it works exactly as it should - stably, quickly and compatibly across the various OSes.
  • The Training function allows for breakout rooms: we have, on average, 12 students in our classrooms. We typically use the dial-in bridge function (POTS) to ensure consistent audio quality, regardless of bandwidth issues. Our curriculum includes hands-on eLab functionality, and we pair-up the students during the 2nd-half of each day using the breakout-room function, which 'tucks' each pair of students into their own classroom, including the full telephony & AC tools for each breakout room. As the Host, I can easily 'jump' from room to room, giving me the ability to 'wander around the classroom' like in real life.
  • We have a large amount of course-offerings, each with their own sets of resources: Instructor guides, PowerPoint decks, Student guides, websites for technical support, as well as remote 'hands-on' equipment access, and the corresponding eLab procedural documents. We have organized all of these various resources in the AC 'cloud' that's provided within each classroom, making classroom readiness a breeze. Essentially, our technical trainers don't need to worry about having any of the courseware, PowerPoint slides and all the other 'crap' on their local computer when they log into the classroom. This 'cloud' storage is managed by our Content Development Team, so when major (and, more importantly, minor) changes & releases are made, the CDT backend process includes 'uploading' the content to the AC 'cloud', for each classroom. Basically, the flexibility of AC allows solid integration with our CDT release management process.
  • AC allows for the meetings & training sessions to be recorded, and the recordings are stored in the AC 'cloud'. Further, the AC recording backend creates a 'shareable' URL for distribution of the content, quite easily. Further, there's even an integrated video editing function, giving you the opportunity to 'clean-up' any recorded content while it's in the cloud - no need to download the video file and edit it locally, then upload it again. While these are great functions, there are times that the video needs to be downloaded - particularly training videos - for further post-production editing, and subsequent video hosting elsewhere (like LMS systems, OnDemand portals, etc.). This is where the AC recording function falls flat on its face. In order to download the recording, a 'kludgy' series of time-consuming steps are required. Quite literally, the recorded video must be 'streamed' to your local computer through an AC 'streaming capture' web function. Once the recorded video stream is completed, the file saved is an .FLV file, which is not our desired format (.MP4 is what we want). To re-phrase: you have to re-play to whole session (or sessions, in our case) on your computer, tying it up for many hours while it builds up the .FLV file on your local hard drive. There is a sub-function of this process, where you can pause the playback, save-off the current chunk, and then resume where you left off. This gives you the option to 'on-the-fly' create a multi-part presentation (ie: part 1 of 3, part 2 of 3, part 3 of 3, etc). THE REQUEST: AC should process the video in THEIR backend systems, and give you a couple of download links (.MP4, .FLV, .AVI, etc). I picture a quick 'Wizard' on the front-end of this function, wherein you can select which 'pod' (or pods) are recorded, and a few other pre-production knobs & dials, then click 'start'. An email with the links shows up in your inbox, and you DOWNLOAD an 'already processed' video. Then, I can put it into my local video-edition software, and create awesome.
  • I can't answer for the other departments, but for our specific teams, AC has allowed us to present a much more immersive and comprehensive training experience for our students. It's a comfortable, inviting environment, which is critical for an online classroom. Sitting in front of a screen for 6 hours is tough. Add to that the training component, and attendees will tire quickly, get frustrated at seemingly stupid hurdles and ultimately the training ecosystem causes the actual training content to get lost in the shuffle. Smooth transitions, easily navigated sections and loads of options make AC come together for us all.
We found that WebEx was 'flat' when it came to training for extended periods of time. Deeper interactions created by AC with the course content, the instructors and, ultimately, with the students creates a successful class. A successful class means students that have been exposed to (in our case) intensely complex & technical content that wasn't hampered by stupid technical failures & lack of features. For example: in WebEx, when the Host dropped off, the classroom would get torn-down with it. It was a mad-scramble to get the classroom back up, and somehow notify the attendees that they can 'dial back in', etc. Additionally, the WebEx 'cloud' for course content storage & subsequent access wasn't as rich, or as flexible as AC's, and we found that our CDT release management team couldn't integrate their processes easily with WebEx, and therefore we regularly ran into inconsistencies in versions delivered.
Beyond all the aforementioned reasons, there's just no other product out there that stacks up against the mature AC solution. We have a fantastic relationship with our AC reseller, who also provides us a great telephony solution in the bundle. Beyond the features, the post-sale support can be a critical factor in successful enterprise-adoption; make sure that your reseller can provide formal AC training to your people, and has a help-desk team well-versed in the product.
I think it's best suited for pre-planned meetings & training sessions. It's a bit stickier for quick in-and-out desktop sharing functions. That's where join.me eats AC's lunch. :)