A friend of mine wants to deliver some one-on-one online teaching via video chat. It seems like a good idea, except for the fact that I can almost never get a Skype video session to work reliably or smoothly with a friend or relative, even when both ends are served by broadband and reasonably new devices. Given that there will be a range of students and they will have differing hardware, software, and connectivity situations, what are some good choices?
And let’s maybe renew the discussion that I started in February asking why Skype was so bad. The companies offering video chat, e.g., Skype (Microsoft), Yahoo!, Google, and Apple, have near-infinite money. So there should not be any constraint on programmers or fancy algorithms. As the software runs peer-to-peer, there should not be any constraint on how much CPU and bandwidth can be consumed. Yet a comment on the previous posting stated, quite credibly, that the Polycom system worked far better than PC-based systems. Is there a non-free system that would be reasonable for students and teachers to install that would work a lot better than the standard free ones?
[Update: I forgot to ask… why don’t these systems allow recording for later review? Isn’t it just as easy for the software to write to the hard drive at the same time that it is writing to the display?]