Instant Video Chat using Appear.in

appear.in logoHow would you like to offer your students a way to video chat with you with only a single click of a link?

That is the essence of a new tool called Appear.in [ https://appear.in ]. Appear.in is similar to Skype but much simpler.


  • There’s no software to download or install. It’s browser based. (Screensharing requires a one-time browser add-on installed)
  • No one needs an account to use it.
  • It operates on any Internet enabled device.
  • It works peer-to-peer, so there is no intermediary server to go through.
  • There is no JAVA to load or update.
  • Up to EIGHT participants per session.
  • Audio, video, text chat, and screensharing (except on Firefox)
  • IT’S FREE!!!


What’s it good for?

Your courses already include the capability to hold webinar-style sessions using Blackboard Collaborate (BbC). BbC is good for formal synchronous sessions where you need a whiteboard, PPT presentation, and recording.

Appear.in is useful for informal sessions, such as project check-ins or one-to-one student conferences. It’s easy for students to just schedule a time to meet with you and then click on an “Instant Video Chat” link in your course.

How do you get an Appear.in video chat link?

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Go to https://appear.in and just click on the START button, give it permission to use your webcam and microphone, and then share the URL with whomever you want. This method is temporary. You can’t use the URL again.
  2. Go to https://appear.in and type in some URL-friendly text in the center box to create your own URL. From then on, same as above.

What if I want to keep the special URL I created?

If you do option #2 above, then you will see at the top of the screen a button labeled “Claim”. To claim a custom URL as your own, you will need to create an account (free). Once claimed, you can use your custom URL anywhere you want. You can create one that is based on your name or your course, or for whatever other reason you can think of.

How do I get it into my course?

Here’s what it looks like in my own course (COMM601):

course example

I did this by editing my “Instructor Details” block in Moodle and adding a simple JPG image (below). Once added, select it and then click on the link button to make it a clickable link. In the URL box, paste in your custom Appear.in URL. Be sure to check the “Open in a new tab/window” checkbox so that it doesn’t replace your course when students click on it.

Drag off the image below onto your desktop for yourself and upload it into your course! Make it a link with your own Appear.in URL.

Instant video chat


Watch how easy it is to start a session!
Once your student clicks on the link, this is what happens…

 

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