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User Guide : Virtual Classroom Version

For Student User


Virtual Classroom is a simulated classroom via Internet, which provides a convenient  communication environment for distance learners just  like  traditional face-to-face style classroom.

Using Student tool, students could enter the virtual classroom which they already enrolled. Once a user registers a virtual classroom, user name (usually is First Name and Last Name shown on official roster) and password will be provided.

After registration, following functions are ready to go with student toolkit:

  1. Online Communicating with Teacher and other students in classroom using Text or Audio Messages.
  2. Browsing webpage, Video and Audio clips pushed by teacher and classmates. 
  3. Seeing graphs drawn by teacher on the whiteboard.   
  4. Pushing the web page/Video/Audio to all others, leading a discussion or making a presentation with push permission authorized by teacher.

[Minimum System Requirement]

  • Intel Pentium processor
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP
  • 32MB of RAM (64MB recommended)
  • 5MB of available hard-disk space
  • Internet Explorer 6.01 or Higher 


There are two options for installing the Student Tool, depending on which version is offered.

  1. Stand-alone Executable file, for example: StudentTool.exe.  No Installation required. Just download/copy it to your disk and click to run. Make a shortcut on the desktop if you like.
  2. Installation package, for example: StudentInstall.exe. Download/Copy the package and click to run. Follow the instructions step by step. Once finished, a new group named "Virtual Classroom Student Toolkit" will be added into your program group(Figure1). Click Start--> Program-->Virtual Classroom Student Toolkit-->Communication Tool to Start the tool.

Figure1.Installation Option 2


In most cases, there is no need to configure your student tool unless required by provider. A configure tool is provided ONLY if using Installation Option2.

Click Start--> Program-->Virtual Classroom Student Toolkit-->Configuration Tool  to activate the configuration Tool.

Figure2. Configuration Tool

The IP address and Port Number of Name Server usually are given by your software provider. If you don't know, please ask the provider.

[Getting Start]

For Option 1, Double Click the StudentTool.exe

For Option 2, Click Start--> Program-->Virtual Classroom Student Toolkit-->Communication Tool.

You will be asked for First name, Last Name and password . Make sure to remember all these information while registration.

Figure3. Login Window

Next Window is asking you to choose the classroom you want to enter.

Note: One student could register multiple classes, so more than one choices may be offered. 

Figure4. Choose the classroom

Trouble Shooting: If you get message "Can't find Name Server", please use configure tool mentioned in [Configuration] to set the name server's information. If the problem persists, check to see if you are using any firewall software. In some cases, system fails because communication port is blocked by a firewall. Opening the port or disabling firewall could solve the problem.

[Basic Functions]

After entering classroom successfully, you could use all following functions to communicate with teacher and other students:

  1. Browsing Webpage, Watching Video, Listening audio, which are pushed by teacher. (Video and Audio will pop up in new windows). See the Fiugre5. There is a embedded web browser in main interface:


Figure5 The main interface of Student Tool

2.  Chatting with teacher and other students (Figure5) by text or audio messages. There are text input area located on the right bottom of main interface, where users can input the text/audio message.

  • Click SEND (Ctrl+X) button to send message to teacher and other students.
  • Click CLEAR button to clear the input area.
  • Click SAVE button to save the all the chatting history.
  • Click Color Bar to choose the color of your message.
Note: The audio messages are allowed by checking the audio box above text input field. Student could NOT send audio message unless they have pushing permission from teacher. The indicator of Push permission is located on the status bar which is at right bottom of the main window.

3. Seeing graph drawn by teacher (Figure 5)

User could see a diagram drawn by teacher in the White Board on the right top of the main interface.

4. Browsing a visual Classroom

Figure6. The main interface of Student Tool--Visual Classroom

Click the page button CLASSROOM. A visual classroom will show up. Everyone  (Teacher and Students) will have a avatar in this room( Figure 6). Highlight means online.

Note: The images for avatars in your system may be different from figure 6. It depends on which version you are using. Some versions provide an option to change icon. 

5. Pushing (Webpage/Video/Audio) to teacher and other students

Figure7 The main interface of Student Tool--Publish Information

Click the page button Publish Information. There will be a form (Figure 7) which could let you push Webpage/Video/Audio to teacher and other students by filling URLs into the appropriate text fields. 

  • Click PUSH button to push the information to teacher and students.
  • Click CLEAR button to clear what you filled in the text fields.
Note: by this mean, student could become "teacher" -- lead a group discussion or make a presentation.

Note: Students are NOT able to push information unless they have push permission. The indicator of Push permission is located on the status bar which is at right bottom of the main window


You may need to remove the student tool from you computer. Here is some tips for Un-installation:

Figure 8.Uninstalling for Option 2

[Live Update]

For option 2, a live update tool is provided to download the latest version without re-install the whole system.  Click Start--> Program-->Virtual Classroom Student Toolkit-->Live Update, a window will be shown as Figure 9.

Figure 9 Live Update Tool

By clicking  "update" button, system will automatically check  availability of new version. If yes, it will  overwrite the current version by new one.

Note: The live update tool is ONLY available for installation Option 2. Using it ONLY while system is connected with internet.


Q1: Is this tool free? Could I use this tool to attend lectures?

A1: This tool is free for all the students enrolled in our courses. Such as Pitt students who registered CS1631 and CS3650 in Spring '04. The tool is not for public use. You could not use it unless you register related courses.

Q2: Why I could not hear audio messages?

A2: The audio messages are supported by Text to Speech synthesis by Microsoft, which is equipped in Windows XP. If you are using other windows OS version such as 2000 or 9X, please go to following web to install the API package. (It's free)


After installation, RESTART the tool to hear audio messages.

Q3: Do you have a tool for Linux?

A3: The version for Linux is under construction currently. Hopefully the Linux version will be coming soon.

Questions and Comments, send them to flying@cs.pitt.edu


Updated: 04/12/2005 Web page Counter