HorizonLive Unveils OfficeHoursLive; Educators Now Able to Speak with their Students Live Online

January 23, 2001

HorizonLive today announced the launch of OfficeHoursLive, the first virtual office designed specifically for faculty, teaching assistants, tutors, counselors and other distance learning professionals.

The product, which enables instructors and students to speak with each other live over the Web, can be used to hold virtual office hours, “Q & A” sessions and study groups, deliver live lectures, host exam review sessions, or present guest speakers.

The ability for educators to speak live with students about their subject matter, and the ability for students to engage in real-time verbal discussion with their teachers and colleagues are essential elements of quality learning experiences. Such true human interaction in the world of teaching and learning has been reserved for physical academic venues, rendering it noticeably absent from the world of online and distance education – until now.

The OfficeHoursLive environment allows educators to interact with students live and in real-time – entirely through standard Web browsers, without custom software and on virtually any PC, Mac, or Unix computer.

For larger live sessions, a new LectureHall option is available to complement one’s Office. LectureHall sessions can be recorded with one mouse click and the resulting archives can be made available to students for on-demand viewing at any time.

“The goal was to design a low-cost, personalized, virtual classroom, as an entry point for distance educators,” said John Walber, Chief Operating Officer of HorizonLive. “They asked for a full-featured product that could easily be used in conjunction with courses they were already teaching on the web. We listened, and the result is a very simple and a very human way to teach and learn online.”

The first OfficeHoursLive customers are already using their online Offices. Among them a University of Wisconsin-Parkside professor conducting Calculus “Q & A” sessions and two Lehigh University professors teaching “Introduction to Instructional Design” using their new online Office and LectureHall.

“Working with standard, largely text-based online learning tools just didn’t cut it for us,” said Ward Mitchell Cates, Ed.D. Educational Technology Program Coordinator at Lehigh University. “Once we found HorizonLive, we were sure we’d found a way to break out of the isolation of text-based systems. The two-way audio and the simultaneous chat and whiteboard features seem ideally suited to what we are trying to accomplish. Students are excited by our new approach. Both instructors and students like the product.”

Each virtual Office features a rich teaching and learning toolkit. An impressive set of eLearning Templates provide instructors a simple way to create and deliver interactive slides and exercises, as well as real-time polls, surveys, and evaluations – all geared towards enhancing the experience of learning together live online.

Educators may verbally guide students through content posted in leading course management systems or anywhere on the Web. An electronic whiteboard makes impromptu illustrations and diagrams a click away. The ability for students and faculty to import images that can be annotated makes the whiteboard an essential learning tool. Using LiveApp, presenters may even share applications running on their desktop.

OfficeHoursLive, designed for and by educators, should be used by anyone who wishes to naturally communicate with students and bring true human interaction to online teaching and learning.

Additional information is available at http://www.officehourslive.com.

About HorizonLive.com
OfficeHoursLive is a product offered by HorizonLive.com, Inc., the leader in live, web-based interactive virtual classroom technology. HorizonLive.com, Inc., based in New York, NY, provides online interactive group learning and collaboration solutions that blend the best of classroom and computer-based learning – live over the Internet. Among those academic institutions using HorizonLive’s virtual classroom technology are: California State University at Chico and at Monterey Bay, Touro University, MIT, Strayer University, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins University, Babson College, Ohio State University, Columbia ILT, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin Parkside, University of Canberra, Lehigh University and Pace University. HorizonLive is also used to power eLearning initiatives at organizations like: The TLT Group, Houghton Mifflin, NASA, MetLife, Ernst & Young, McKessonHBOC, LEAD International, New York City Transit, Lucent, Siemens and The Princeton Review.

Live demonstrations are offered on the OfficeHoursLive.com and HorizonLive.com websites at http://www.officehourslive.com and http://www.horizonlive.com throughout the week. For more information, visit our websites or contact us at 212-533-1775 or via email at officehours@horizonlive.com.


HorizonLive.com, New York

Matt Wasowski, 212/813-3886


Grand New Media, New York

Cheri Grand-Anderman, 212/462-4905