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Wimba Unveils New Collaborative Messaging Tool

At the inaugural Wimba Connect 2008 user conference Tuesday, Wimba unveiled its new Wimba Pronto, a collaborative instant messaging tool geared specifically toward education.

Wimba Pronto is an instant messaging and voice chat tool, part of the Wimba Collaboration Suite that also includes Wimba Classroom (a virtual classroom environment) and Wimba Create (a utility for converting Word documents to LMS-friendly formats), among other technologies.

Wimba Pronto provides live online communications for students and instructors. Some of its features include:

  • Audio and video conferencing capabilities, including a "follow the speaker" audio feature;
  • Desktop application sharing;
  • Support for queuing for individualized help; and
  • Automatic population of contact lists based on courses.

Wimba cited two universities that piloted Pronto late last year and earlier this year.

“We launched Wimba Pronto with about 5,000 users,” said Kara Monroe, executive director of the Center for Instructional Technology at Ivy Tech Community College, which piloted the software in December. “The launch was extremely successful, and now Pronto is available to all users. We expected students would love it, but found that instructors did as well. Many faculty use Pronto for online office hours as well as general conversations with students outside of normal class time.”

The University of Missouri-St. Louis piloted the software in January.

“The mission of our university is to develop a community with our students, faculty and staff,” said UMSL's Marcel Bechtoldt, system administrator for Technology Services, in a statement released today. “Wimba Pronto has the potential to have a big impact on campus community allowing us to communicate online, to share our academic interest and cultural diversity.”

UMSL said it plans to roll the software out campus-wide this spring.

More information about Pronto is available at Wimba's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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