With Open Cobalt, researchers at different locations to benefit from a sense of shared presence, voice-over-IP telecommunication, integrated text chat, a capacity for 3D model and media sharing, an ability to collaboratively share and edit documents, and an ability to simultaneously access and interact with third party services via virtual network computing (VNC).
The technology also provides a robust platform for modular interface development and a usable basis for further exploration in the area of scalable distributed collaboration. The technology also provides a basis for future research on: (1) optimal methods of supporting the ad hoc synchronous communication and collaboration needs of large numbers of researchers, educators, and students; and (2) ways of achieving large-scale, cost efficient proliferation of new interconnected and deeply capable virtual workspaces.
Open Cobalt provides the basis for a common, open cyberlearning platform that supports a full range of teaching and learning activities, including assessment and analysis. Its unique technical architecture allows schools to host richly collaborative MUVE-based experiences “behind the firewall” using the school’s own local area network.
The technology also allows teachers to develop entire MUVE-based curricula (e.g. the virtual environment, embedded scenario and content, etc.), put that curriculum on a thumb drive and pop it into the school’s local network for instant distribution to networked computers throughout the school. Teachers will be able to create new versions of their curriculum, restore old versions, and share the curriculum with other teachers through web-based repositories.