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We are currently in the process of building a training room where we will bring clients to train them in the use of our software.

The basics are that an instructor will provide training on how the software is operated and then allow them to do several exercises on their own. We have sorted out a computer for the instructor with a projector as well as a test environment for the users to play around in. We have also installed client PCs for the users to operate (10 seats).

What we feel would be useful is if the instructor was able to:

  1. take over a users screen from his own PC and demonstrate to the user how to do something.
  2. broadcast his own screen to all users/a subset/or just one user.
  3. switch a single users screen over to the projector to display.
  4. some other things we haven't thought about :)

We are looking for either a software or hardware solution - anyone have any ideas?

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I should also note that if you don't get a very good answer here, you can try later to post on ServerFault. I imagine the SysAdmins that frequent there have some ideas of their own. If you can't find something useful here, we can always do a migration down the road. – TheTXI Aug 3 '09 at 13:42
Thanks again TheTXI - I was unsure which stie the question was best posted on and decided I would try here and then try serverfault. – Martin Aug 3 '09 at 13:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Personally, I'd start with UltraVNC, and use saved .vnc icons to simplify the process of taking over the desired machine.

  1. take over a users screen from his own PC and demonstrate to the user how to do something. Double-click the .vnc icon of your choice. The hostname/username/password can all be saved inside the .vnc file(s)

  2. broadcast his own screen to all users/a subset/or just one user. UltraVnc supports reverse connections: you can "ask" a remote pc to view your own screen. But you're already displaying your screen on a projector. Are you sure you need this?

  3. switch a single users screen over to the projector to display. Remote control a user's screen while you're hooked up to the projector the remote screen is being projected.

  4. some other things we haven't thought about :) I'd have to get back to you. :)

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I wish I knew what it was called, but they had this style of system in place at my university in one of the computer labs. It had what you asked about (teacher seat at the front, projector, ability to show anybody's screen, and some other cool features like blocking out access to things while class was in session).

I could look into contacting some people at the University (Marshall University) and see if they can give some more information on it if you would like.

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Thanks for the offer - let's see if anyother superusers come up with anything. If not then I may take you up on the offer :). – Martin Aug 3 '09 at 13:40
Sounds good. Feel free to contact me via the options in my profile just in case I don't notice any new commenting or answers here and I can try and get you in touch with someone. – TheTXI Aug 3 '09 at 13:41

I worked at a company that used Elluminate for online training courses. It might be able to emulate the functionality you're looking for in a more 'live' setting.

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What you are looking for is a product like Net Control 2. We evualuated this last year for our own training campus, however the cost was a bit high at the exchange rate at the time.

Basically the software allows you to set up the classroom visually, lock the keyboards and mice remotely, push files, project presentations and the screen, and elimantes the need for using projectors completely.

Another similiar product is AB Tutor Control.

This is one of about 4 product similiar we tested, however I can't recall the others. This particular one was the easiest and simplest solution we could find.

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its not free, but we use DameWare for training and remote support. It lets me look at the students screens and even control them. Once it is displayed on my screen the projector displays the image.

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You could use something like GoToMeeting for this.

enter image description here

Basically you make a conference meeting with all your users.

You can then:

  • share the instructor's desktop with all users,
  • let one of the users share their desktop with others,
  • take over the control of that users computer,
  • let one of the users take over your computer to perform an action,

If the instructor's computer is connected to a projector, you can easily switch between computers from there and let anyone else's screen show up on the projector.

The only real downside is that it costs you about 400-500$ in yearly software license. Perhaps there are open-source alternatives that let you do the same.

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