As mentioned previously, I have been using Ustream and Camtwist to mediate my Wednesday night sessions of EC&I 831. In combination with Skype conferencing, you can perform many of the useful functions of the very pricy Elluminate.

What you can do:
– Deliver video and audio via webcam (or other video camera).
– Broadcast timed or manual slideshows.
– Broadcast video files and Flickr sets.
– Broadcast your entire desktop or select pieces.
– Use IRC chat.

What’s missing?:
– Higher quality video broadcasts, web tours, and larger resolution presentations.
– Hands-up features or ways to identify who will communicate next.
– Built-in, “real” screencasting.
– Privacy/password protection.
– Ease of setup for instructors.

We have been using Elluminate on Tuesdays and the Ustream solution on Wednesdays. Elluminate is a stable, dependable tool. However, seeing that many free tools are now available which do many of the things that Ustream can, Elluminate will eventually need to change their pricing structure. To me, their licensing costs are simply outrageous.

The solution I have mentioned is not for everyone. I do not expect everyone to take to it as easily and with as much enthusiasm as I have. However, for those eager to try/learning something new, webcasting with these tools is a lot of fun. Let me know if you need any advice setting it up.

Also, I have put together a short screencast to show you the tools in action. Take a look.