The Virtual Lobby

The Virtual Lobby, also called the Group Lobby, is another equitable and safe solution for connecting with students and their families online. The lobby functions as a virtual queue where a student or guest can wait until they are brought into a Virtual Office meeting. You can also save a lobby chat as a meeting, so drop-in visits and chats are included in meeting reports. The lobby supports chatting with one or multiple people at once while maintaining the privacy of each individual who, by default, sees their chat only.

Mathnasium owners, directors, managers and all instructors with the ConexED Faculty/Staff role or above access their group and personal lobbies from the User Panel as shown in Figure 1. Simply click Virtual Lobby on the User Panel and then click the desired lobby to enter it. A user in more than one group will have as many lobbies as groups. In the example, the Director whose User Panel is being illustrated, has one group lobby and a personal lobby. Clicking the lobby title will show that lobby. In the example, there are no guests waiting in the lobby, and the Director is the only moderator.

Figure 1

ConexED Users Access the Virtual Lobby on the User Panel

The Knock on Door lesson in this course showed the Chat Tool for sending someone from the chat to a lobby. Students and guests can access the group Virtual Lobby via a direct URL, which can be shared or provided on your website as a button or link. Follow the steps below and as illustrated in Figure 2 to retrieve your group lobby URL to share or publish on a website:

  1. Select your group on the User Panel.
  2. Click the Settings tab
  3. Scroll down to the Group URLs section and copy the Lobby URL.

Figure 2

Access the Group Lobby URL in the Group Settings

The Group Settings is also where you customize the Group Lobby with a Welcome Message as illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Customize the Virtual Lobby

The Student Experience

The Virtual Lobb Is Open!

When students and guests enter an open Virtual Lobby like the one shown in Figure 4, they arrive in a virtual space with two sections: a left column displays their name, and a middle area displays the Center’s custom welcome message. This space also becomes the chat area. By default, only a staff member can initiate a chat with a guest in the lobby; however, this setting can be changed to permit a guest to initiate a chat. If more than one guest is waiting in the lobby, each only sees their own name. The other names appear as Guest 2, Guest 3, Guest 4, and so on. By default, guests in the lobby cannot chat with one another, and if the setting is changed to allow them to chat, guest names still remain private. Lobby guests are listed in the order of their arrival.

Figure 4

Student View of Open Group Lobby

The Virtual Lobby Is Locked!

Every lobby automatically locks each night. When a student enters a locked lobby like the one shown in Figure 5, there will be a “This lobby is locked!” message displayed in addition to a red outline around the Center’s custom locked lobby message. Both the open and locked lobby message can contain formatted text, images, videos, and links. All ConexED features are ADA compliant and responsive for accessing the page with screen readers or using keyboard navigation and mobile devices.

Figure 5

Student View of Locked Group Lobby

If a student is in your locked lobby, you will see their name as shown in Figure 6, and if you click on their name, you have the option to unlock the lobby for that visitor rather than open the lobby.

Figure 6

Connect With a Visitor in the Locked Lobby Without Unlocking the Lobby

Locked Lobby Chat

When you unlock a lobby just for one user, you can chat as well as bring the student into a virtual office meeting by clicking the plus + button beside their name as illustrated in Figure 7.

Figure 7

Invite the Visitor in the Locked Lobby Into a Meeting

To unlock the lobby each day, navigate to the Virtual Lobby via the User Panel, select the Lobby name and click the lock icon as demonstrated in the screencast below.

Unlocked Lobby Chat

The same options are available in an unlocked Lobby as shown in Figure 8. Click the student’s name to see the available tools.

Figure 8

Student in Unlocked Lobby

Lobby Tools

On the top toolbar, there are additional tools for ConexED user. The tools shown in Figure 9 include the following:

  1. Send the guest to another lobby.
  2. Invite the guest into a virtual office meeting.
  3. Remove the guest from the lobby.
  4. Open the guest’s Student Details page, which opens in a new tab.
  5. Send the guest the group survey (this also removes them from the lobby).
  6. Mark text interaction as a meeting (this is for reporting only; it does not put a meeting on the calendar).

Figure 9

Lobby Toolbar

The plus icon on the toolbar and the plus icon beside the guest’s name as illustrated in Figure 10 move the student to your Virtual Office for a private, one-on-one, FERPA and HIPAA compliant meeting.

Figure 10

Invite Into a Private Meeting

When being moved to a private meeting, the guest will first arrive on the Join Now screen as shown in Figure 11 with the ability to select or turn on or off their audio and video, closed captions, and text to speech.

Figure 11

Join Now Screen

Clicking the three dots in the lower right of the thumbnail image or video feed opens the audio/video options as Figure 12 illustrates.

Figure 12

Audio/Video and Meeting Settings Menu

The Meeting Settings option illustrated in Figure 13 provides the accessibility options for enabling keyboard shortcuts (on by default) and using text-to-speech for incoming chat messages.

Figure 13

Accessibility Meeting Settings

The Join Now button opens the Virtual Office as shown in Figure 14. The Meeting Locked feature prevents intruders. Group meetings in this space are possible but require a different entrance pathway as discussed in the Virtual Office Meetings lesson of this course.

Figure 14

Inside the Virtual Office

The Virtual Lobby Quiz

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