Virtual campuses offer social interaction and all kinds of online resources to extend your classroom. There's no limitation on types of links you can install in your virtual rooms. There are, however, different ways of installing your links.
There are 2 main ways of installing your links: embedded websites and open in a new tab.
Embedded websites are embedded in your campus. This means the installed website pops up on your campus screen. Your screen splits in half to show the virtual campus on one side, and the embedded website on the other.
This type of interaction is great because it does not take you away from the campus. It can also be combined with a Jitsi meeting room for a perfect collaboration between students and educators.
Lastly, you can control how much of the interactive window you want to see by dragging the screen divider to the left or right, or even making it full screen.
The only downside of embedded websites is that not all links function as an embed. The link needs to be accessible as an iFrame embed.
Some links are iFrame embeddable by default (for example Kahoot), while others can be generated through a sharing function (most apps from Google Suite, YouTube videos). To find out if a link can be embedded and will work on the campus we use a simple iFrame checker.
Open in a New Tab
So what happens if a link cannot be embedded directly in the campus? The link is available on the campus, but the website will open in a new tab.
There are no limits to this type of link. It's great for sharing resources that are not immediately collaborative, or websites that work better on a separate tab.
Other types of interactions
The software that we use offers more interaction types. They are more complex, and are not added by default, but are great for special touches to your campus or to more closely mimic real life interactions.
One is screen embed. In this case you can select a rectangular area of your campus where the website will be displayed. This interaction looks like a TV screen embedded in your campus. You can select certain areas of the campus that prompt a screen to appear, or have it visible from everywhere. Screen embeds work only with iFrame compatible links.
Another type of embed is button prompted. In this case, the user clicks on a popup message with an interactive button. You can have one or more buttons in one popup window. Buttons can be linked to embedded websites (which open in the same window) or sites that open in a new tab.
What type of interaction is better for me?
The answer to this depends on 2 things: your needs and the limitations of the links. Both embedded and open in a new tab links are great for educational and organisational purposes.
Embedded links are great for in-class collaboration, and in combination with Jitsi Meeting rooms. They are also great for group projects where several people are collaborating on a document and interacting via video at the same time. This is the closest to real life interaction.
If you are sharing websites that are not intended for collaborative use, such as databases, it's better to open them in a new tab. Similarly, there are certain websites (like Photopea for image editing) that work better in a full tab.