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Centranow Instructions

Instructions for using "e-meeting" Internet meeting software from Centranow in online study group

1. General Comments: Centra offers several levels of software for online meetings. "Symposium" is a more sophisticated software which users pay for and license. "E-meeting" is also an online meeting software which can be purcased, but Centra also makes it available on a free trial basis. We use this version in most of our online study groups. There is no software to download to create and participate in online meetings with Centranow's e-meeting. The software runs on the Centra server. Only a few small temporary files are downloaded to the user's computer, and this normally takes only a minute or less when the user enters a meeting.

2. Operating Systems: Centra software can run on Windows but not with the Mac operating systems. It may run on a Mac which has a Virtual PC feature, but I do not have experience with this.

3. Creating and attending meetings: To create a meeting, the user must have registered with Centra and selected a password. To attend a meeting, a participant does not have to register with Centra. He/she only needs to have the meeting ID number which is supplied by the person who creates a meeting. After reading the rest of the instructions in this memo, you should go to the Centra web site and set up a meeting, enter the meeting room and get familiar with all of the features so that when you enter a real meeting as a participant, you will already know these features.

4. To attend a meeting created by someone else: Follow the instructions below.

  • Go to I recommend using Internet Explorer as a browser if possible. I have had some problems using Netscape, but it may work fine for you.
  • Scroll down to the link in the center of the page, Attend Meeting. Click on this link.
  • Fill in the following information in the boxes provided: Meeting ID# (you must have gotten thisfrom the person who set up the meeting), First Name, Last Name, e-mail address.
  • Click on Attend below the boxes.

  • As some temporary files are downloading, you will be asked some security questions. Answer Yes if you are using Internet Explorer, and answer Grant if you are using Netscape.
  • If all goes well, you will enter the meeting room within a minute or so. See the instructions below for features of the meeting room.
  • If you get an error message instead of entering the meeting room, there could be a problem with your computer or the software on it. Centra's e-meeting requires a recent version of Java. In this case follow the instructions below:
  • Print or write down your error message for later reference. If it gives you instructions for downloading a more recent version of Java, follow those instructions.
  • You should then run a system check which will check your computer for software needed. You can do this by going to:
  • The latest version of Java, as of this date, is 1.3.0. You can tell what version of Java you have by clicking on your start button, going to Programs and DOS. At the DOS prompt, type:
    java -version. Note, there is a space after java, but no space between the - and version. Press enter after typing this command. The version of java you have should be displayed.
  • To download the latest version of Java, go to and download the file: msjavx86.exe to your desktop. Then install it. Note: Always close all other applications before installing any software.
  • If this does not allow you to enter a meeting, I recommend that you contact Centranow's customer support:
5. Features of the meeting room: If you are able to enter the meeting room, see the notes below for a description of the features.
  • General layout: You should see a column on the left side of the screen with a number of icons and two white rectangles. The top rectangle will give the name of the presenter who set up the meeting, and the bottom rectangle will give the names of the participants in the meeting. You will see a white board which covers the major part of the screen. A "Welcome" message will be displayed on the white board, but this can be replaced during the course of the meeting by a blank screen or other images. Above the white board you will see a number of buttons which are used with the whiteboard.
  • Talk button: In the upper left corner of the screen, you will see a Talk button. If the presenter has given you Talk privileges (you will see a microphone icon to the left of your name), you can click on this button to talk to the other participants. Note, you must have a microphone plugged into the sound card of your computer in order to talk. When you finish talking, you must click on the talk button again to free up the microphone. Only one person can talk at a time.

  • Alternate talk button: You can also activate the talk button by pressing the control key on your keyboard. This is really more convenient, because the talk button is released when you lift the control key. While you or someone else is talking, you will see the volume bars light up in the window to the right of the talk button.
  • Audio Wizard: To the right of the talk button window is the audio wizard button. You can use this button to turn your microphone and speakers.

  • Below the talk button is a hand button. Participants who do not have microphone privileges can click on this button to get the attention of the presenter.
  • Yes and No buttons: Below the talk button are two buttons, marked with a green check mark for yes, and a red cross for no. Participants can use these buttons to give a yes or no answer to a question from the presenter.
  • To the right of the yes/no buttons is the text chat icon. The presenter and the participants can click on this icon to open a chat window to send text messages to the other people in the meeting.
  • This is how the text chat window looks like:

  • Below these windows is the window with the name of the presenter.
  • Below the presenter window is a row of icons related to the participants.
  • Below these icons is the participant window that shows the participants in the meeting
  • Between the presenter and participant windows and is a row of clear buttons which the presenter can use to clear the parameters from the participants.
  • Below the participant window is a window showing the title of the slide showing on the white board. When the meeting starts, this slide is the "Welcome" slide that alerts the particpants to some main features of the meeting room.

  • To the right of the column on the left is the whiteboard that covers most of the screen. To replace the Welcome slide, the presenter could upload power point slides or click on a whiteboard button.
  • Above the whiteboard are the buttons that participants and the presenter can use in drawing on the whiteboard. The first time user can experiment with these buttons to learn their function.

  • Scroll bars on the whiteboard. Participants can click on the square in the upper right corner of the screen to get scroll bars or to get a movable screen. First time users should experiment with this feature.
  • These are the major features available to the meeting participants.

6. To create a meeting: Follow the instructions below.

  • Go to Use Internet Explorer as a browser if possible.
  • Click on the link in the middle of the screen, Register for a free trial.
  • Fill in the information requested. When you select your password, write it down in a secure place, so you will remember it on future visits to the site.
  • Click on the Submit button.
  • You will then get the My CentraNow page. From this page you can attend meetings someone else sets up or create your own meetings. You can see all meetings that have already been scheduled on this page.
  • To create a meeting, follow the instructions given on the page. But before, please select your time zone.
  • If you are living in California, choose Pacific Standard Time (PST) or Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). The name depends on the time of a year:

  • Then choose a month and a day:
  • Change the view to 'Full Day' if the time you are going to reserve lies out of the offered range.

  • Click on blocks to reserve the time. Each block stands for 30 minutes duration of the session. If you want to create a 2 hours long session, reserve 4 successive blocks.

  • Click on 'Create' button in the bottom of the page to reserve the time and create your meeting.
  • You will then get the meeting scheduling page.
  • You will be given the meeting ID. You should write this ID down or use Edit/Copy and Edit/Paste to copy it to another location so you can transmit it to the people you are inviting to the meeting.
  • Enter the Meeting Topic

  • If you want to send e-mail announcements to the participants in your meeting, you can enter their e-mail addresses below. If you want to notify them in another way, just give them the Meeting ID and the instructions above for attending a meeting.
  • Click on 'Start Now' to start the meeting immediately or scroll down and click on "Create" to create the meeting room.

  • If you get to 'My CentraNow' page after you have scheduled a meeting, you will see it reserved:

    If you click on 'Lead' you will enter the meeting room, all the other links could help you to modify, move, copy or remove your meeting.
  • When you are in the meeting room as the presenter, you will notice some buttons in the lower left corner of the screen under 'Agenda' that you do not see as a participant. The most important button is Import button.
  • Import: Click on this button to import Power Point presentations. You will get a browse window that will let you select your Power Point file.

  • Shared applications: With this feature, you can open an application, such as an Excel spread sheet and allow the participants to control it, i.e, change numbers and formulas. Here are the steps to follow:
    • Open the application(s) you want to share.
    • Click on the Share button.
    • Click on the Host button.
    • In the Select Applications to Host window, check all the applications that will be shared, and click on OK. The host may select multiple applications to share.
    • Click on the drop-down arrow next to Host being viewed, and select your name.
    • Bring forward the application that is being shared (click on the application icon at the bottom of your screen so it appears on the screen over top of the Centra screen.) The shared application will not appear in the host's CentraNow media window (whiteboard), but it will appear in the whiteboard of the participants. You may want to use your mouse to resize the application, so you can see part of the Centra screen.
    • The host can now grant other participants the ability to control the application by granting the participants microphones. When someone else is controlling the application, a box will appear around the person's microphone icon.
    • The host of the application takes precedence of control over anyone else, (even if the host is not the presenter/co-presenter).
    • For any participant besides the host, the controller's name will appear next to the mouse pointer/cursor, but the host will not see his/her name next to the mouse pointer/cursor.
    • The meeting presenter and co-presenter may choose another person to host an application. First, the participant will need to click on the Host button and select the application, which he/she will share. Then the meeting presenter/co-presenter may select the next host's name from the Host being viewed drop-down menu. If the next host did not click on Host and select an application, his/her name will not appear in the drop-down menu.
    • Hosts will need to have the applications that they want to share already open before clicking on the Host button to select the applications.
  • Making a participant a co-presenter: You can grant presenter priviliges to a participant by right clicking on that participants name and selecting "make participant a co-presenter". You can only have one co-presenter, and you need to demote a co-presenter before selecting another one.
  • Microphone priviliges: Before the participants can speak the presenter must grant them microphone priviliges by clicking on the microphone icon and then clicking to the left of their names.
  • If you encounter trouble with Centranow, reread these instructions, consult with your classmates, then, if you still have trouble, contact Centranow's customer support:
  • Good luck!

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