This is a tool that’s been developed at the Open University, based around Jabber, an open source IM client, which is interoperable with most other main clients.
This particular client is Java Based, so runs on most machines. It’s the one IM client that the university does allow access to the service (as well as WebCT’s chat). I’ve not tested BuddySpace yet, though I have tried with some of the other Jabber clients, and can get them to work at the University.
One interesting advance is mentioned in the Discussion forums … product, Flash Meeting, which, as its name suggests is Flash based. It has a method of showing who’s next in the queue to talk, and it’s designed so that only the video feed of the person talking is live, the others freeze, which saves bandwidth. It seems also to be based at the OU.