Much research and practice in the field of online learning has shown that interaction between students and instructors is a critical component of a good online course.

For these reasons, online courses from the Bloomberg School of Public Health utilize an interactive communication tool called LiveTalk. With LiveTalk, you can communicate in real time with any other participants in your course using the powerful collaboration environment called Adobe Acrobat Connect, made by Adobe. You can share information, ask questions, speak to faculty and other students, give presentations, participate in polls, and more.

Before you can participate in a LiveTalk session, you need to:

  1. Make sure you have the Flash Player installed.
  2. Have a USB headset microphone attached to your computer. Built-in laptop or camera microphones are not acceptable. Analog headset microphones are not acceptable. Headphones for listening to audio are not the same as a headset microphone. Inexpensive, high-quality USB headset microphones are manufactured by Logitech and other vendors, and are available at many online and physical retailers such as No technical support will be given to students who attempt to use analog or built-in microphones during LiveTalk.

If you need to check that your headset microphone is working, please use this microphone tester.

Important You have to plug in your microphone before launching LiveTalk for LiveTalk to recognize your microphone. If you plugged in your microphone after launching LiveTalk, you need to close LiveTalk and all Web browser windows, plug in your microphone, and go back in to LiveTalk. Otherwise, your microphone will not be recoginzed.

Warning Chrome requires that you allow Chrome to access your microphone in addition to allowing the Flash Player to access your microphone. If you do not let both Chrome and the Flash Player access your microphone when prompted, your microphone will not work during LiveTalk. Chrome adds a small, thin bar at the top of the screen asking if it can access your microphone immediately after you let the Flash Player access your microphone.

The very first time you use LiveTalk, you will need to install a very small add-in to the Flash plug-in. The process for doing this is covered in the corresponding section below. You must install the Connect add-in to fully participate in a LiveTalk session.