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1 Introduction

1.1 What is Gong?

Gong is a tool that supports Internet-based text and audio communication. It allows groups of people such as students and teachers to participate in discussion groups using their computers. Participants can leave text and voice messages on voice boards. They can listen to and reply to other text and voice messages left by other people. A group of people can join a real-time text/ voice chat which can be recorded on voice boards. In addition, there are some powerful features such as support for multiple languages, styled text editing, voice editing, voice speed up/slow down, selective word/phrase playback and support for multilingual interface.

The Gong system is based on a client-server architecture. That means any user has to use software on their computer to connect to a server in order to participate in discussion groups. The administrator of the system can manage the Gong server through any web browser.

1.2 Features

The following table shows the major features in the Gong system.

Feature Brief Description
Streamed Playback Voice messages in the Gong system are streamed (played while being downloaded) from the server. Streaming reduces the waiting time when a voice recording is being played back.
Support for Multiple Languages The Gong system supports the display of multiple languages using what is called the Unicode system.
Styled Text Editing The Gong system is a tool for audio and text communication. You can format the text component of a message using various styles such as bold text and text alignments.
Voice Editing The voice component is recorded by a microphone. The Gong system has a simple audio editor so that the voice recording can be modified after it has been recorded.
Selective Word/Phrase Playback Given an English voice recording and its script, the Gong system allows a user to play a single word or phrase inside the recording just by clicking on the words. This is useful for English learning.
Voice Speed Up/Slow Down In addition to the normal voice playback of a message, the Gong system allows users to change the speed of the playback. A message can be played faster or slower without changing the pitch.
Voice Analysis Gong can be used as a tool for language learning. The system can analyze any voice recording to produce a spectrogram or waveform of the recording.
Chinese Mandarin Pinyin Romanization System The Pinyin romanization system is one form of Mandarin. It is often used to teach the pronunciation of the language. The Gong system supports the storage and display of this representation.
Chinese Cantonese Yale Romanization System The Cantonese Yale romanization system is a form of representation of Cantonese, one of the major dialects of Chinese. The Gong system is specialized to support this romanization system for Cantonese learners.
Real-time Text/Voice Chat Two or more than two persons can participate in a text/voice chat on the Gong system. The chat is configurable. For example, you can choose whether or not to use text chat and/or audio chat, and whether or not to record the chat.
Personal Messaging You can send instant text messages to any other persons who are also logged on the Gong system. These messages act as a quick communication tool apart from using the voice messages and voice chat.
Compact Version - MiniGong MiniGong is the compact version of the Gong system. Its compact size (480 x 115) means that it can be put in a webpage easily. To the user it acts like a software CD player, but all the sound is accessed through the web, and more recordings can be added.
Multilingual Interface The user interface of the Gong system can be displayed in different languages. At the moment, five sets of languages are available for selection: American English, British English, Japanese, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
Gong Integration Parameters The Gong system has basic support for integration into other Learning Management Systems (LMS) through its parameters. Configuration of color, language, login details can be automatically controlled by the LMS.
Gong Applet Scripting Interface Using the Gong applet scripting interface any components on a Web page can manipulate a Gong applet within the same page. For example a Flash program can have the functionalities of the Gong system with a behind the scene Gong engine.

1.3 Application vs Applet

The Gong system can be executed as:

To use the applet version of the system, the installation of the Java™ 2 runtime environment is required. The latest Java™ 2 runtime environment can be downloaded from http://java.sun.com/getjava.

If the application version is used, you are not required to install Java™ explicitly because it is embedded in the software.

1.4 System Requirements

The following two tables summarize the hardware and software requirements of the Gong system.

Hardware Requirement
Platform Any system that supports Java™ 2 Runtime Environment
(PC is needed for generating word indexing information for selective word/phrase playback)
Free Harddisk Space 100Mb or more
RAM 128Mb or more
Sound System Sound system with speakers and microphone
Internet Connectivity 56k modem connection or faster (broadband recommended)

Software Requirement
Operating System Windows® 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, Unix based OS, Macintosh
(Microsoft Windows® is needed for selective word/phrase playback)
Java™ Version Gong Application - No Java™ installation is required (Java™ is embedded)
Gong Applet - Java™ 2 Runtime Environment 1.4.2 or above
Supported Browser Admin Module - Internet Explorer 5.5 or above
Gong Applet - Internet Explorer 5 or above, Netscape 4.7 or above