Web Conferencing Tools

What are Web Conferencing Tools

Web Conferencing is the ability to converse with others through the internet by way of text, voice, and/or video. Conversations may be synchronous (delivered in a steady stream to viewers) or asynchronous (messages posted and engaged with at another user’s own pace).

Similar to a phone conversation or video conference call, online conversation involves transmitting audiovisual content between users.

What is the purpose of Web Conferencing Tools

Web Conferencing is a convenient way to engage and converse with others. It is an inexpensive way to conduct meetings, or engage with students outside of class. Many web conferencing platforms allow for recorded video, which makes it possible to use them for recording lectures.

In teaching and learning, web conferencing tools could be used to connect with colleagues, hold meetings, host online office hours or tutorials, facilitate group work, or connect classes to guest lecturers who cannot be present in person.

How to use Web Conferencing Tools

There are many options for web conferencing available. Some are accessible through stand-alone applications, while others are available through a web browser.  To get started with web conferencing, choose a platform such as Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams and learn how you need to access the service. All web conferencing platforms will require a webcam and a microphone.

Comparison

Centrally Supported Tool
Blackboard Collaborate
Google Hangouts Skype Centrally Supported Tool
Teams - Microsoft
Centrally Supported Tool
Zoom
Functionality functionality rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 2 stars functionality rating for Google Hangouts: 2 stars functionality rating for Skype: 1 stars functionality rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars functionality rating for Zoom: 2 stars
Accessibility accessibility rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 2 stars accessibility rating for Google Hangouts: 2 stars accessibility rating for Skype: 2 stars accessibility rating for Teams - Microsoft: 3 stars accessibility rating for Zoom: 2 stars
Technical technical rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 3 stars technical rating for Google Hangouts: 1 stars technical rating for Skype: 1 stars technical rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars technical rating for Zoom: 2 stars
Mobile Design mobile-design rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Google Hangouts: 2 stars mobile-design rating for Skype: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars mobile-design rating for Zoom: 1 stars
Usage & Account Set Up usage-account rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 3 stars usage-account rating for Google Hangouts: 1 stars usage-account rating for Skype: 1 stars usage-account rating for Teams - Microsoft: 3 stars usage-account rating for Zoom: 3 stars
Social Presence social-presence rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 2 stars social-presence rating for Google Hangouts: 2 stars social-presence rating for Skype: 2 stars social-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars social-presence rating for Zoom: 2 stars
Instructor Presence instructor-presence rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Google Hangouts: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Skype: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars instructor-presence rating for Zoom: 1 stars
Cognitive Presence cognitive-presence rating for Blackboard Collaborate: 3 stars cognitive-presence rating for Google Hangouts: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Skype: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Zoom: 2 stars