What is Zoom

Zoom is a web conferencing solution that includes features such as screen-share, breakout rooms, waiting areas, and messaging. The WTS zoom page also lists the following features:

  • Host meetings with up to 300 participants
  • Up to 24 hrs meeting duration
  • Video, audio, & screen sharing
  • Join/Host meetings via a computer or mobile device
  • Participants do not require an account to join meetings 
  • Screen sharing for presentations and collaboration
  • Plug-in for Outlook calendar to allow easy scheduling
  • Local recording
  • Chat functions
  • H.323/SIP systems integration

What is the purpose of Zoom

Zoom provides a way for Western staff, faculty, students, and their guests to communicate remotely over the web. It can be used for gatherings of under 300 people, and is a valuable remote working tool.

How to use Zoom

Zoom meetings can be created either through the Zoom application, via the online portal, or through OWL. To hold a Zoom meeting, you must have the Zoom application installed. 

Where to find Support

This tool is centrally supported


For help, you can contact the WTS Helpdesk


Additional information on Zoom can be found on:

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


The tool can scale to accommodate up to 300 users, and has the ability to subdivide the larger group into smaller subgroups.

Ease of use rating:2 stars

Ease of Use

The tool has a learner interface that may be confusing to some; there is limited opportunity for personalization.

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

 In-person or email-based technical support is readily available and aids users in troubleshooting tasks or solving problems experienced.

Hypermediality rating: 2 stars


The tool allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, visual, textual) but is limited in its ability to provide non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material. At this time, ability to add captions for videos is limited to manual input.

Accessibility overall rating: 2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 2 stars

AODA Friendly

The tool has some limited capacity to be fully accessible for users or for materials to be made AODA-friendly. While there are tools that will allow for Zoom sessions and recordings to be accessible, these require manual input from instructors, TAs, and/or students.

User Foused Participation rating: 2 stars

User-focused participation

The tool has some limited capacity to address the needs iteracies, and capabilities of various users.

Required Equipment rating: 2 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the tool requires equipment that is common and/or purchased at a low cost. A microphone and webcam is required to use zoom.


Technical overall rating: 2 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 3 stars

OWL Integration

The tool can be embedded and fully integrated into OWL maintaining full functionality of the tool.

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the tool with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e. Windows 10, Apple OSX, etc.)

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Zoom settings can be accessed and modified by any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 etc.)The Zoom stand-alone app is required in order to place and recieve video calls.

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 2 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

The tool requires the user to download the Zoom stand-alone application. This can be downloaded from the Zoom Website: Download Zoom.


Mobile Design overall rating: 1 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The tool is fully functional with a range of electronic mobile devices (laptops, tablets, touchscreens, mobile devices, etc.)

Mobile Functionality rating: 2 stars

Mobile Functionality

Basic features of the main tool are functional on the mobile app, but advanced features are limited. See Zoom's support site for an extensive comparison of mobile device features vs the desktop application features.

Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The platform cannot be used in any capacity offline.

Usage and account set up overall rating: 3 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

Use of the tool does not require the creation of an external account or additional login.

Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

All aspects of the tool can be used free of charge.

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can archive, save, or import and export content or activity data in a variety of formats. It is possible to download the chat log, as well as record the video session.

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; the user can keep data private and decide if/how data is to be shared. For more information, see WTS's page on Privacy and Zoom.

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


The tool has the capacity to support a community of learning through both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users. Synchronous is the default, but asynchronous is supported through making recordings available.

User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control student anonymity, but the tool provides some solution for holding students accountable for their actions. While students have the ability to change their names, it is possible to require that they be logged into an official Western account.

Diffusion rating: 3 star


The tool is widely known and popular, it is likely that most students are familiar with the tool and have basic technical competence with it.

Instructor Presence overall rating: 1 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


The tool has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement. These include reactions, polls, and the ability for participants to raise their hands.

Customization rating: 3 stars


Tool contains many different features which are adaptable to its environment. It is easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes.

Learning Analytics rating: 1 stars

Learning Analytics

The tool does not support the collection of learning analytics.


Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 3 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

The tool enhances engagement in targeted cognitive task(s) that were once overly complex or inconceivable through other means.

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

The tool may engage students in higher order thinking skills (given significant consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor)

Feedback on Learning rating:2 stars

Feedback on Learning

Opportunities for receiving formative feedback on learning are available, but infrequent or limited (i.e. poor opportunities for tracking performance, monitoring improvement, testing knowledge on a regular basis)

Security and Privacy

This tool has been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Last Updated: July 15, 2020


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