Web Conferencing Options for the 2018-19 Academic Year

by Aaron Bannasch

With the Fall 2018 quarter approaching you should begin checking if your web conferencing software is up to date and familiarizing yourself with any changes that may have occurred since you last taught an online course. If you regularly rely on BlueJeans you can continue to do so, although it always helps to do a quick check to make sure you have your technology configured to your liking. Launch the BlueJeans app to check for updates and test your audio and video.

If BlueJeans hasn’t been your preferred web conferencing solution, or you would like to explore other options, use the following table to compare the different web conferencing platforms that Northwestern IT is offering for the 2018-19 academic year.

You should pilot one of these new web conferencing solutions only if you are very comfortable with your technology skills. Each product has a support website and customer service representatives to contact in case you need help. If you need extra support, contact distanceeducation@northwestern.edu and ask a Distance Learning staff member to assist you.

Web Conferencing Platform BlueJeans WebEx Meetings BigBlueButton Zoom
Guaranteed Availability 2018-19 Academic Year 2018-19 Academic Year Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 (agreement pending) Fall 2018 and Winter 2019
Features Basic audio and video conferencing, whiteboard annotation of shared screen

Basic audio and video conferencing, whiteboard, annotation of shared screen/file, breakout rooms (part of WebEx Training, uses old interface), polling, quizzing

Basic audio and video conferencing, multi-user whiteboard, screen sharing, file upload, polling, breakout rooms

Audio and video conferencing, multi-user whiteboard, annotation of shared screen, breakout rooms

Canvas Integration Yes, invitations sent and recordings automatically posted Yes, by request; invitations currently not sent from Canvas; recordings automatically posted

Yes, but without invitations or calendar options; recordings automatically posted; Adobe Flash required

Yes, Invitations sent and recordings automatically posted (ETA: Fall 2018)

Student-initiated Meetings

Yes, through Canvas

Yes, through Northwestern Portal

Yes, through Canvas

Limited availability per request to Northwestern IT

Action Required to Begin Use

None – Click the Blue Jeans link in your Canvas course site

E-mail canvas@northwestern.edu if you are interested in piloting WebEx and to have it added to your course.

None – Click the Conferences link in your Canvas course site

E-mail canvas@northwestern.edu if you are interested in piloting Zoom and to have it added to your course. Capacity is limited, Zoom accounts are issued in the order that requests are received.

Support BlueJeans Support Cisco WebEx Support BigBlueButton Support Zoom Support
Accessibility BlueJeans Accessibility Cisco WebEx Accessibility BigBlueButton Accessibility Zoom Accessibility

If a student needs Real Time Captioning (CART) during a web conference, please contact AccessibleNU



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *