Comparative table on webconferencing tools

Learning Technology

There are various technologies available at the University of Ottawa. When selecting technology, it is important to consider the pedagogical intent, to make sure there is a clear alignment between the tool and the learning objectives. For the fall term, we recommend using the following tools. 

For Delivering Real-time Lectures (Synchronous Online Lecturing)

There are many different video conferencing tools that can be used for synchronous lecture and virtual office hours, i.e. that allow you to host real-time live connections with your students. The University of Ottawa supports the three tools below, however it is up to the individual professor to evaluate the tools for their own requirements and select the option they feel most effective.

Zoom offers the most robust classroom management and may be more appropriate for individuals who might have identified connectivity issues such as a poor or intermittent internet connection. Zoom also offers integrated breakout room and polling support during meetings.

Microsoft Teams is a project management and team collaboration program that also supports video conferencing. This tool may be more appropriate for individuals who expect persistent group work or who want to interact with their students more informally. Note that at this time Teams does not offer breakout rooms or in meeting polling, also the collaborative nature of the tool can make classroom management challenging for larger classes.

Adobe Connect offers a unique feature in that interactive elements are controlled through pods – as such professors have access to a wide range of tools (e.g. chat, whiteboard, Q&A, polling) that can be made available at specific points during a session and multiple interactive elements can be available simultaneously. This is the most data intensive of the programs available and so may not be appropriate for all users depending on their internet availability. Note we have a very limited number of licences available for Adobe Connect, as such if you intend to lecture using this tool, please reach out to Contact North ASAP to ensure capacity is made available for your lecturing.

 


Zoom


MS Teams


Adobe Connect

Group size

Maximum 300 participants

Maximum 250 participants

Maximum 600 users across the platform

Roles

Host, Co-host, Panelist, Attendee

Owner and member* Available only if meetings are scheduled in advance

Host, Presenter and Participant

Breakout room availability

You can create up to 20 breakout rooms. Students can be assigned manually or randomly to rooms during the session or rooms can be pre-set in advance.

Not yet available as part of the meeting experience. Private channels set up in advance can provide some comparative functionality, but require students exiting the current meeting and returning.

You can create up to 20 breakout rooms. Students can be manually or randomly assigned during the session.  

Breakout Room tool availability

Students in breakout rooms have access to collaborative whiteboard, microphone and video functionality as well as a room specific chat. Recording the main session also records individual breakout rooms. 

Private groups have access to room specific chats, and can start private meetings (giving access to a shared whiteboard, and video and microphones). Recording is controlled by group members.

Students in breakout rooms have access to collaborative whiteboard, microphone and video functionality as well as a room specific chat. Set up is controlled by the system and cannot be adjusted by host. Recording the main session only 

Polling*

3rd Party tools can provide additional options

Polls can be created in advanced or during a synchronous session. Only multiple-choice questions are currently available. Poll results are available both during and post-session.

Not yet available as part of the meeting experience. 

A Form (survey) can be shared in the chat, but requires navigation outside of the meeting.

Polls can be created in advance or during a synchronous session. Both multiple choice and free-form answer questions are available. 

Poll results are available during the session. 

Audio sharing

Host can control attendee microphone access, either to mute or unmute individual or all participants and can restrict microphone access as desired.

Host can mute either all or individuals. Attendees can always unmute themselves. 

Note that if you do not schedule your meets and adjust the meeting options, attendees also have access to mute all other attendees and the host. 

Host can control attendee microphone access, either to mute or unmute individual or all participants and can restrict microphone access as desired.

Video sharing

Host can restrict video access either by individual or for all participants. 

Members always retain control of their own camera. Host cannot turn off camera access. 

Host can restrict video access either by individual or for all participants.

Max videos on screen

Up to 25 videos per page using gallery view, or speaker specific view are available. Host can control who participants view through spotlight.

Up to 9 videos are seen based on the last 9 individuals to verbally participate. Attendees can choose to view specific individuals through “Pinning” a given video feed.

Filmstrip (Host’s video is main video; user can scroll the strip to see other available feeds) or Grid layout (all videos are equal). Host can control who individuals see by turning on and off participant videos.

Chat 

Host can deactivate chat if desired. The chat record is available to the host following the session. Host can “Pop-out” chat to observe while screen sharing.

Chat is always active and is persistent before and following the meeting. Note the chat is not visible when doing a fullscreen screen share.

Chat is available if the pod is active and available. The chat record is available to the host following the session. Host can pop-out chat to observe while screen sharing. 

Additional interactive tools

Shared whiteboard, polling, reactions (e.g. raise hand and additional signals)

Shared whiteboard access is controlled by host. 

Shared whiteboard, raise hand

Shared whiteboard is controlled equally by all attendees.

Shared whiteboard, polling, reactions (e.g. raise hand and additional signals)

Shared whiteboard access is controlled by host.

Captioning

Through manual support by TA for other languages

Live captioning (in English) available natively in the system – cannot be turned off.

Live captioning is not available. 

Recordings 

Host can record locally to their computer or directly into Brightspace. 

Recordings are saved to Microsoft Streams. Videos can then be edited and embedded within course content on Brightspace. 

Recordings are stored online through Adobe Connect and must be compiled to the local computer and uploaded to Brightspace to be made available.

Attendance and Access

List of attendees can be accessed during or following session. Access can be controlled through a waiting room and disruptive attendees can be removed / blocked from access.

List of attendees can be accessed during the session. No waiting room, individuals removed can rejoin immediately.

List of attendees can be accessed during or following the session. Access can be controlled through a waiting room and disruptive attendees can be removed / blocked from access..

Accessibility

Manual Closed Captioning, Screen Reader Support, Keyboard Accessibility. More info on accessibility

Native closed captioning and automatic transcripts (in English only). Screen reader is not recommended, keyboard shortcuts are preferred. 

Screen Reader Support, Keyboard shortcuts. More info on accessibility.


Source: this comparative table is adapted from the UBC Skylight: Science Centre for Learning and Teaching website: https://skylight.science.ubc.ca/lt/online-lectures