Choosing the right video-conferencing tool

  Public
By: 
lgodfreysmith
Picture of an instructor using Collaborate Ultra

The Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies (CTET) provides and supports two web/video-conferencing platforms, BlueJeans and Collaborate. Both are great platforms for conducting meetings and connecting synchronously with individuals or groups in a “virtual face-to-face” environment, but people often wonder what the differences are between the two and which is the right choice for their needs.

Both platforms include:

  • Voice & webcam sharing (audio & video);
  • File sharing (e.g. PowerPoint, etc.);
  • Screen or application sharing (with screen/app sharing, other participants in the session can see what you are doing on your computer screen);
  • Chat with other participants as a group or privately;
  • Different permissions for moderators vs. participants;
  • The option to use phone for audio;
  • Guest access via web link;
  • Session recording;
  • The option for users (faculty/staff) to have their own accounts so they can independently create and manage their sessions; and
  • Both platforms are also mobile device (phone/iPad/tablet) friendly.

Some important differences are:

With Bluejeans

  • BlueJeans can be used for video-conferencing in learning spaces with built-in hardware (e.g. webcams, resident PC, cameras in the ceiling, etc.) like the LIC 4th floor conference room and the Centre for Dialogue. These units cannot connect to a Collaborate meeting.
  • The BlueJeans services comes with a toll free dial-in number, whereas long-distance charges to the USA may apply if phoning in to Collaborate Ultra.
  • BlueJeans has the option of setting a password to access the session.
  • The BlueJeans email meeting invite includes a calendar entry, which can be helpful for people who stay organised using their Outlook calendar.

With Collaborate

  • Collaborate has unique virtual classroom features that promote student engagement and participation including: breakout rooms; participant statuses like agree, disagree, sad, happy, etc.; polling; presenter role; and profile pictures.
  • Collaborate is fully integrated with Moodle, which means students can access sessions from “under the same roof” as the rest of their learning activities and materials.
  • In Collaborate, participants can be designated as a “closed captioners”, which means other participants can view what the captioner is typing in real time.

Which one is right for me?

Both platforms are great options for connecting with people when you can’t meet in person. Both can be used for team meetings, drop-in time, virtual office hours, supervision, etc. If both platforms allow you to do what you need to do, we suggest choosing the one that you are most comfortable with. For example, if you’re already using Collaborate for teaching, you may wish to also use Collaborate for team meetings as well. However, if you are more familiar with BlueJeans, you may prefer to stick with BlueJeans.

There are situations where one platform will be a better choice:

  • We recommend BlueJeans for video-conferencing events from the 4th floor conference room or the Centre for Dialogue. BlueJeans is also the better choice for virtual meetings using the built-in hardware, e.g. from the meeting rooms in the castle.
  • We recommend using Collaborate Ultra for all learning activities with students because Collaborate is integrated into Moodle and comes with a number of unique virtual classroom features, including: breakout rooms; participant statuses like agree, disagree, sad, happy etc.; polling; presenter role; profile pictures; shared whiteboard; share files; and Learning Management System (LMS) integration.

Still not sure? Want to learn more?

Check out the quick comparison table below or contact CTET Studio to chat with a team member about your video/web-conferencing needs.

 

 Quick comparison of BlueJeans & Collaborate Ultra functionalities

 

BlueJeans

Collaborate Ultra

Integrates with video-conferencing rooms (e.g. LIC 4th floor conference room and CFD)

Yes

-

Integrated with Moodle

-

Yes

Virtual classroom features

-

Yes

PowerPoint & other file sharing

Yes

Yes

Screen or application sharing

Yes

Yes

Chat (as a group or privately)

Yes

Yes

Moderator/participant roles

Yes

Yes

Option to use phone for audio

Yes

Yes

Phone-in option is toll-free

Yes

-

Mobile device-friendly

Yes

Yes

Guest web-link available

Yes

Yes

Session recording

Yes

Yes

Passcode and encryption options

Yes

-

Includes an Outlook calendar entry

Yes

-

Closed captioner role available

-

Yes