An online meeting is a digital conference in which one or more participants join in from another location. They may be in various offices across campus, in another city, another state, or even another country. Attendees use their computer, or potentially their mobile device, to join the meeting. They can hear and talk to each other using the speakers and microphone in the digital device. Presenters and attendees can also see each other using their webcam and share content on their computers. 


People meet online for lots of reasons: 

  • view a guest speaker who can't travel
  • training events
  • attend class
  • collaborate on group projects 
  • office hours





Available Software Options

There are lots of options available and you may choose whatever you wish. However, the tools listed below are currently supported by Lesley University. 


Zoom 

Zoom is a video conferencing software, previously used primarily by businesses, to conduct online meetings. Video and being able to see everyone’s face is its most popular feature, but you can also share content on your screen. Since it started out as an online meeting tool, it’s a good choice classroom discussions or ad hoc meetings.  

 

Features include: 

  • Ability to invite guests
  • Ability to record
  • Telephony capabilities (call in on a phone for audio)
  • Share content from your computer
  • Download the desktop application or optionally use your web browser
  • Available on mobile via the Zoom app
  • Good for class meetings, discussions, presentations, lectures, guest speakers

 

Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate Ultra is a robust web conferencing software for meeting and presenting online that is available in every myLesley course. Faculty can use the Collaborate Course Room or schedule individual sessions as needed. It runs in your web browser so there is no need to download software before using. Collaborate Ultra was designed for education so it is a good choice for a virtual classroom meeting space where you may need features to manage participation.


Features include: 

  • Ability to invite guests
  • Ability to record
  • Telephony capabilities (call in on a phone for audio)
  • Share content from your computer
  • Runs in your web browser (best with Chrome or Firefox)
  • Available on mobile via Bb Student app or browser
  • Fully integrated into Blackboard including groups tools
  • Good for presentations, lectures, guest speakers, online classrooms


View Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for more information


Teams 

Microsoft Teams combines synchronous and asynchronous communication and collaboration in one tool. Have individual or group text conversations, share and collaborate on documents, and meet online in a video call. Teams can be accessed or downloaded via Office 365 using your Lesley email address and password.  


At this time, you cannot use your phone to call in for audio. If you need these features, see Collaborate Ultra above. 


Features include: 

  • Contact list of people you regularly communicate with
  • Instant messaging chat 
  • Create Team sites to converse and share documents with a specific group of people
  • Meet online using audio, video, and screen share 
  • Desktop, mobile and web versions available
  • Good for ad-hoc meetings and conversations, class discussion, group work, tutoring, support


Check out the overview video of Teams, view Using Microsoft Teams, or view the Hoonuit video tutorials (log in with your myLesley username and password).


Comparing Features

Teams, Zoom, and Collaborate Ultra are all great online meeting tools. They simply do the job in slightly different ways. The one that’s right for you depends on your task, your preferences, and your attendees.

 


Collaborate Ultra

Zoom

Teams

Audio/video chat

Text chat

Built-in phone conferencing


Whiteboard

Desktop Sharing

File share

PDF, PPT, image files via whiteboard

View media files


Recording

Polling


Mobile version

Can invite guests without an account

Maximum participants in a single event

500;

up to 4 webcams shown at once
(30 webcams possible late 2020)

300;
 up to 49 webcams shown at once

250;

up to 9 webcams shown at once
(49 webcams possible late summer 2020)


Review the Online Meeting Skills and Tutorials support page for more information on each meeting tool.



Best Practices

  • Log in to the meeting with plenty of time to check and test your audio and video. Make sure it works before you need to use it.
  • If possible, utilize a wired internet connection for the fastest and most reliable speed. Wifi signals can drop unexpectedly. 
  • Ask participants to wear headphones in order to minimize audio feedback. The earbuds that come with cell phones often work great. 
  • When you are not speaking, mute your microphone in the application to minimize background noise. Don't forget to un-mute when it's your turn to speak, though!
  • Be mindful of your background and lighting. For example, sitting in front of a window will light you well, but sitting with a window behind you will make it difficult for you to be seen.
  • If you have several participants physically together in one room that need to all be heard in the virtual meeting, consider using a usb microphone so the online attendees can be sure to hear everyone in the room.


Review Planning an Online Meeting and Web Conferencing Event Guidelines for scenarios and more best practices for having an online meeting.