Learn@UW - Which should I use? Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts Meet, Webex Meetings, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect

There are a number of web conferencing tools available to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. This document compares the major features of five web conferencing tools: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts Meet, Webex Meetings, and Microsoft Teams, and Adobe Connect.

IMPORTANT - If possible, password protect your meetings and only share the URL as needed. At this time of remote meeting and learning, we are finding that uninvited guests are joining some public events and are sharing content without permission. If you must host an open event, be sure to verify who can present during the meeting and restrict access as much as possible.

Please also look over this policy about collaboration technologies and recordings as they relate to students in particular. If the technology you want to use is not listed in this policy, do not use it for instructional purposes.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the official web conferencing of UW-System and is integrated with Canvas. For more information on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, click here.

Google Hangouts Meet is available to faculty, staff, and students through the UW-Madison G Suite. You must activate a UW Google+ account to use Meet. For details about Meet, click here. For instructions on how to set-up a UW Google+ account, click here.

Cisco Webex Meetings is available to faculty, staff, and students (students can join but cannot create meetings). This software is available for installation on all UW-Madison computers and is also accessible for download on the Campus Software Library. For more information about Webex Meetings, click here.   

Microsoft Teams offers chat, calls, and meetings and is available to faculty, staff, and students through the University's Office 365 license. For more information, click here

Adobe Connect is a similar product to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, though it is only available to those who purchase a license. For more information on Adobe Connect and how to get a license, click here.

Non-UW-Madison tools: Due to FERPA, HIPAA, and other data privacy considerations, it is strongly recommended to avoid use of other, non-sanctioned web conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom for any University academic or business purposes.

Features Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Google Hangouts Meet Webex Meetings Microsoft Teams Adobe Connect 
Max. # simultaneous video 5 100 1,000 250  15*
Max. # simultaneous audio 5 100 1,000 250  15*
Max. # participants 250 (or, see Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - What to expect with large attendance events (250+ participants)) 100* (250 through 7/1/2020) 1,000# 10,000 (several live event settings must be configured first; see here for instructions)  unlimited**
Chat feature Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes
Can record session Yes (mp4) No Yes
Yes (unapproved)  Yes
File sharing capabilities Yes No## Yes Yes  Yes
Screen sharing capabilities Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes
Breakout rooms (group work) Yes


Yes (Webex Training Center) 

No  Yes
Cost Free to UW Free to UW Free to UW Free to UW  Depends**
Integrated with Canvas Yes No No No  No
Remembers content Yes (some) No Yes (some) Yes  Yes
Browser based (no download required) Yes Yes Yes^ Yes  Yes
Live/closed captioning integration for captioners (e.g. CART) Yes
Yes No  Yes
Students can create a session No Yes Not yet enabled Yes  No
Live streaming N/A No* Not yet enabled Yes (Live Events)  N/A
Record meeting Yes No* Yes Yes (if meeting has > 2 participants)  N/A
Allow external participants (non UW-Madison) Yes Yes Yes Yes  N/A
Application integration Canvas, My UW-Madison Portal
G Suite (Docs, Sheets, Drive, and more) Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, IBM Cloud, Microsoft OneDrive Microsoft Suite (Email, OneDrive, and more)  N/A
Dial-in option Yes Yes Yes No  N/A
Dial-out option N/A Yes No No  N/A
Platform Web, Mobile (iOS and Android) Web, Mobile (iOS and Android) Webex Teams, Webex Meetings, Web, Mobile (iOS and Android) Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)  N/A
Blur background N/A No Yes (iPhone only) Yes (Mac OS/Win desktop clients)  N/A
Captions Yes Yes Yes Yes  N/A
FERPA Data Allowed
HIPAA Data Allowed+
Security Information
Blackboard Hangouts WebEx Teams Adobe

Adobe Connect theoretically allows unlimited video and audio, though no more than 15 is recommended simultaneously.

** Adobe Connect charges by room size, and the more people in a room the more expensive it is. Various departments and schools have purchased licenses for Adobe Connect. Check with your departmental IT resources to find out if you have access to a license.

## While Google Hangouts Meet has no native file-sharing feature, you can share files through Google Drive.

# Webex Meetings can have up to 1,000 attendees, including 200 video devices.                                                                    

^ Webex Meetings has a desktop, browser, and mobile version. Attendees can choose to join via any option. Setting up meetings can be done in Outlook Desktop Client with Productivity Tools installed, Outlook web access, and through the Webex Meetings mobile app.

+ HIPAA regulations apply to businesses and individuals in the health care industry such as health plans and health care providers. These are called “covered entities,” meaning they are covered by HIPAA. UW-Madison is a “hybrid entity” because it includes units that perform HIPAA-covered functions (such as providing health care) and units that do not. As a hybrid entity, UW-Madison has designated units that perform covered functions, and individuals or units that perform support functions on behalf of those designated units, as its “Health Care Component.”

See Also:

Keywords:Web, conferencing, video conferencing, collaboration, adobe connect, blackboard, collaborate, google+, google hangouts, hangouts on air, office hours, guest lecture, ultra, Canvas, webinar, videoconferencing, webconferencing, conference, videoconference, compare, options, software, solutions, webex, Cisco, live event events remote, continuity, instruction, telecommute, telecommuting, online lecture, class, closure, covid, teams, Learn@UW, canvas, meet, zoom, FERPA, HIPAA, security   Doc ID:45390
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2014-12-03 11:35 CDTUpdated:2020-03-30 11:24 CDT
Sites:Blackboard Collaborate, DoIT Help Desk, Google Apps, Learn@UW-Madison, My UW-Madison Portal
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