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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 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.

Cisco Webex Meetings is available to faculty, staff, and students. According to the software company, Webex Meetings can be used to "present information, share applications, and collaborate on projects in a centralized space." It 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.   

Cisco Webex Training is available to faculty, staff, and students via UW-Madison Webex. According to the software company, this service can "deliver highly interactive and effective online training and e-learning." To see a more detailed comparison of Webex Meetings and Training, please see Cisco's website. For more information on Webex Training at UW-Madison, please 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, including Zoom:  Due to FERPA, HIPAA, and other data privacy considerations, campus policy prohibits the use of other, non-sanctioned web conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom for any University academic or business purposes.

FeaturesBlackboard Collaborate UltraGoogle MeetWebex MeetingsWebex Training
Microsoft TeamsAdobe Connect 
Max. # simultaneous video51001,0001,000
250 15*
Max. # simultaneous audio51001,0001,000
250 15*
Max. # participants250 (or, see Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - What to expect with large attendance events (250+ participants))100 (250 through 9/30/2020)1,000#1,000
10,000 (several live event settings must be configured first; see here for instructions) unlimited**
Chat featureYesYesYesYes
Yes Yes
File sharing capabilitiesYesNo##YesYes
Yes Yes
Screen sharing capabilitiesYesYesYesYes
Yes Yes
Breakout rooms (group work)Yes



No Yes
CostFree to UWFree to UWFree to UWFree to UW
Free to UW Depends**
Integrated with CanvasYesNoNoNo
No No
Remembers contentYes (some)NoYes (some)Yes (some)
Yes Yes
Browser based (no download required)YesYesYes^
Yes Yes
Live/closed captioning integration for captioners (e.g. CART)Yes
No Yes
Students can create a sessionNoYesYesYes
Yes No
Live streamingN/ANoNot yet enabledNot yet enabled
Yes (Live Events) N/A
Record meetingYesNoYesYes
Yes (if meeting has > 2 participants) N/A
Allow external participants (non UW-Madison)YesYesYes
Yes N/A
Application integrationCanvas, My UW-Madison Portal
G Suite (Docs, Sheets, Drive, and more)Microsoft Outlook, Cisco Jabber, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, IBM Cloud, Microsoft OneDriveMicrosoft Outlook, Cisco Jabber
Microsoft Suite (Email, OneDrive, and more) N/A
Dial-in optionYesYesYesYes
No N/A
Dial-out optionN/AYesNoNo
No N/A
PlatformWeb, Mobile (iOS and Android)Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)Webex Teams, Webex Meetings, Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)Webex desktop and mobile
Web, Mobile (iOS and Android) N/A
Blur backgroundN/ANoYes (iPhone only)Yes (iPhone only)
Yes (Mac OS/Win desktop clients) N/A
Yes N/A
FERPA Data Allowed
HIPAA Data Allowed+
Security Information
Moderator Training
Google Meet Training
Webex Meetings
Get Started
Video Training Guides
Learning Center

* 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 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:2020-06-02 12:47 CDT
Sites:Blackboard Collaborate, DoIT Help Desk, Google Apps, Learn@UW-Madison, My UW-Madison Portal, Office 365, Office of Cybersecurity
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