Online Meeting Tools Compared

The following data table is a comparison of the different conference tools that Bellevue College currently offers. This is an ongoing evaluation and is compiled from eLearning’s experience with the tools, faculty & staff comments, and information from outside resources. The list was initially created by Elizabeth Zahrt Geib with updates by the entire BC eLearning team.

For more information and guided help about each of these resources please consult our Faculty Online Support site.

Online Meetings Tools Compared – Bellevue College

Criteria Teams Meeting
Zoom Big Blue
video sources
Limited to webcam and screen Yes: individual windows, multiple video inputs Limited to webcam and screen Limited to webcam and screen Extra video sources can include, e.g., a document camera or a webcam pointing to a physical whiteboard.
Breakout rooms No Yes Yes but not full control. Yes There are workarounds in Teams that use channels but not as flexible as Zoom.
BBB has breakout rooms but the host does not have full control.
Captions: Recordings Yes Yes No Yes
Captions: Live Yes No No Yes Teams live captions are accurate but do not identify a given speaker.
Canvas integration Meetings as Canvas Calendar links Zoom with Panopto Yes Yes Big Blue Button is integrated. ConexEd is partially integrated and available in the left Canvas menu. Teams and Zoom are not fully integrated in the same way at this time.
through an app
Yes Yes Yes
Polls Yes-
through an app
Yes Yes Yes
Screen share Yes Yes Yes Yes
FERPA compliance* Yes* Questionable; more details soon.* Yes* Yes* Please read comments below.


Additional comments:

Online Meeting Tips:

  • Make sure your guests sign in via the BC authentication system. For example, with Teams, users must sign in to even access the tool. However, since Zoom is an outside system, you should set up your meetings to require this authentication:
    1. In your Zoom class meetings, enable “Only authenticated users can join: Sign in to Zoom.” This will require your meeting attendees to use the SSO login option.
    2. In your regular Zoom settings, disable “Allow participants to rename themselves.” This will make it so that, when real BC users authenticate, we will know who disruptors are
    3. Sign in to Zoom via Single Sign-On (SSO) here: Our “domain” is bellevuecollege (one word, no spaces). Please include this link and domain information with your meeting links.
  • Require host to be present before meeting starts
  • Waiting room enabled
  • Screen sharing only for the host
  • As host allows students to enter, use Attendance feature in Canvas to track students
  • Lock classroom maybe 10 minutes after class starts
  • Options for annotation (unless needed/i.e sharing of whiteboard to specific participants or to all)
  • Set specific guidelines for etiquette (Remind students that host (i.e instructor) can mute and/or end a student’s connection to the meeting)
  • Turn off file transfer (unless needed)
  • Disable private chat
  • Links about securing your Zoom meetings:

Participant limits: The limit for every tool should be enough to host all of the students in your class. ConexED supports 100 participants and Zoom supports 300. Teams Meetings are a max size of 250 attendees. Big Blue Button will support a typical class size.

Canvas Conferences/Big Blue Button: These two tools are integrated and for our purposes are one and the same. We do not recommend Big Blue Button due to its limitation of ten concurrent meetings for the whole college. Regarding breakout-rooms: participants have to agree to leave a class conference and join another conference and the moderator doesn’t have control over that.

Teams: Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365. Bellevue College ITS has stated that it is “phenomenal” in how it allows for shared documents, note-taking, simultaneous document editing, and review, etc. It does have interesting features such as handwriting snap to text. It does not support breakout rooms at this time. In other words, it does not allow for the participants to start in a large group, break out into smaller groups, and then come back into the larger group. Teams is good for live lectures because of the impressive live closed captioning. In general, we have found that Teams really works well for internal staff/departmental workgroups, but maybe not so much for classes.

*FERPA compliance: The main thing to consider regarding FERPA compliance is that tools that must be logged into using one’s BC account (so-called “internal” tools) are more private than “outside” tools. However, faculty must remember to keep classes private unto themselves. For example, if you record a class session, and students appear in the recording, then access to that recording must be restricted to only that class.

In the end, FERPA compliance is as good as the person running the meeting’s understanding of it. All the tools claim to be FERPA compliant. More details will be provided as we continue to learn about the tools.

**Lecture recordings (as opposed to the above-listed live-videoconferencing tools): if you need a quick and simple lecture recording, then Zoom is the best choice. Panopto is a little more involved but allows you to edit your recordings and is more private and secure.

Last Updated April 20, 2020