Online Meeting Tools Compared


This is an ongoing evaluation comparing the different online conference tools used by Bellevue College. The College primarily supports Microsoft Teams and Zoom at this time. If you just need a quick and simple lecture recording rather than a conference then Zoom is often the best choice. Please view the additional comments, and FERPA information below.

Bellevue College Online Meeting Tools

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 Yes Yes Yes but not full control. Yes BBB has breakout rooms but the host does not have full control.
Captions: Recordings Yes Yes No Yes  
Captions: Live Yes
Yes (but not in breakout rooms)
No Yes Teams has captions in breakout rooms. Teams’ live captions can identify a given speaker.*
Canvas integration Meetings as Canvas Calendar links Zoom with Panopto Yes Yes BBB is integrated. ConexEd is partially integrated and available in the Canvas menu.
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.

Meeting Tips:

  • Make sure your guests sign in via the BC authentication system. For example, with Teams, users must sign in to their BC account to even access the tool. Zoom is an outside system so be sue you should set up your meetings to require this authentication.
  • Consider requiring the host to be present before meeting starts
  • Best practice is enable a waiting room for Zoom meetings
  • Best practice is to enable screen sharing only for the host
  • 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
  • Additional informatino about securing your Zoom meetings:

Participant limits: ConexED supports 100 students, Zoom supports 300, and Teams supports 250 attendees.

Canvas Conferences/Big Blue Button: These two tools are integrated and for our purposes are one and the same. Big Blue Button has a limitation of ten concurrent meetings for the whole college. This may cause technical issues, and therefore we recommend Teams or Zoom.

Captions: Microsoft Teams supports breakout rooms and provides live closed captioning. Zoom has live captions as well, but Zoom does not provide live captions for breakout rooms.

*FERPA Compliance

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. 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.

Last Updated February 19, 2021