Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

Which webinar tool should I use (and when)?


Synchronous activities (from courses to meetings to research groups) are when people participate in the activity in real time (though the session is often recorded). They usually entail some interaction between attendees and vary in size from 1:1 to 1:+10, 000. If you want to run something in real time, chances are you're going to want to pick from one of the below online tools to support it. You'll want to keep in mind that the different tools have different strengths, and you might actually use a combination of the tools in order to achieve your goals.

Where is Bb Collaborate? As of August 31, 2021, UofT will no longer license Bb Collaborate. Please see ACT's termination of Collaborate license memo for more details. Since the contract with Bb Collaborate is ending, we'd recommend reviewing Zoom as it is the currently available option that is most similar in terms of functionality to Bb Collaborate.

What are the most commonly used Webinar/Livestreaming tools in use at FASE? (See Enterprise Video-conferencing & Video Meeting Resources for institutionally support tools)

  1. Team Meetings (TM ) is fully integrated with Office 365 (the UofT email and calendar system), it is easy to schedule sessions, and participants do not need to have a UofT/UTORid to join. The solution has basic screen sharing by a presenter, and an accompanying “chat” window for textual conversations (and the text transcripts automatically persist after the meeting). Teams is now integrated into the academic toolbox and is accessible from Quercus courses (see Teams + Quercus documentation for details).
  2. Zoom is a popular webinar tool that emphasizes collaboration. It is not currently integrated into any of the U of T systems. Zoom meeting sessions cap at 300 attendees. NEW! U of T has provisionally licensed Zoom (see ACT's Zoom Information page for account information). For this provisional license, it will not be integrated into Quercus (see how to administer Zoom in your course).
  3. MS Live is a broadcast tool (rather than a discourse-based tool like Team Meetings and Collaborate Ultra). The audience can engage with the presenter via text chat, but the audio and video is one-way broadcast. This tool is very useful for very large classes or other live events and can also serve as a remote, virtual “recording studio.” Instructors and staff who may be interested in having assistance recording a video for later broadcast or sharing should contact LSM (Learning Space Management) to discuss scheduling and (for non-academic events) pricing.

Should I record? Yes! Although these are designed to support synchronous sessions, there will be times where students cannot attend, lose connectivity, or simply want to review the session. It is highly recommended that you record these sessions and share them with your students, after the session. To take it farther, you might also upload presentation and other files used as well as any scripts that you have.

How do the different tools compare?

Support Sites: Teams Meetings (TM) Zoom MS Live
Ideal for: Small internal meetings (e.g. research groups, staff meetings) Collaborative Activities (e.g. discussions) Broadcasting to large audiences (+ 1000) (e.g. large lecture sections)
Before you use, consider: When joining from an invite, all attendees are equal; can share audio and screens at any time Use at your own discretion (see "how to avoid zoom bombing" as well as FASE's Information Sheet); not all Zoom features and services available (see pricing) 10-20 s delay (interaction between host and attendees is difficult)
How to Access Schedule from Microsoft Teams or Outlook or from within your Quercus Course If you already have a Pro account (paid by yourself or another department) or if you are creating a new Zoom account, visit Academic and Collaborative Technologies (ACT) Zoom information page for instructions. 
If you are converting an existing account to a U of T account, follow our step-by-step guide: How do I convert an existing basic Zoom account to a U of T pro account?  
Contact LSM for booking; some events are for a fee
Integrated into Quercus? Sort of (See Teams Meetings Documentation) No No
Administration Self-managed via Microsoft Teams or Outlook Self-managed via Zoom Settings Administered by LSM ([email protected]); not self-managed
Roles Presenters and Attendees; attendees have equal functionality (except guests, who cannot start/stop recordings); see MS Teams Roles Host, Guests (different roles available if other paid tiers are added to account, e.g Panelists) Organizer, Producer (designed to help queue content/manage session), Presenter, Attendee
Bandwidth usage Some end-user controls; can turn off video feeds but not screen sharing Some end-user controls; change video quality in settings > video (recommended)
Attendance Log Yes, via Participants pane (report can only be downloaded by meeting organizer and only while meeting is still in session) Yes (see getting started with Zoom reports) Yes; via Attendee Engagement Report
Join by phone option? Yes (but could be temporary)  Yes Yes (but could be temporary)
Session size limits? 1000
(Note: The default maximum concurrent participant number for Teams Video Meetings was increased from 300 to 1000 in August 2021. For more information, refer to the Enterprise Video-conferencing and Video Meeting Resources page from Academic and Collaborative Technologies (ACT)
(see Q & A section, Q3 of Academic and Collaborative Technologies (ACT) Zoom information page for information about a Large Class add-on which is NOT part of the U of T license but can be purchased separately, directly from Zoom, and used on an autonomous account, NOT via the U of T Zoom portal)
Designed for large audiences; support over 10,000 attendees
Max. simultaneous cameras 49; currently in preview mode, see how to enable large camera grid Up to number of participants; flip through "pages" of camera grids (see changing the video lay out) Limited to Presenter Cameras
Pricing? Included in institutional licensing Basic account included in institutional licensing; pricing for different levels of accounts. Included in institutional licensing
Interaction Features: Emojis, Stickers, Message Urgency (Standard, Important, Urgent) Hand Raise, Emoticons for Yes/No, Go Slower/Go Faster, Thumbs Up/Down, Clap, Coffee, Time Emoticon for Thumbs Up
Instructor can share: Audio, Video, Content, Applications, built-in whiteboard Audio, Video, Content, Applications, built-in whiteboard (see sharing your screen) Audio, Video, Content, Applications, whiteboard (via Teams Chat, this chat screen can then be  shared)
Students can share: Audio, Video, Content, Applications, built-in whiteboard Audio, Video, Content, Applications, built-in whiteboard Attendees cannot share content
Remote Control? No Yes; Hosts can take control of guest screens (with permission) Yes; Presenter can control Producer's screen
Guest access? Yes; some functional limitations for guests. Yes, can invite anyone. Yes; can invite anyone.
Formative Quizzing?  Polling available via MS Forms, can pre-build before session Basic Polling; Multiple Choice; can pre-build before sessions (requires Pro account or above) No
Small Group Collaboration? Breakout Rooms

(Note: Breakout rooms in Teams Video Meetings can only be created in meetings that have fewer than 300 attendees. In addition, creating breakout rooms in a meeting automatically limits the number of meeting attendees to 300)
Breakout Rooms No
Built-in recording tool? Yes; recording is logged as part of meeting chat; As of January 2021, recordings are no longer automatically uploaded to Microsoft Stream. Instead, they are automatically uploaded to a Recordings folder in OneDrive.
Yes; file is saved locally and requires manual upload to video streaming service (like MyMedia); see "how to record a Zoom session" Yes; file can be downloaded via the Recording link on the calendar invite.
Storage capacity for recordings Storage in OneDrive is limited to 1 TB per user.  

Storage for all provisional U of T Zoom Education accounts is limited to 0.5 GB. 

Contact LSM for information.
Retention limits for recordings There are no limits on retention time of recordings. There is a 120-day retention limit on cloud storage recordings. This information is also available on the Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) Zoom Information page Contact LSM for information.
Class management tools? Timer available in breakout rooms Session timer Session Timer
Session time limit? 8 hours 30 hours (based on Standard Pro license limit) 4 hours
Mobile app? Yes Yes; limited functionality; not recommended for hosting sessions Only functional for attendees 

Webinars with video and/or content/screen sharing are huge bandwidth (Internet quota) users. If you are on a session with screen sharing and/or video feeds, you can expect to use 1 - 2 gbs of data per hour of use. If you are streaming in HD, this usage could be even higher.

Interested in knowing more about the security of the tool? Mozilla published a report reviewing and detailing security measures built into commonly used video call apps (including the ones above; excepting Bb Collaborate Ultra).

Next Article How can I set up my hardware and software?
Still have questions? Contact the FASE EdTech Office