The University of Toronto offers several solutions for hosting video-meetings, either for teaching or for administrative work. This chart offers a quick comparison:
|Webinar and Video-Conferencing Solutions in Use at UofT|
|Service||License||Capacity||Access||Dial In Option||First Contact||Cost|
|MS Teams Video Meetings||Institutional, Self-Serve||250 per session||Outlook, Teams, Quercus||Yes, Local||divisional IT/EdTech||none|
|Collaborate Ultra default||Institutional, Self-Serve||250 per session||Quercus or scheduled by|
|Yes, Local||divisional IT/EdTech||none|
|Collaborate Ultra Large Event||Institutional, Self-Serve||500 per session||Quercus or scheduled by|
|Yes, Local||divisional IT/EdTech||none|
|MS Live Events||Institutional, By Request||10,000 per session||By Request from firstname.lastname@example.org||Yes, Local||ACE||none|
Effective June 19, Zoom is now provisionally approved for teaching and general meetings.
|300 per session||Consult departmental IT||possibly||divisional IT/EdTech||none|
|Please note that Zoom is NOT approved for uses that include personal health information. Please speak with your divisional IT unit for advice related to this need.|
|Zoom Webinar /|
Zoom Large Class
|These other products from Zoom are provisionally approved for teaching but are not covered by the Zoom Education license program. It is very important the users contact their divisional IT department before purchasing these services, otherwise, users may be locked out of the personal Zoom Education account by accident if proper procedures are not followed. Thank you.||Consult departmental IT||divisional IT/EdTech||yes|
Teams Video Meetings is the simplest and easiest solution to use for basic video-conferencing needs. TVM can be used for one-off meetings, or for repeating meetings. 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). Because Teams Video Meetings 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. And if you are using MS Teams as your virtual work space, then launching a Teams Video Meetings is even easier – literally the push of a button.
While not many instructors are using Teams Video Meetings for their classes, there is no reason why they can’t; they need only schedule a session and share the link with students, and Teams Video Meetings is integrated with Quercus, to make it even easier for instructors to create video meetings with their class (for live remote lecture, video office hours, thesis committee meetings, etc.). And best of all, it’s completely free, and protected by our formal agreements with Microsoft.
While Team Meetings can be used for teaching, Collaborate Ultra, our supported webinar tool, is more popular with instructors at the moment. Relative to TVM, Collaborate Ultra has additional tools, such as breakout rooms, and granular presenter controls, that make it more akin to a classroom experience. Collaborate Ultra is fully integrated with Quercus, making it easy for instructors to schedule and host events that automatically invites all students in a course, although session facilitators can also schedule independent sessions not connected to a course, and invite participants from outside the University. Like Team Meetings, there is no cost to use Collaborate Ultra at the University.
The default maximum concurrent participant number for Teams Video Meetings is currently 300, and Collaborate Ultra is 250, however, larger classes and events with up to 500 participants can be facilitated with Collaborate Ultra, by prior request, and coordinated through your divisional Educational Technology support group. There is no cost for these larger events; they just have to be pre-scheduled (as opposed to regular sessions up to 250, which can be done at any time).
Our third service is Live Events from Microsoft. This is a broadcast tool (rather than a discourse-based tool like Team Video Meetings and Collaborate Ultra), which means there is a presenter and audience. 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. The capacity is up to 10,000 audience members. There is no cost to use this service for UofT staff and faculty, but it requires pre-arranged scheduling with ACE (see below), as running one of these Live Events sessions requires at least one support staff member in a “producer” role.
As an added benefit, Live Events 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 ACE to discuss.
Finally, as of June 19, Zoom Education is now provisionally approved for teaching. The Zoom Education license allows instructors and staff to create a Zoom account and host meetings with up to 300 participants, via a University Zoom portal. However, before using this service, instructors and staff should carefully read and follow these instructions <https://act.utoronto.ca/zoom-information/>, as failing to do so may result in users being locked out of their account. Unlike Teams Video Meetings and Collaborate Ultra, Zoom Education is not integrated with Quercus. Please note that Zoom is NOT approved for uses that include personal health information. Please speak with your divisional IT unit for advice related to this need.
For more information, please see the following resources:
- A great document on choosing between the different solutions from our Engineering Faculty:
- Find your Local EdTech Support Team: https://q.utoronto.ca/courses/46670/pages/support#support-contacts
- Team Meetings: https://easi.its.utoronto.ca/shared-services/office365/teams/
- Collaborate Ultra: https://q.utoronto.ca/courses/46670/pages/integration-blackboard-collaborate-ultra-web-conferencing
- MS Live Events: please contact Academic & Campus Events: https://ace.utoronto.ca/contact.html
- Zoom Best Practices (as compiled by our Engineering Faculty with help from Medicine and UTM): https://hub.engineering.utoronto.ca/administrative-resources/it/zoom-meetings/