Alternative Teaching Web Conference Choices

Zoom

Zoom Web Conferencing

BigBlueButton

Canvas built-in web conference feature.

Adobe Connect

USF's longtime web conferencing solution

USF has three web conferencing solutions which can be used as “alternatives” to face-to-face teaching.  Adobe Connect; BigBlueButton (in Canvas); and, a third party solution, Zoom.  All three are addressed in this downloadable document/quick start guide.

Summary

All three of these platforms offer the ability to:

  • Lecture
  • Demonstrate or present information (PowerPoints or PDFs).
  • Share screens (e.g., websites that students should peruse).
  • Handle Q & A.
  • Controls over the virtual classroom environment (e.g., allowing students who raise their hand an opportunity to speak).
  • Accept phone communication instead of computer audio (less so with Adobe Connect).
  • And please note:
    • Two of the three platforms allow you to share a video with full sound (BigBlueButton and Zoom).
    • Two of the three platforms allow you to share actual files of any type, including project files (e.g., SPSS files)—Adobe Connect and Zoom.
    • Two of the three platforms allow you to break large numbers of students into separate groups or teams for collaborative work (Adobe Connect & Zoom)

For your convenience, here is the downloadable document for all three solutions.

Additionally, Canvas itself has published a Guide for Remote Classrooms covering conferences.  Not all of it may apply to USF but it does add value and may address questions you may be asking about conferencing.

These are mostly technical instructions, not a how-to manual for teaching synchronously, an experience that is unique to each instructor!  There are enumerable guidelines for teaching-at-a-distance, including Quality Matters; however, your preparation and organization of the class is largely up to you, as is your style of teaching.  The first experience of teaching students at a distance will no doubt be discomfiting; your students are not there in-person!  But their virtual presence will be established and enhanced with video and audio communication.  It is possible and even encouraged to generate discussions with your students which you can direct technologically with the web platform of your choice.  If advice were to be given it is simply this:  Be who you are.  Strive to make eye contact with the camera as you would the eyes of your students, and expect to grow more confident as you proceed.

The Academic Technology Team

Glen Gummess, E.D., author

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