Web Conferencing and Collaboration Tools

The following table lists the features and capabilities of three video conferencing resources available at NC State. For additional information on one of these, click on the link in its column heading.

Feature Blackboard Collaborate Google Hangouts
.edu version
WebEx Meetings Server
(see WebEx)
Maximum participants
  • Blackboard Collaborate
    software users: No limit
  • Dial-in users: 25
Video: 25
Audio & text: 100
Air: No limit
125
Cost No charge to end user No charge to end user $5, $10 or $50
see WebEx
Share screen & apps Yes Yes Yes
Use with mobile devices Yes Yes Yes
Text chat Yes Yes Yes
Whiteboard,
sketch pad
Yes Yes Yes
Multiple participants
can edit document
in real time
Via shared application
or Google Doc
Yes Yes
Document annotation Yes Yes Yes
File transfer Yes To Google Drive Yes
Audio participation
  • Via computer audio
  • Via telephone
Via computer audio
  • Via computer audio
  • Via telephone
Secure telephone
conferencing
Yes No Yes
OS compatibility Mac, Windows, iOS, Android Mac, Windows,
Linux, iOS, Android
Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Software needed Install plugin
  • Web browser
  • Install plugin
  • Javascript-enabled
    Web browser
  • Install plugin
Polling Yes No Yes
Session recording Yes Available only with
Hangouts on Air
Yes
Live streaming Requires link or
meeting info
Live public YouTube video Requires link or
meeting info
Meeting creation Unity ID required Google account required Unity ID required
Non-NC State participants Yes Google users (but can be external) Yes
Keyboard-only accessibility Yes Keyboard shortcuts Keyboard shortcuts
Integration with learning
management system
(has Moodle plugin)
Yes No No
Integration with
Google Calendar
No Yes, can schedule
within Calendar
Yes, appointment appears
on Calendar with
meeting information
Facilitator or
moderator role
Yes Available only with
Hangouts on Air
Yes
Subset of participants
can have private meeting,
then return to full session
Yes No Can chat privately
during meeting
Quiz can be administered
during a session
Yes No No
Moderator can
set up content
before session starts
Yes Yes Yes
Session reports Yes In Hangouts On Air,
event organizer
can see participant list
Yes
Provide Remote
Desktop assistance
Yes No Yes

How these tools might be used

  • By choosing Blackboard Collaborate, you can meet with a group of your students to discuss several topics and then end the session with a quiz.
  • If you are a professor who needs to set up office hours or hold an important class session while you are away from campus, Blackboard Collaborate can meet your needs.
  • Your four-person campus working group is revising a document. Rather than driving across campus and finding parking, you use Google Hangouts to set up a video call to discuss and work on the document together.
  • You want to use Google Calendar to schedule a meeting among three participants who do not have Javascript-enabled Web browsers, so you select Google Hangouts.
  • As a pathology professor, you want to show real time video microscopy to a group of students and colleagues. The high quality video provided by WebEx Meetings Server allows you to share very detailed images in real time.
  • You have to schedule a training session for regulatory personnel in all 100 North Carolina counties. Knowing that several of them cannot attend in person but can participate by phone, you decide to use WebEx Meetings Server.  You can also record the session and share it with all the invitees to view at their leisure.