Web Conferencing

Western has three centrally funded and supported web conferencing systems. These systems allow for video and/or audio conferencing and include other collaboration features which can be used in a variety of administrative and academic use cases, including meetings and a live classroom environment.

The three systems are Blackboard CollaborateMicrosoft Teams and Zoom. While generally they each have the same core functionality (i.e. they facilitate web conferencing sessions), they each have different feature sets and constraints which should be considered when deciding which system to use for any particular context.  

In order to help you make an informed choice on which tool to use for your specific use case, in the section below, we are providing an overview and feature comparison of the three systems.

For large, broadcast-type (i.e. most of the participants are only viewing) events where not as much interaction is necessary or desired, Zoom Webinars and Microsoft Teams Live Events are good options. See Webinar Tools for a comparison of those two options.

If you require further information or assistance with access and/or using the systems, please contact WTS by creating a Service Desk ticket at https://jira.uwo.ca/servicedesk.

Tool Comparison Table

Disclaimer: These tools are cloud-hosted system and while their use is optional, all usage must comply with Western's Computing, Technology & Information Resources Policy and Data Classification Standards.

The following table compares Western's centrally supported web conferencing tools. An accessible version of this table is available here: https://www.wts.uwo.ca/web_conferencing/tool_comparison


 Simultaneous Hosting describes the ability to host more than one session concurrently using the same account.


  1. For over 300 participants, there are two options: Zoom Webinar and Zoom Large meeting licenses. Requests can be made to the WTS Helpdesk to enable these licenses (at an additional cost) to any Western Zoom account. See Webinar Tools for more information.

  2. Recordings are downloaded locally to the computer of the user who started the recording.

  3. Captions are manually input by a designated user.

  4. Authentication is required for Hosts. Authentication can be enabled per session for all participants (either using any Zoom login or limited to Western email addresses) for more security.

Blackboard Collaborate UE

  1. For over 250 participants, large scale session for up to 500 participants can be enabled in the session settings.

  2. Recordings are uploaded to the Cloud and made available in the OWL site where the session is hosted.

  3. Captions are manually input by a designated user.

  4. Do not need to authenticate with Guest Link.

  5. Collaborate is only available in OWL.


Microsoft Teams

  1. For over 300 participants, Microsoft Teams Live Event can be used. See Webinar Tools for more information.

  2. Safari and Internet Explorer are not compatible with video meetings in Teams. See Join a Teams Meeting on an Unsupported Browser for more information

  3. Recordings are available to be downloaded in the Team for 20 days before automatically removed.

  4. Captions are automatically generated.

  5. Requires authentication with a Western ID or Microsoft Account.

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