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Video Conferencing

Guides to Big Blue Button, Google Meet, and BlueJeans for online video conferencing.

Overview

Video Conferences

What are they?

Video conferences are synchronous online meetings. Their common uses include:

  • Guest Speakers
  • Online Office Hours
  • Online Study Sessions
  • Synchronous Remote Classes
  • Synchronous Blended Classes

What Conferencing tools does NNU Offer?

  • Google Meet™
  • Canvas Conferences through BigBlueButton
  • BlueJeans™

Read the descriptions below to determine which tool or combination of tools is right for you.

Video Conference Tools

Overview

Google Meetings can be started directly from your email or easily scheduled through Google calendar. It can also be easily integrated into Canvas Modules. While having fewer functions than the other Video Conference solutions, Big Blue Button, Google Meetings can be permanently recorded and have the comparative advantages of being more intuitive and less complicated than other solutions along with strong synergy with Gmail and Google Calendar. 

Advantages

Compared to the other video conference tools, Google Meet is best used when the primary goal is face to face conversation or discussion in two-person or small group meetings. Additionally, it does not require the creation of a new account (as Zoom does) or require any third party application downloads (as both Zoom and Bluejeans push for). This combined with the tool's general ease and convenience makes it a good choice when the functions of Big Blue Button or Bluejeans are unneeded.

Limitations

Due to the lower number of functions, Google Meet is less useful in more structured remote class settings. It also has fewer moderator controls, and while the ability to screen share allows for some level of presentation, this requires a secondary program to be run and managed simultaneously along with the video conference tool.

(Canvas Conferences)

Overview

Canvas Conferences is Canvas's native video conference tool and is directly accessible within Canvas. This makes it simple to create, view, and join for both professors and students. Of the three conferencing tools, Canvas Conferences provides one of the most holistic classroom experiences and competes with BlueJeans for the widest range of functions. However, this functionality comes at the cost of simplicity. All of the extra functions and buttons make the initial learning process more complicated, and, while they can be recorded, Canvas Conference recordings cannot be downloaded and are only available for 14 days.

Advantages

Compared to the other Video Conferencing tools, Canvas Conferences is best used in instances where the remote faculty who desire to recreate as close as possible an in-person class setting online, who are used to making use of a whiteboard during lectures, who like to break their students up into groups, or who make use of in-class quizzes. Canvas Conferences provide the functionality to do all of these things within the program itself.

Limitations

Canvas Conferences's more complicated style and less intuitive nature make it less desirable in instances where its additional features are unneeded. Such instances as one-on-one meetings, small group meetings, or lecture courses that have small amounts of student involvement and/or do not require a whiteboard. Additionally, recordings are only available for 14 days after the meeting, and there is a limit of 10 concurrent Conference sessions going simultaneously. If you try to start a Conference and happen to be the 11th concurrent user, let us know as we are actively watching how much these tools are used to know if we need to increase our number of licences.

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Overview

BlueJeans is NNU's most formal Video Conference tool. Primarily managed by NNU's ITS department, BlueJeans meeting codes are created by ITS upon receiving a ticket request created at help.nnu.edu. While being managed by ITS means that BlueJeans does not have a native Canvas integration like NNU's other conferencing solutions, BlueJeans meeting codes can be easily copied into modules, and, if recorded, uploaded into Canvas Studio for easy Student Access. Additionally, after passing through the difficulty of creation lueJeans meetings are easy for students to join, provide more moderator controls and other functions (such as break out rooms) than Google Meet, and is more intuitive than Big Blue Button.

Advantages

Compared to the other video conference tools, BlueJeans is best used when the professor needs both a permanent recording and greater functionality than Google Meet offers due to it having both capabilities while also being very intuitive.

Limitations

Due to its being managed by ITS and only being created per user request, BlueJeans does not work well in most single-use settings, when the meeting time varies, or if Google Meet or Canvas Conferences could serve the purpose.