Zoom is now our preferred platform for synchronous online teaching

27

JULY, 2021

Digital Learning
Online Teaching

Introducing Zoom in 2020 added another tool to our digital learning environment and prompted us to re-evaluate the platforms we use to create synchronous online classrooms. To provide a simpler and more streamlined learning environment, we recommend Zoom as our preferred platform for synchronous online classrooms and will decommission Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in 2022. We made this decision in collaboration with the Digital Learning Environments and Innovation (DLEI) Strategy and Implementation Groups, which include faculty and divisional representatives. 

Why are we doing this? 

Our digital learning environment is complex and having two platforms that offer similar functionality (Zoom and BbCollaborate Ultra) adds unnecessary complexity and confusion for both staff and students. Recommending Zoom and decommissioning BbCollaborate Ultra reduces some of this complexity and allows us to provide a more consistent experience for students and reduce costs associated with licensing, maintenance, training and support.  

To inform this decision, we spoke to numerous teaching and support staff across the University about their needs and preferences for synchronous online classrooms and compared the functionality of the two platforms. While they have many similar features, Zoom offers some other benefits, including the ability to pre-prepare poll questions, save whiteboard content, and annotate shared content for both host and participants. Zoom supports larger groups and can provide fully interactive meetings for up to 500 participants*, compared to 250 participants in BbCollaborate Ultra.  

*Your Deakin Zoom account allows you to schedule meetings with full interactivity (polling, interactive whiteboards, text chat, breakout rooms and audio- and video-sharing by all participants) for up to 300 participants. If you need to schedule interactive meetings for between 300 and 500 participants, please contact the IT Service Desk to request an upgrade to your license. 

What does this mean for me? 

If you are already using Zoom for your online classes and seminars, you don’t need to take any action. If you are currently using BbCollaborate Ultra, you will need to move your online classes and seminars to Zoom in Trimester 3 this year. Your faculty’s Digital Learning / CloudDeakin Support team will work with you to help facilitate this change. 

We will be decommissioning BbCollaborate Ultra in 2022. Further information about the decommissioning process and how to manage any BbCollaborate Ultra recordings you need to keep will be provided later this year. 

What training and support is available? 

Step-by-step instructions for scheduling and managing Zoom sessions and recordings via the integration with CloudDeakin are available in the CloudDeakin guides. Guidelines for managing your Zoom recordings, including instructions on how to upload recordings to Kaltura if needed, are available on DTeach. More resources and training workshops are available through your faculty’s Digital Learning / CloudDeakin Support team – check out their websites below. 

 Find out more about the Video@Deakin project and the decision to decommission BbCollaborate Ultra on our Sharepoint site

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