Web Conferencing Tools

Towson University offers three web-conferencing solutions: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Skype for Business and WebEx. Recommendations for use are listed below.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra vs. webex

Using Web Compliant Technology 

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and WebEx are very similar tools. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is recommended when interacting with individuals who require the use of a screen reader, as it is currently the closest compliant web conferencing technology. In general, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra should be used when interacting with students because it is difficult to project if a disabled student will be added to class rosters during the add/drop period.


Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (For Faculty)

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows you to meet online with your students. This real-time video conferencing system allows you to add files, share applications and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. All you have to do as an instructor is set up a time to meet with your students online. Use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for virtual office hours, group activities and to make recordings.


  • single sign-on classroom — integration with Blackboard
  • share applications
  • share files
  • virtual whiteboard
  • record lecture
  • chat feature 


  • virtual office hours
  • online classes
  • guest lecturers
  • student presentations
  • recorded lectures
  • departmental course planning

Skype for Business (For Faculty, Staff and Students)

Skype for Business (PDF) is part of Office 365 allowing you to communicate and collaborate easily with others. You may also communicate with your colleagues here at Towson University, or with people in different locations or time zones. Use Skype for Business for lecture capture, instant messaging and online meetings.


  • send instant messages
  • share monitor, video (webcam), audio
  • share applications
  • create polls
  • conduct on-line meetings
  • share whiteboard
  • record a basic lecture
  • seamlessly integrates with your Outlook email, calendar and address book
  • presence status based on your Outlook calendar or IM status
  • document and screen sharing
  • record sessions


  • real time meeting with field personnel and office staff
  • quick questions — instant messages
  • quick answers while in a meeting
  • collaborate on procedures, policy, and rule changes with greater efficiency (especially when time is of the essence)

WebEx (For Faculty, Staff and Students)

WebEx is a web-based, collaborative technology that allows users to share resources (documents, desktops, web-browsers, applications, whiteboard, etc.) remotely and communicate with each other using voice, video and chat. Recordings can be made and shared. There is also a personal meeting room which provides hosts with a persistent URL making it easy to share it out. Use WebEx to meet online in your personal meeting room, share applications and collaborate on documents.

Faculty may participate in a WebEx webinar using VoIP (voice over internet protocol) — computer is used for audio or by using the telephone. Students must use VoIP for audio.


  • share applications
  • share files
  • virtual whiteboard
  • record lecture
  • personal meeting room with persistent URL
  • chat
  • video and voice
  • polls
  • desktop sharing


  • advisor/advisee interaction
  • collaboration with research colleagues
  • interviews
  • guest lectures and presenters
  • communicate with service units (ex., library)
  • collaborate with colleagues across campus or across the country
  • meet online — share files, info, and expertise
  • record a meeting
  • student may use to collaborate on projects
  • communication during campus emergencies
  • consultant meetings
  • press conference with outside agencies
  • budget issues
  • off-site meetings — when time or funds not readily available — cost and time saving
  • quick meeting
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