Online Meetings - Should you use Teams, Skype, or Zoom?

WWU has several options for hosting online meetings.  Please follow this guide to learn about your choices, and to help you determine which system is the right fit for your needs. See also: Teams vs. Zoom Comparison Chart for feature comparisons.

Microsoft Teams 

The app is available at our Office 365 portal (https://office.com) or via browser at https://teams.microsoft.com. See also: Get Started with Microsoft Teams 

Pros:  

  • All WWU students, faculty, and staff are automatically licensed.
  • Allows users to instant message with one (Chat) or more people (Meet Now) with one click.
  • Allows users to schedule online meetings.
  • Can add ability to meet via Teams to existing Outlook meetings.
  • Allows users to create teams, channels, and persistent chats for instant messaging, file sharing, and screen sharing.
  • Integrates with many Office 365 applications, like OneNote, Sharepoint, and Planner.
  • Is available as a desktop app, mobile app, via browser at no cost.
  • Supports inviting guests from outside WWU.
  • Hosted in the cloud, so it does not rely on the main campus network to function.
  • WWU voice traffic is all moving from Skype and PBX to Teams by end of 2021.

Cons: 

  • Making and receiving phone calls to outside telephone numbers is not yet available.
  • Online meetings do not have a dial-in conference phone number; users must join the meeting from the web, desktop, or mobile apps. 

Zoom 

Available via licensing from ATUS Software Services.   
Zoom Conferencing

Pros: 

  • Intuitive user interface for easily creating, managing and attending web conferencing.
  • A Zoom account is not needed to attend a Zoom session.
  • Engineered for use in variable bandwidth environments giving it consistent performance when used with consumer grade internet connections.
  • Allows users to utilize participation features such as:
    • In-session chat
    • Breakout rooms
    • Participant feedback (yes/no, hand raise, faster/slower, clap, need a break, away)
    • Screen Sharing (desktop, applications, whiteboard)
    • Polling
    • File Sharing (via cloud services or via the chat)
  • Allows users to schedule online meetings.
  • Can add ability to meet via Zoom to existing Outlook and Teams meetings.
  • Integrates easily with Canvas for online instruction.
  • Can save recordings of Zoom session to the cloud or locally.
  • Is available as a desktop app, mobile app, via browser.
  • Supports inviting guests from outside WWU.
  • Used by many of WWU’s external partners, such as state agencies and K12 school districts, and most of Washington State’s universities and community/technical colleges.
  • Provides dial-in conference services as well as standard internet-based sessions.
  • Hosted in the cloud, so it does not rely on the main campus network to function.

Cons: 

  • With the current WWU Pro license, accounts are not provisioned for students or for all faculty and staff (via single sign-on), so meeting attendees are not authenticated using their WWU Computer Accounts. (The Zoom single sign-on license option would eliminate this issue, as well as boost security.)
    • Session security is limited with the current WWU Pro license.
    • Zoom passwords are specific to Zoom and are not synchronized with WWU universal passwords.
  • Free version is limited to meetings of 40 minutes.
  • Conference room systems and other audio-video equipment at Western are intentionally selected for Microsoft Skype/Teams compatibility, but not Zoom compatibility.

Skype for Business 

Available wherever Office is installed on university computers, or for individual download through Office 365. 
Text, talk, or video conference using Skype for Business

Pros: 

  • Available to all WWU students, faculty, and staff at no additional cost.
  • Integrates with Outlook to create online meetings.
  • Allows user-to-user instant messaging.
  • Works as a traditional telephone service for users on campus who have been converted from the legacy phone system.
  • Automatically creates a dial-in conference phone number (360 area code) whenever you create an online meeting.

Cons: 

  • Hosted on the main campus; service will be unavailable if the main campus experiences an outage.
  • Not all users are configured for traditional telephone service at this time.
  • Chat feature is not persistent – when a chat ends or is idle for a period of time, the conversation is archived in the users’ mailbox.

Recommendations 

For Staff who wish to schedule online meetings: 

  • Use Teams, unless you need a traditional dial-in conference phone number for your meeting. 
  • Use Zoom if you want to leverage the participation features, an intuitive user experience, or a traditional phone connections.
  • Use Skype for Business if you need a dial-in conference phone number and don't wish to use Zoom.

For Faculty who wish to hold lecture or discussions online: 

  • Use Zoom if you want to leverage the participation features, the Canvas integration, or for a intuitive user experience.
  • Use Teams if you want to create a work group for your class, invite the students to join it, and utilize the integration with Office 365 tools.
  • Use Skype for Business if you need a dial-in conference phone number for your group. 

For Faculty who wish to hold meetings or office hours: 

  • Use Teams, unless you need a traditional dial-in conference phone number for your meeting. 
  • Use Zoom if you want to leverage the participation features, an intuitive user experience, a traditional phone connections, or Canvas integrations via scheduled or recurring meetings or other calendars/tools. 

For students who wish to collaborate online: 

  • Use Teams, unless your instructors have already established a collaboration space online via another platform. 
  • Use a free Zoom account for sessions under 40 minutes.