1. Choosing Your Web Conferencing Tool
  2. Best Practices and Protocols
    1. Preparing
    2. Facilitating
    3. Ending and Following Up
  3. Guidelines for Recording Remote Class Content
    1. Recording of Class Sessions by Instructors
    2. Suggested Text for for Instructors Who Plan to Record
    3. Recording of Class Sessions by Students
    4. Suggested Syllabus Language
  4. Evidence Based Resources

Carleton University supports a number of web conferencing tools that you can use to support teaching and learning. You first need to decide whether you need and want to meet with your students for your class. Some of the activities that work well for web conferencing solutions are:

  • Seminars
  • Group work
  • Peer review
  • Group presentations
  • Office hours
  • Guest speakers
  • Exam reviews
  • One-on-one meetings with students

If your session requires these types of interactions, there are several options available to you.

Choosing Your Web Conferencing Tool

Tool BigBlueButton Microsoft Teams Zoom
Educational Purpose
  • Course discussion
  • Short lectures
  • Student presentations
  • Office hours
  • Group work

  • One on one meetings
  • Group work
  • Office hours
  • Course discussion
  • Short lectures
Audience Size <50 <10 +50
Internal/External Audiences  Either. External server requires manual setup. Internal only Either
Ease of Use Medium – screen sharing is somewhat challenging. Break out rooms take some practice. Medium-interface can be challenging to manage Easy
Supported Yes Yes Yes
Reliable Mostly Somewhat Very
Integrated in LMS Yes – recording posts automatically in cuLearn No No, but easy to post links
Secure Yes Yes Mostly
Accessibility Has some accessibility features. Ability to have live captioning. Automated english live captions available in desktop application. Some accessibility features
Screen Share Yes, but there is a time delay Yes. Easy. Yes, very easy
Recording Yes Yes Yes. Recommend saving locally and upload to Kaltura
Supports Slides Yes, files and slides are loaded No – yes via screen sharing only. Yes, through screen sharing
Polling Yes No Yes

Best Practices and Protocols


Computer and Internet Recommendations

  • A laptop or desktop computer with (at least) 2G of memory and a 1Ghz processor (any computer bought in the last five years should be fine).
  • Use either built-in or external camera or external camera with a headset or earbuds to reduce ambient noise.
  • A mobile device with 4G LTI (best) or 3G (minimum connection)

Internet Connection Speed

  • Ideal: 5 Mbps upsteam, using an ethernet cable instead of wifi.
  • Minimum requirements: 1.5 Mbps upstream and 1 Mbps downstream.
  • To check bandwidth use, https://speedtest.net/.

Scheduling and Communicating

  • Create the meeting space at least a day in advance (e.g. create a Zoom link or set up the BBB room in your cuLearn course)
  • Send a reminder to participants that details how they will join it and what they will need (e.g. headphones, mic, camera).


  • If you plan on recording the meeting, let participants know in advance.
  • Keep in mind that some students may not be able to access or engage with the synchronous session so a recording can help them stay connected to the class.

Code of Conduct

Material preparation

  • If appropriate, prepare an agenda for the session and invite participants to add items in advance.
  • If you plan to use feedback tools or breakout rooms in the session, create the questions beforehand.
  • Consider distributing your slides just before the presentation for those who might have issues connecting.

Making the Classroom Accessible and Equitable

Make your course accessible to all learners by keeping in mind that some of your students may need accommodations. You may want to consider the following:

  • Organizing ASL translators in advance
  • Some tools allow someone to live caption
  • Captioning the recording after the fact
  • Posting notes, slides and other materials for students who require material in different formats


Joining the meeting early

  • Join at least 10 minutes before the session is planned to start.
  • Test audio and video and upload any teaching materials you will be sharing.
  • If you plan to record the session, post a slide indicating that you plan to do so.

Facilitation plan

Technical participation

  • At the start of the session, communicate the expectations for how participants will engage technically (e.g. using the chat to post questions, raise their hand or use built-in tool “reactions” to indicate they have a question). For more ideas, consult the ITS Teams Meeting Protocols Document


  • Keep presentation of content to a minimum. Lecture content should be filmed in advance and posted to cuLearn. Use the synchronous meeting time for discussion.
  • If appropriate use polls, chat feedback and breakout rooms to guide discussion.
  • When using whiteboards or breakout rooms, describe what participants should see on their end.
  • If you are demonstrating something, slow down and be very intentional.

Having a moderator

  • With large groups or screen sharing presentations, it can be helpful to have a moderator. You might ask a TA, student or staff member to monitor the chat window and bring questions to you at regular intervals

Ending and Following Up

Wrapping up 

  • Use the last few minutes to conclude the discussion
  • Consider using an asynchronous approach to wrap up the meeting – ask students to complete a feedback poll or submit a short reflection via cuLearn

Following up

  • Share the session recording, if applicable
  • You may want to share your own reflections on the discussion with your students in an email or announcement

Guidelines for Recording Remote Class Content

Instructors may choose to record synchronous remote class sessions. The following guidelines provide insight into when an instructor may wish to record classes and instruction on how to do so in a way that is consistent with University policies. Students are prohibited from recording class sessions and are also prohibited from the distribution of class recordings.

Recording of Class Sessions by Instructors

  • Recording synchronous online class sessions is appropriate, as recording allows students to review content after class, and provides an opportunity for students who are unable to attend class to view the course.
  • When faculty choose to record a synchronous class session, they should communicate this to the students both in writing through the course syllabus and verbally.
  • Recordings should be shared only with the students enrolled in the course and should be deleted at the end of the course.
  • Recording of synchronous sessions that include student discussion should be given special consideration:
    • Instructors may choose to turn off the recording at certain points of the class in order to protect student privacy and eliminate the possibility that recording might stifle discussion, particularly if sensitive content is included in the discussion.

Suggested Text for for Instructors Who Plan to Record

This class or portions of this class will be recorded by the instructor for educational purposes. These recordings will be shared only with students enrolled in the course. Your instructor will communicate how you can access the recordings.

Recording of Class Sessions by Students

Unauthorized student recording is prohibited. Faculty should not grant individual requests for students to record class sessions. Students requesting the use of assistive technology as an accommodation should direct such requests to the Paul Menton Centre.

Suggested Syllabus Language

Unauthorized student recording of classroom or other academic activities (including advising sessions or office hours) is prohibited. Unauthorized recording is unethical and may also be a violation of University policy. Students requesting the use of assistive technology as an accommodation should contact the Paul Menton Centre. Unauthorized use of classroom recordings – including distributing or posting them – is also prohibited.  Under the University’s Copyright Policy, faculty own the copyright to instructional materials – including those resources created specifically for the purposes of instruction, such as lectures slides, lecture notes, and presentations.  Students cannot copy, reproduce, display, or distribute these materials or otherwise circulate these materials without the instructor’s written permission. Students who engage in unauthorized recording, unauthorized use of a recording, or unauthorized distribution of instructional materials will be referred to the appropriate University office for follow-up.

Evidence Based Resources

1. How various tools available in web conferencing tools (chat, raise hand, polling, whiteboard, etc) enhance engagement and exploration and thus promote active learning.

Lieser, P, et al. 2018. The Webinar Integration Tool: A Framework for Promoting Active Learning in Blended Environments. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2018(1): 7, pp. 1–8, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.453

2. How to facilitate engaged learning in a web conferencing session based on the indicators of active learning

Chapman, D. & Wiessner, C. (2008). Exploring Engaged Learning as a Tool for Evaluating Web Conferencing. In C. Bonk, M. Lee & T. Reynolds (Eds.), Proceedings of E-Learn 2008–World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 283-291). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved June 29, 2020 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/29619.

3. How best practices engage learners in a web conferencing session and are arranged into introducing and orienting; informing; active learning and feedback; humanizing the environment; closing and follow-up.

Badia, Giovanna, and April Colosimo. “Best Practices for Engaging Users in a Web Conferencing Environment.” Association for Engineering Education – Engineering Library Division Papers. Atlanta: American Society for Engineering Education-ASEE, 2013. 23.243.1–23.243.14. Web.

4. How modeling expected behaviour during a web conferencing session contributes for an effective session.

Warren, A. (2014). Synchronous Web-Conferencing in Online Language Teacher Education. In M. Searson & M. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2014–Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 501-506). Jacksonville, Florida, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved June 29, 2020 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/130799.

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