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 discussions
  • Short lectures
  • Student presentations
  • Office hours
  • Group work
  • Recorded lectures

  • Course discussions
  • Student presentations
  • Office hours
  • Group work
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Course discussions
  • Short lectures
  • Student presentations
  • Office hours
  • Group work
  • Recorded lectures
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Interactive activities
Audience Size <150 (depends on many variables i.e., version, internet capacity, etc.) Up to 250 Up to 300 (Create a support request at the TLS Support Portal.)
Internal/External Audiences Either. External server requires manual setup.

Internal only


Support and Training Full support by TLS:

Create a support request at the TLS Support Portal.

Training workshops available

Minimal support by ITS:

Teams Support Page

Full support by TLS:

Create a support request at the TLS Support Portal.

Training workshops available

Integrated in LMS Yes Yes Yes
Secure Yes Yes Yes, when following security recommendations
Accessibility Has some accessibility features. Live captioning available. Screen readers supported. Live captioning available. Screen readers supported. Automatic transcripts. Live captioning available. Automatic transcripts. Keyboard accessibility. Multi-spotlight and multi-pinning.
Screen Share Yes, but difficult to manage and there is a time delay. Yes Yes
Recording Yes Yes Yes. Recommend saving locally and upload to Kaltura
Supports Slides Yes, files and slides are loaded Yes, through screen sharing Yes, through screen sharing
Polling Yes Yes, but must use chat feature Yes
Break Out Rooms Yes, but clunky No Robust

Best Practices and Protocols

Meeting Preparation

Computer Setup 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. Headset or earbuds with a built in microphone recommended for spaces with background noise and to improve overall audio clarity.
  • 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

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 Brightspace course using the Existing Activities > External Learning Tools within a module).
  • Send a reminder to participants that details how they will join it and what they will need (e.g. headphones, mic, camera).
  • If applicable, confirm that the meeting is in the Calendar tool within your Brightspace course. Recommended to send a reminder using the announcements tool to communicate to students a reminder of the meeting. Make a quicklink to module where meeting details are found.


  • If you plan on recording the meeting, let participants know in advance. You may add this information to the description of the meeting within Brightspace.
  • TIP: 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. Upload recordings of your synchronous sessions to MediaSpace and embed the recordings in Brightspace.

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

Accessibility is a key strategic goal at Carleton. Removing barriers to education and designing for equitable access is essential to inclusive teaching and learning. Here are some tips and resources to help you design accessibility into your course:

  • Review your responsibility to accommodate students with disabilities. (See Carleton’s Accommodation Policy and visit the Paul Menton Centre support page for faculty and instructors for guidance).
  • Caption any web conferencing recordings by uploading the videos to Kaltura Mediaspace. Uploading recordings to Kaltura Mediaspace creates automatic captions for all video content. If you cannot caption or if you have students with weak internet, download a transcript and post the transcript to the course page as an alternative mode of learning.
  • Post notes, slides and other materials for students who require material in different formats.
  • Allow enough time in your web conferencing sessions to get a response from students. Students need time to process and think through your questions. Silence in web conferencing feels extra long, but allow the silence to settle long enough that students can craft their responses.
  • Allow students to decide when to turn on/off their cameras. Sharing webcams is a high-bandwidth activity and many students have slow internet access. For some students, sharing a web cam interferes with their ability to focus on the session and can cause anxiety.

For more tips on creating an accessible classroom, visit Accessibility Resources for Instructors.


Joining the meeting early

  • Join at least 15 minutes before the session is planned to begin.
  • Test audio and video and upload/open any teaching materials you will be sharing.
  • If you plan to record the session, post a slide indicating that you plan to do so.

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
  • TIP: If you have enabled a waiting room (Zoom only), consider disabling the waiting room when the meeting begins to avoid having to keep clicking to let participants in a meeting.


  • Keep presentation of content to a minimum. Lecture content should be filmed in advance and posted to Brightspace. Use the synchronous meeting time for active discussions.
  • 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. Repeating key sentences/phrases may be effective to capture all audience members.

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.
  • Set your TA (or another user) up as a co-host to allow them to help moderate the session.

Ending/Following Up a Meeting

Wrapping up 

  • Use the last few minutes to conclude the discussion. Review key learning objectives/expectations.
  • Bridge to the next meeting topic and review the expectations between each meeting (if applicable) e.g. “Complete handout 1 before the next Group discussion meeting on Thursday.”
  • TIP: Consider using an asynchronous approach to wrap up the meeting – ask students to complete a feedback poll or submit a short reflection via Brightspace.

Following up

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

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:

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

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

5. Can Zoom Hosts See Private Messages? Here’s What To Know About Chatting

6. Northwestern University Guidelines for Recording Synchronous Remote Content 

Contact and Hours of Operation

Please note, support is currently being offered online only until further notice.

Main Office Location: 410 Dunton Tower
Fall 2021 Hours: 8 a.m. –  4:30 p.m.,  Monday – Friday
Phone: 613-520-2344
Email: TLS Support Portal