Microsoft Teams v Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton)
If you are looking for a tool to run a live online class at QUB then chances are you are choosing between Microsoft (MS) Teams and the BigBlueButton (BBB) integration available in Canvas Conferences. Below are the key facts that will inform your decision.
For the most part, MS Teams and Canvas Conferences (BBB) are very similar in the features that they offer to facilitate your online class. Both enable you to speak to and see your students in live time through streaming and webcams. Both have chat functions and the ability to see and mute participants if necessary. Both enable students to raise their hands and to un-mute themselves to ask a question. Each solution enables you to record the session for those who could not attend
Note: Canvas Conferences (BBB) recordings are currently available for only 14 days after recording).
For all the similarities, there are also some key differences that could lead you to consider one option over the other.
Reasons You Might Choose Canvas Conferences (BBB)
As a pure presentation tool to deliver and administer an online class Canvas Conferences (BBB) offers more features. There is an interactive whiteboard, polling during the class, a simple breakout room feature and the ability to upload a presentation then annotate it.
Not all of these features are available in MS Teams and in addition, you are unable to see the chat or the participant list when you are sharing your screen in MS Teams. This is a big drawback if you intend to present and ask for questions / discussion via the chat function. This can be done in Canvas Conferences (BBB) by uploading the presentation and presenting it through the inbuilt whiteboard. MS Teams does not currently enable you to present in this way. (You can share your screen and monitor the chat on a second screen or device but this is more technically challenging).
Reasons You Might Use MS Teams
The main advantage of using MS Teams as an online presentation tool is that the MS Teams recording is permanent, whereas in Canvas Conferences (BBB) the recording is deleted after 14 days. One other advantage is that it is easier to invite guest participants from outside QUB into an MS Teams meeting whereas they would have to be added into a Canvas course to do this in Canvas Conferences (BBB).
In summary, if you intend to present slides to students who are already enrolled in Canvas, have discussion through chat in a live online environment and you do not need a long term recording, then Canvas Conferences (BBB) is the tool for you.
If however you have multiple guest presenters, need a permanent recording of the session and don’t need to see chat on the same screen on which you are presenting, then MS Teams is suited to your needs.