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Community Contributor

What conference tool(s) are you successfully using in Canvas other than BigBlueButton?

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We are looking at using at least one other conferencing tool than BigBlueButton (BBB) and are wondering what other's experiences with various tools has been.  We love the subscription service that BBB has provided as a contracted provider, and it works great so long as you are outside the college and the medical center, but due to firewall issues (we are inside a medical center firewall) we aren't able to resolve access issues. 

There are so many products out there but what works reliably and (ideally) works within Canvas?

We've identified that really there are more than one kind of conferencing need. One product might cover several types of need.  But whenever possible if we can find free, low cost or individual subscriptions that is best.  I've put in (  ) what I tools we are considering so far.

  • A tool that allows quick access the student's computer to help them with an issue. No audio or video needed - they are usually on the phone. (join Me?) (Something that could be a link on the College website for students to access quickly when needed?)
  • A tool that works well for student services to see and talk to the student - no recording, no doc sharing (Skype? How confidential is this?)
  • A tool for faculty or tutors to present, discuss, desktop share and document share with students at a single or multiple locations (individuals and small groups) (WebEx)
  • A tool for small groups to collaborate: present, discuss, document share and share desk top with other small groups.?  (WebEx)
  • A service or tool for capturing a live or recorded classroom with live distance student participation possible. (Probably a fixed room with special AV - but if anyone has mobile suggestions that would be great!

Has anyone else found a product that seems to rarely have firewall issues?  I'd be especially glad to hear from others inside HIPAA level firewalls, such as other Health Sciences Colleges!  We've have experimented with WebEx and that seems to be good.

Have any of used Spark?

I don't have a lot of faculty doing any of these, maybe 5 or 6 at each level so individual licenses seem best.

Does any one else do a mix of methods like this?  If so what works for you?

Thank you for your input!

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41 Replies
Community Contributor

I should add also that I know understand that the real issue with our firewall that makes this so difficult for web conferences.  Our IT department in the Medical Center must have specific range of identified IP addresses.  If these change they need advance notice.  Apparently many providers frequently change IP addresses and this is why our previous providers haven't been reliably available through the firewall.  Now that I know this, that is the primary sorting factor I use to determine who we can consider!

For what it is worth; I asked a colleague more familiar with our current webinar process what he liked specifically about Adobe Connect:

  • persistent urls and layouts - great for scheduling
  • great functionality (polling, breakout rooms, 3rd party apps)
  • no limit to storage space, ability to edit recordings
  • really nice event manager plugin tool - campaign around events, good data/analytics
  • Just opinion but it looks more professional
Community Coach
Community Coach

At NMSU we are using a concurrent license version of AdobeConnect that is integrated with Canvas.  Our faculty seem very happy with it at the moment.  The only caveat is the naming convention that has to be used due to the way Connect is integrated with Canvas.  Other than that it is easy to use from an instructor point of view.


@James Kocher I brought up this idea with our IT folks and they would like to know more about using a VPN setup for a conference tool.  Would you have time or be willing to visit with someone at some point in time?  Please reply to my email:  Thank You! (I didn't see a way to reply privately. If someone knows how to do that - for future reference, let me know! Thanks!)

Hi Cindy,

If you are following James and he is following you, you can send direct messages from your inbox.

Community Participant

Often, Scott, we see these abusive actions taken "for the people". Just try to deal with the power, okay?

 @Cindy_Masek ​

Unfortunately, I'm not a network guy, so I don't know HOW it was behind the VPN, only that it was!  Sorry!


 @pkreemer ​, I did it for the people...  I'm all about the people - but you knew that already...

Community Contributor


Community Contributor

We use a hosted version of Adobe Connect that is NOT integrated with Canvas. We put the Adobe Connect links in our Canvas courses and then folks have to login again. Many of our students attend Adobe Connect sessions for their hospital offices and have no issues accessing it. We don't use VPN in conjunction with Adobe Connect. While I am not a HIPPAA expert, I know that our colleagues at the Geisel School of Medicine use Adobe Connect to discuss patient cases as part of the medical students training.

We occasionally look at other web conferencing platforms and thus far have remained with Adobe Connect for all the reasons  @scottdennis ​ stated. While no tool is perfect, it is still the best video conferencing platform for our blended learning program.