Several educational institutions have adopted smart teaching and learning solutions by employing various innovations and technologies in their day-to-day processes.
The number of institutions adopting smart solutions has perhaps increased at an unprecedented rate after the outbreak of COVID-19 and resulting shutting down of schools and universities across the world to curb the spread of the disease. Smart education has become a new normal now.
With more and more taking to remote education, colleges and universities are now increasingly using video to enhance the teaching and learning experience and engagement of students participating remotely. However, video conferencing for education isn’t just restricted to teaching and learning; it also acts as a great admin tool for the institutions. For instance, circulating administrative updates, conducting training sessions for teaching and non-teaching staffs, and holding an interactive parent-teacher meeting are some of the benefits of the video conferencing solutions for the educational institutions.
In this post, we bring you some of the most popular and common video conferencing solutions for universities and other educational institutions which are absolutely free.
Free university video conferencing solutions:
Office 365 Education allows universities or educational institutions to build collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and connect with colleagues with the power of OneDrive, Teams, Skype, and more and all from a single experience. Microsoft Teams allows institutions to collaborate in real-time through messaging, content sharing, and video conferencing among educators and students.
Office 365 Education can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Students and educators at eligible institutions can sign up for Office 365 suite of powerful tools, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams, Access, plus additional classroom tools, for free.
G Suite for Education is a powerful suite of tools designed to empower educators and students in the teaching and learning process. It offers powerful collaboration and communication tools that help educators, students and administrators be more successful in their day-to-day operations. Google Meet for online learning enables teachers to connect with students virtually through secure video calls and messaging to keep learning going outside of school or college. The premium video-conferencing app, previously known as Google Hangouts Meet, is now free and available for all.
Emerged as one of the most popular platforms recently, Zoom offers high-quality solutions for educational institutions, companies, and other organizations to have online classes, conduct meetings, host conferences and events, webinars, and training sessions, etc. For educational institutions, Zoom expands traditional classrooms in the cloud. It helps universities and schools improve student outcomes with secure video communication services for hybrid classrooms, office hours, administrative meetings, and more. Zoom’s enterprise video conferencing offers users with real-time messaging and content sharing options. Built for modern teams, it allows users to bring HD video and audio to the meetings with support for up to 1000 video participants and 49 videos on screen.
Cisco Webex is a leading enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, and event hosting, etc. It allows institutions or organizations to host online meetings with HD video, audio and screen sharing; keep teams connected through messaging, file sharing, whiteboarding and calling; host interactive webinars or large-scale virtual events; deliver impactful virtual trainings, and more. Webex is available for free. Users can use it as long as they like. Webex Team’s collaboration tools and devices simplify scheduling, enable seamless connectivity and make it easy to present and share content. It allows users to host productive virtual meetings whether on the desktop or on a mobile device.
Zoho Meeting is a secure web conferencing solution for online meetings and webinars. It allows users to conduct online meetings from anywhere with real-time audio, video, messaging, remote control, and screen sharing. Zoho Meeting allows host to record the meetings, store, replay, and share the recordings with others who could not make it to the meeting. It also gives comprehensive reports on webinar registrations, attendees, engagement, polls, and Q&As.
Besides the above, universities can also use applications like Blackboard Collaborate, BigBlueButton, Adobe Connect, AnyMeeting, GoToMeeting, etc. to build collaborative classrooms, conduct formal online meetings, trainings, conferences, webinars, seminars, and events etc. From document upload to sharing content, screen, slides and web co-browsing, these applications also offer a host of powerful functionalities to power online teaching and video conferencing needs. While most of these tools are not for free, some of them are currently offering free of cost during these difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic, and others for first few months of use.
While all the above video conferencing applications offer unique solutions and services, the most popular free tools in this regard are Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Being offered by global tech giants, both of these applications are easy to use and offer a variety of features to institutions and organizations to conduct classes, host meeting, organize conferences or events, collaborate, and communicate in real time. However, if you are looking for some other alternatives, you can consider other tools as given above.