How should I choose a conferencing method?

Mary Baldwin generally uses two tools for conducting meetings and classes by computer: Google Hangout/Video Call, which is part of our Google Apps suite and Blackboard Collaborate. Each tool has some strengths and weak points, so picking the right one for your job is important.

Google Hangout Blackboard Collaborate
What can you share with others? Audio, video, computer desktop, Google Drive files, chat Audio, video, computer desktop, chat
Who can join a meeting? Must have a gmail address. Anyone, they just need to click on the URL or join the session from their Blackboard course.
How many people can participate in a session? Up to 9 plus moderator with 2-way audio and video Participants can listen and see but need to ‘take turns’ to speak. There is ‘raise hand’ functionality which can be used by a participant to signal that they wish to speak. Up to 5 users can talk simultaneously.
How many people can join a meeting if they only receive audio and video from the moderator?  up to 9 Up to 100.
 Can people join the meeting by phone only? Yes, but you must call their USA landline or mobile phone number–they can’t call in to join.  Yes.
 Is there a breakout rooms feature?  No.  Yes.
 Is there a polling feature?  No.  Yes.
Can I set up a meeting with someone who uses a traditional telepresence system like Tandberg/Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, etc? (These systems use the H.323 protocol.)  No.  No.
 How do I arrange for a “meeting room”  for my conference? There is no administrator and no limit to the number of rooms available. For a detailed discussion of features and setup, see these instructions. Each Blackboard classroom has Collaborate meeting rooms. To request up a meeting outside Blackboard, contact OIT. For a full discussion of the features and setup, see these instructions.
 What does the person on the other end need to do? Have a gmail account. Click on the invitation to join the conference. Click on the link provided.