The College now has access to software that makes running a webinar or remote meeting super simple. You can:
- Hold your class online
- Invite a remote guest
- Conduct remote office hours
- Facilitate student teams collaborating remotely
- and more …
Google Hangouts Meet
Google Hangouts Meet is the recommended solution. It is the easiest solution to use and it is very reliable.
In contrast with Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton), Google Hangouts meet offers:
- A more reliable experience
- Google Calendar integration
- Mobile Apps for connecting
- Live Automatic Closed Captioning
- Audio Conferencing only solution
- Superior Video Recordings (BigBlueButton recordings expire after 2 weeks)
Tips for Google Hangouts Meet
- Do a low stakes dry run. Run a single meeting with a student using hangouts, or try running a session with a colleague. Get some experience with the tool before you try to run a webinar.
- Make sure you use either Google Chrome (preferred) or Firefox. Instruct your students to use Google Chrome.
- Avoid using the built in microphone on your laptop and your laptop speakers. This can create a rather annoying feedback loop. Instead, either use a usb headset (A good one can be bought cheaply) or use the earbuds that came with your smart phone. Your smart phone’s earbuds include a microphone. In a pinch, you can use regular headphones with a laptop and rely on the laptop’s built in Mic.
- Install the mobile app on your phone. If you don’t need to share your screen, then the mobile app is quick and easy.
- Consider using a phone to call in for the audio (Google Meet provides a call in number), if you do, try to use earbuds to keep your handsfree. Encourage your students to call in as well.
- Are you using the integration with Google Calendar? You should be! Create a meeting in google calendar and then choose “Add Conferencing” and choose Google Meet. It couldn’t be easier.
- Did you know you can use Google Meet as a conference call without any video at all!
- Anyone can share their screen in Google Meet. So you can show a slide show, but a student can also share their work.
- If you are presenting to the whole class, encourage your students to mute their microphone when not speaking to avoid background noise.
- Provide your students with a way of contacting you if the technology fails… Should they email you? Call your phone number? It is important to have a backup communication strategy so you can sort out your tech issues.
- You can pair Google Hangout Meet with Google Calendar to manage remote office hours! This allows you to set aside blocks of times for meetings with students, but only need to be there if someone signs up.
- Consider the lighting in the room. Try to make sure that the lights are in front of you, aimed at your face (a desk lamp works well). Try to avoid sitting in front of a window.
Alternatives to Google Hangout Meet
Big Blue Button
Big Blue Button is the built-in webinar software in Canvas. It provides the instructor with more control than Google Hangouts Meet. It is also integrated into Canvas (Where Google Meet is integrated in Google Calendar).
In Canvas, you should create a new conference.
BigBlueButton allows the following features that Google Hangouts Meet does not support:
- Placing students to groups (breakout rooms)
- Integrated polls
- Having a shared whiteboard
Zoom is a popular and robust platform. The college only has a limited number of licenses, so you may need to use the free version of Zoom. The free version of Zoom is limited to 40 minutes. If you can limit your webinars / meetings to 40 minutes than Zoom is a great solution.
We recommend using your Champlain Google Account to sign into Zoom. It will make for a smoother experience.