Web Conferencing Tools

person on laptop on uaa campus


Web conferencing technologies are used for online synchronous meetings. Real-time meetings with your class online can be a great way to engage students. Online office hours or one-on-one meetings can provide students needed support. Students are more likely to succeed in online courses where they have opportunities to build relationships with their instructor and classmates. It is important to know your students before requiring participation in online sessions; some students may not have the hardware or adequate bandwidth. 

Best Practices

  • Focus on interaction, not lecturing - research shows that students need to do something at least every 10 minutes
  • Use pre-work or video lectures to prep students
  • Use small group activities - breakout rooms are a great way to encourage student interaction
  • Create ground rules on how to use chat in your virtual classroom
  • Give students time to think/write before responding 
  • Record sessions so students can watch after

Web Conferencing Tools

At UAA, the primary web conferencing teaching tool is Zoom. Zoom is a popular tool for online meetings of all kinds. As part of our Google and Microsoft productivity tools, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams provide additional options. The web conferencing sheet on AI&e's Tools Comparison chart can help you decide which tool best fits your needs.


  • Getting Started

    The first step is to sign in to alaska.zoom.us with your UA credentials to claim and configure your Pro Zoom account.

    • Profile: Add a profile picture (video) and allow integration with Google Calendar (if you want to create Zoom sessions directly from your calendar)
    • Settings: Scroll down and carefully read through all the meeting and recording settings. Turn on the features you want to use such as polling, nonverbal feedback, breakout rooms, etc. (Be aware that these settings change as Zoom is updated.)
  • Zoom Meetings

    How to Schedule Zoom meetings

    There are multiple ways to schedule Zoom meetings at UAA. First, be sure you have claimed and configured your Pro Zoom account as described above.

    1. Blackboard - Tools, Zoom Meeting, Schedule a New Meeting (Recommended if using Zoom for a Blackboard course.)
    2. alaska.zoom.us - log in and choose Meetings, Schedule a New Meeting
    3. Google Calendar (if you have set up "Calendar and Contact Integration" in your Zoom profile) - Create event, and Add video conferencing or Make it a Zoom Meeting

    How to Join Zoom meetings

    1. You and your students will join from the link that you set up in Blackboard Learn (see below).
    2. If you scheduled a meeting at alaska.zoom.us, you should join from there so you will be the host.
    3. If you are a guest in a meeting, you can join from a link that has been provided via email or calendar invite.
    4. If you have the Zoom app installed on your phone or other mobile device, you can join using a Zoom Meeting ID which is the last part of the link (e.g. https://alaska.zoom.us/j/363932298 the Meeting ID is 363-932-298).
  • Zoom in Blackboard

    How to create a Zoom Session in Blackboard 

    In your Blackboard Learn course, click the student Tools menu and choose Zoom Meetings. Click Schedule a New Meeting and fill in the course name for the “Topic.” You have several options to consider:

    • Check the box to make it a recurring meeting and choose recurrence “No Fixed Time.” This creates a permanently available session for your course. (Recommended if using Zoom for a Blackboard course.)
    • Choose a specific day and time for your meeting.
    • Check the box to make it a recurring meeting and choose your desired recurrence (e.g. Weekly).

    Please note new security measures: All newly created meetings will include passcode details in the scheduling process and provide the URL with passcode embedded. 

    If you choose to record the meeting automatically to the cloud, Zoom recordings will automatically post in this area of your Blackboard course. If you are in a Zoom meeting which is being recorded, you can create a breakout room to meet with an individual student so that your private conversation is not part of the recording.

    How to add Zoom to your Blackboard course menu

    In Blackboard:

    1. Be sure Edit Mode is ON (top right corner)
    2. Click the + on the top left of the Course Menu
    3. Click Tool Link
    4. Name as desired (e.g. Join Online in Zoom)
    5. For Type, choose Zoom Meetings
    6. Be sure to check Available to Users and click Submit

    When it is time for a class meeting, click the link and then Start this Meeting.

    How to use Zoom for Office Hours

    • When creating a session for office hours, use "Enable waiting room" for privacy. It will notify you when a student is waiting to enter.
    • Recording office hours is not recommended. Do not discuss a student's record with any other students present.
    • You can host office hours in Zoom for all your students/courses at once if you include a note in all of your syllabi so students are informed in advance. Invite any students with concerns about the format to reach out to you directly to make other arrangements. 
  • Zoom Help

    Learn more about useful Zoom features

    Note: Zoom now has a live transcription service. In your Zoom Settings, check the box for "Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting." During a meeting, click Live Transcript and then choose enable auto-transcription.

    Please visit the UAA IT Services Zoom webpage for more helpful information or to contact them with questions.

  • Zoom Security


    Zoom recommends that all meetings have either a Passcode or Waiting Room enabled. 

    For best performance and security, download the latest Zoom version. UA provides authentication of faculty, staff and student Zoom accounts.  Please contact the UAA IT Technical Support Center with questions or to report security concerns. 

    What are potential Zoom Security Risks?

    • Zoom bombing: Zoom bombing is when someone not invited to the Zoom meeting joins the meeting often with malicious intent. The result is harassment of the class, frequently by sharing harmful audio and visual content such as hate speech, pornography, and/or violence.  
    • Hacking: Hacking occurs in Zoom when someone utilizes a Zoom meeting to gain unauthorized access to your computer with malicious intent, such as obtaining personal information like photos, personal identity information, account information, etc.

    Review your Settings for Meetings and Recordings at UA Zoom. These are default settings which will apply to all your meetings and recordings. Carefully read through all the settings and choose your desired settings. 

    When you create a meeting, you can choose some of these settings to apply to the specific meeting. When you host a meeting, you can adjust some settings during the meeting. Meeting hosts see a security button on the toolbar which makes it easy to change settings with one click. For example, hosts can lock the meeting or not allow participants to share their screen.

  • Zoom Connectivity


    Internet connectivity and bandwidth continue to be challenging for some faculty, staff, and students.  Below are some recommendations for improving your experience in Zoom.

    Zoom System Requirements: Zoom System Requirements

    • An internet connection - broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
    • Speakers and a microphone - built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
    • A webcam or HD webcam - built-in or USB plug-in

    Internet Connectivity: Internet Connectivity for Zoom 

    • Use a wired connection if possible with direct connection to your router
    • Restart your router
    • UA Virtual Campus Internet Options

    Improving Bandwidth for Zoom

    Bandwidth describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection. Some students may have lower bandwidth in their home and/or work settings causing challenges for participation in Zoom sessions. There are several things you and your students can do to reduce the demand on bandwidth and improve Zoom performance:  

    • Mute Audio when not speaking
    • Turn off Video 
    • Close any other programs, software, and downloads
    • Clear browser history and cache

Google Meet (formerly Hangouts)

You can start a Google Meet web meeting in a variety of ways, such as straight from Meet or from a Google Calendar event (click Add Conferencing). Consider posting a link to upcoming Meet sessions in an announcement in Blackboard for students. Google Meet has a live captioning option.

Microsoft Teams

You can use Teams to chat with your team via text, voice, or video. Attendees can share their screen and text chat within the meeting. Team meetings have a live captioning option. 


Note: "Microsoft Teams expands on the capabilities in Skype for Business Online by bringing together files, chats, and apps in an integrated app, with functionality that enables organizations to move faster and collaborate more efficiently. Because of the richer set of experiences offered in Teams, it replaces Skype for Business as the core communications client for Office 365." Microsoft

Faculty Development & Instructional Support 
Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, Academic Innovations & eLearning, and Center for Community Engaged Learning 
Library 213 • (907) 786-4496  uaa_ai@alaska.edu  Mon – Fri, 8a – 5p