Web Conferencing Solutions

Web conferencing is available at GVSU using a variety of enterprise applications. They can all be used as a sustainable alternative to commuting between Grand Valley's campuses or connecting with colleagues remotely from around the world.

Faculty, staff and students have access to a wide array of GVSU enterprise web conferencing applications to support online meetings, to conduct live classes or virtual office hours, or to host remote events.

Collaborate Ultra

Recommended for courses and online office hours, and designed specifically for education with student security and privacy in mind, Blackboard Collaborate is a real-time video conferencing tool that allows you to meet virtually, add lecture materials and files ahead of class, share applications, collaborate on a whiteboard, poll attendees, and group participants into breakout rooms. 

The maximum number of attendees supported for a live event is 500. Online cloud recording storage is unlimited. Links generated to a Collaborate session do not change over the semester and are embedded into a course site, ensuring a seamless and consistent experience.

Additionally, individual Collaborate rooms are available to students using the groups tool in Blackboard.  Students are able to record their meetings or a project - all within Blackboard for faculty review or grading.  Faculty may make the project links available to the full class.

There are no software downloads, installs, or user accounts to be created as Collaborate is built-in to Blackboard. Without the need to share meeting URLs or links, Collaborate is available for students, staff, and faculty within 3 clicks (from the control panel, click "Tools", click "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra", click a session) from any Blackboard course site to start a session.

GVSU Zoom - Business License

Recommended for meetings, GVSU has entered into a one year contract with Zoom to provide a Business license for all staff and current term enrolled students.  (GVSU IT will be evaluating videoconferencing solutions over the next year to determine the best solution going forward.)

Zoom can be used to meet virtually, share applications, interact on a whiteboard, require a waiting room, view 49 participants in a grid view, and place attendees into breakout rooms. In addition, users can set a virtual video background.  Zoom can facilitate meetings for up to 300 participants, there is a 24 hour limit on group meetings, and a maximum of 18 TB of university cloud storage. An email alert will be sent to the account owner when storage goes over 79%.

Please see the Zoom Security settings page to help prevent zoom bombers and gate-crashing.

Outlook and Blackboard integration has been enabled, supporting the ability to schedule meetings and the ability to insert links to Zoom sessions into courses. To download and install the Zoom client, please see the Zoom Setup Guide for Macintosh and Windows.

Google Meet

Google Meet is available with GVSU's G Suite license. Providing seamless integration with other Google Apps. Meet can be used to make video calls, for meetings, and sharing your screen.

Feature Comparison

The following table has been provided for comparison and recommendation purposes to help guide you in determining the right solution for your web conferencing needs.

Web conferencing applications have a very similar set of tools and features, and as such, all have the capability of being used in a variety of circumstances, use cases, and purposes. 

Use Case / Capability

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Google Meet

Zoom - Business License

Department Meetings


Large Group Online Meetings

(Up to 500)

(Up to 250 through 9/30/2020)

(Up to 300)

Small Group Online Meetings

Microsoft Outlook Integration


Live Class Sessions


Online Student Office Hours


Student Groups

(access links in student group pages)

(students can create their own sessions)

Blackboard Integration




Software Installation Preferred


Session Breakout Rooms


Live Captioning Option

Audio / Video / Content and Screen Sharing / Chat

"Always On" Session with No End Date


Max Grid View

4 Participants

16 Participants

49 Participants

Online Session Recording - Cloud Storage

(Unlimited Storage)

(Free through 9/30/2020)

(18 TB Max GVSU Storage)

Telephone Dial In Service


Virtual Video Background


Waiting Room


Attendance Report


Potential Gate-Crashing Risk (Unauthorized Users accessing Session)

(Use Built-in Links to Collaborate sessions in Blackboard)


(Use Recommended Security Settings)


eLearning - Collaborate Ultra Tutorials and Webinars 

Blackboard Client Support
(877) 382-2293

Google Meet Tutorials

Zoom - Business License Tutorials 

Live and Video Captioning Notice

Important Notice:  All live web conferencing events and streams that are meant for viewing by a broad public audience must conform to the University's Web Accessibility Policy and the WCAG 2.0 Level AA Technologies Accessibility Standards. These policies and standards ensure that users who cannot hear are able to access real-time synchronized media broadcasts. If the streamed video is restricted to an internal audience (behind a login, only streamed to another University Campus location) the use of closed captioning is encouraged if practical, but it’s not required so long as accommodations aren’t needed by that audience. For additional information and links to related resources visit our Closed Captioning page.