Video Conferencing platforms at UIC and COM
The University and Technology Solutions provide a variety of collaboration platforms, and COM has additional options as well.
UIC made Zoom available to all faculty, staff and students in March 2020. The College of Medicine uses Zoom for hybrid or remote classes since that time. Many departments and College-level meetings are held on Zoom as well.
Compare features across UIC-wide video conferencing platforms
However, there are other options available within the College and within the University. In the event of a Zoom outage or some other reason, the rest of this article lists some recommended platforms for video conferencing. Note that it is most secure to use a platform where everyone participating is authenticated as a UIC person.
Zoom, WebEx, and MS Teams are all included in this Technology Solutions article. Slack is COM-specific, so it is not on that list.
COM purchased Slack for instant internal communication. Many units have Slack Workspaces and/or Channels, and each class of students also have class-specific channels. Since students and related staff (OCA, OSA, etc.) are all familiar with Slack, using Slack "huddles" for video communication is an option.
COM website about Slack, including a link to access.
Note that this will not work for any classes with more than 50 people joining at once. And, there is not a way to add guests to these Huddles. Any COM person can be added to a Slack Workspace, then join a channel and/or be invited to Huddle at that point. There are multiple Workspaces within COM, and all Huddle participants have to be in the same Slack Workspace.
WebEx (including WebEx Teams and WebEx Meetings) has been in place at UIC prior to Zoom or Slack. The layout and functionality are the closest option to Zoom, including the ability to record meetings. All staff and faculty are eligible for WebEx accounts. The account is deactivated if it is not used for 12 months, but it can be reactivated. Students cannot create accounts by default, but WebEx like Zoom allows for Guests to join. People can join from their browser if the local app is not installed, but more functionality may be available from the mobile or desktop apps.
Microsoft Teams is available as part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite. It has instant message capabilities and Teams that function similarly to Slack Workspaces and Slack Channels in addition to integration with other Microsoft products, allowing for filesharing. The video conferencing features available at UIC as of Nov 2022 do not allow for integrated meeting recording or phone dial-in for audio participation. People can join from their browser if the local app is not installed, but more functionality may be available from the mobile or desktop apps.