As of December 2016, WCU’s GoToMeeting contract has come to an end. The following page contains information on how to migrate to one of WCU’s new conferencing solutions.
Changes in WCU Collaboration Tools
WCU has two new tools available which will make your online meetings and collaborations an even better experience: Skype for Business and Blackboard Collaborate. These tools will replace GoToMeeting when our contract expires at the end of this semester, December 16th, 2016. We’re excited about the features these tools can provide, and we think you will be too. There are a number of advantages that these two tools have in terms of features, stability, and integration into current university-wide systems like Blackboard and Outlook.
In addition to these new pieces of software, we’d like to remind users about the availability of the IT Video Services team. This team exists to help out users when they need to run events that are a bit more complex than what can be provided by these new tools. Below, we’ll look at some use cases that should make it easier to understand which tool is right for your needs.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business is a business focused tool available to WCU faculty, staff, and students through Office 365. It comes as part of the Office 2016 suite and integrates directly with Microsoft Outlook. The lightweight client and convenient integration with Outlook scheduling making it a convenient and powerful communications tool, support instant messaging, multi-point video conferencing, and robust content sharing. Skype for Business’s scheduling features are also available through WCU’s online email system.*
Blackboard Collaborate is a new online collaborative learning solution that provides a simple and reliable means to engage students in an online environment. Blackboard Collaborate is conveniently accessible from within Blackboard Learn courses. Some of the features of Collaborate are high definition audio and video, application sharing, and simple web conferencing with hand raising and polling capabilities, all designed with higher education in mind. It makes creating breakout rooms within your Blackboard course an easy option.
IT Video Services
IT Video Services has existed at WCU for many years. Originally focused on supporting our ITV teleconferencing center located at the Cordelia Camp building, this team has grown in the last few years to meet the increasing demand of video needs on campus. ITVS specializes in events that need the highest possible fidelity or require high complexity equipment setups. Services include live event support, video streaming, or multi-point video conferencing across platforms.
Which tool is right for me?
|Use Case||Skype for Business||Blackboard Collaborate||IT Video Services|
|Meetings with work colleagues|
|Academic meeting rooms|
|Classroom guest speaker|
|Student organized meetings|
How to get started
Skype for Business
- Windows – The easiest way to get Skype for Business is to upgrade to Office 2016 on your computer. Details on how to get this upgrade can be found here.
- Mac – The Mac OS version of Skype for Business is distributed as a stand-alone package. Details on how to access this package can be found here. Note: The Skype for Business Mac application requires MacOS 10.11 or higher to work. If you have any questions, please contact the IT Helpdesk at 828-227-7487.
- Blackboard Collaborate is delivered as a part of Blackboard. Please contact the Coulter Faculty Commons to learn more about how to get this tool setup in your course.
IT Video Services
- If you have a video need that you’re uncertain about or know that it’s going to require additional assistance to setup, please contact the IT Helpdesk by phone at 828-227-7487 or visit the Technology Commons and let them know that you need help with a video project. One of our technicians will be in touch as soon as possible to provide consultation and guide you to the right option.
Where to get help
If you have any technical support needs after getting access to these tools, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. Contact the IT Helpdesk via phone at 828-227-7487 or stop by our walk up counter at the Technology Commons, located on the bottom floor of Hunter Library. Over the next few months, we will be providing additional support articles & video resources to help users tackle common problems they find.
*Note: Skype for Business and Skype are different products. They are both owned by Microsoft and perform similarly, but they are not interchangeable. The following is intended only as guidance on how to use Skype for Business. If you have questions about the difference between these tools, please contact us for technical assistance via phone at the IT Helpdesk at 828-227-7487 or at the Technology Commons on the bottom floor of Hunter Library.