Video and Audio Conferencing Options

Video-conferencing tools provide options for faculty to deliver presentations and lectures, to communicate and provide demonstrations via screen-sharing, and to hold real-time meetings with an entire class, with small groups, or individual students. A video conference meeting can also be recorded and shared with those unable to attend live. Such tools can enhance traditional in-person instruction, but may also enrich and add a dimension to a hybrid or fully online class. Students can also use these tools to collaborate in small groups.

Consider an audio conference option as it requires a lower-bandwidth connection. FreeConferenceCall is a no-cost tool that is easy to sign up for and use. Please note that this tool is not institutionally supported but anyone can use it.

Please be mindful that not all students have home computers or may have limited wi-fi and data plans, and some might need additional accommodations.

Some of the options for video-conferencing, along with highlighted features, include:

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a real-time video conferencing tool that is available in Blackboard. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions open right in your browser, so you don't have to install any software to join a session.

  • Unlimited meeting time
  • Number of participants: 250
  • Share files, applications and use of a virtual whiteboard
  • Breakout rooms are available for small group work
  • Chat and polling features are available
  • Sessions can be recorded
  • Can bring in a guest speaker using a Guest Link feature.

We recommend that you try this option first before exploring any other options.

Microsoft Office Teams is available through CUNY Microsoft Office 365 for Education and is available to all faculty and their students. Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines chat, video meetings, file storage, and app integration. See these guides to learn more about Teams.

  • Create a team for your class
  • Conduct live video meeting (Must use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge)
  • Share files, applications, and use of a virtual whiteboard
  • Chat live with an individual student or group of students

Note: Microsoft Skype for Business online is retiring on July 21, 2021. Microsoft recommends Microsoft Office 365 Teams as its replacement for Skype for Business Online.

Zoom uses video conferencing and screen-sharing to provide easy to use interactive communication. You can also record sessions for later viewing. One can use Zoom for real time class sessions, for office hours, or to bring in a virtual guest speaker.

A new CUNY Zoom enterprise license has been implemented for Lehman faculty and staff. This can be accessed by Logging-in to Zoom with your CUNYfirst username and password at Select Sign in and you will be directed to the familiar CUNY page to enter your CUNY credentials.

  • Unlimited meeting duration
  • Up to 300 participants per meeting
  • No-cost VOIP and international toll numbers
  • Polls, waiting rooms, break-out rooms and screen sharing
  • Share files, applications and use of a virtual whiteboard
  • Breakout rooms are available for small group work
  • Live-Captioning which automatically provides transcription during the meeting
  • Chat and polling features are available
  • Meetings can be recorded. Step-by-step instructions are forthcoming.
  • Once you schedule a meeting in Zoom, you need to share the URL with students or users by posting the link in Blackboard or emailing it.
  • Easy to learn to use and students seldom have difficulty connecting

Additional Support

Use this Comparison Chart to compare faculty tools for Recording, Editing, and Conferencing.

If you have informational or technical questions about one or more of these tools, please contact Ron Bergmann or Edi Ruiz in the Division of Information Technology.

If you want to learn more about best practices for using audio or video conferencing, contact the Office of Online Education to arrange a consultation.