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Recommended web conferencing tools from OIT

The following message was sent to the university community on April 4, 2020.

Members of the Rutgers Community:

As we continue our spring semester with remote learning and virtual meetings and collaboration, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) wants to share important information about the web conferencing tools supported by the university. We strongly recommend the use of these tools to ensure the privacy and security of our students, faculty, and staff. We also want to ensure that the Rutgers community is aware of the best practices for security when using the recommended web conferencing tools.

Webex and Microsoft Teams 
For web conferencing, OIT currently has agreements with Webex and Microsoft Teams. These products are available for free to all faculty, staff, and students at Rutgers.

If you are interested in activating a Webex account, you can view the Quick Start guide for Webex and sign up for an account. The Best Practices for Secure Webex meetings webpage also offers important security tips for users.

Microsoft Teams is pre-activated for all of Rutgers as part of the Office 365 suite of services. You can view a variety of resources about Microsoft Teams, including details on videoconferencing, group chat, and other collaboration features.

Please note Microsoft Teams is HIPAA compliant and can be used with protected health information (PHI) data, but Webex is not. With that said, Microsoft Teams does have the ability to record, and no recordings containing PHI should be downloaded outside of the secured environment. Clinicians should use approved IT resources implemented within their respective units.

Learning Management System (LMS) remote instructional tools
For faculty members, the remote instructional and related tools available in the university’s learning management systems are often the preferred methods for delivering lectures or hosting virtual gatherings.

BlackboardCanvas, and Sakai all offer Kaltura for video recording and streaming services. For live remote instruction, Blackboard offers Collaborate and Canvas and Sakai offer BigBlueButton.

The Technology Tools for Faculty resource at the university’s COVID-19 website features additional information on recording videos and hosting webinars in Blackboard, Canvas, and Sakai.

Security issues with non-licensed web conferencing tools like Zoom

The Office of Information Technology does not have an agreement with Zoom, and we do not support its use. A number of concerns have been raised recently regarding Zoom, including “Zoombombing”—the trend of uninvited guests disrupting web conferencing sessions—and other security issues.

To avoid security issues and vulnerabilities, we highly recommend that all faculty, staff, and students at Rutgers use one of the web conferencing tools supported by the Office of Information Technology. We also strongly encourage that you review the security resources listed above.

If you have any questions about the recommended web conferencing tools, please contact your department or unit’s IT staff or reach out to your local Office of Information Technology Help Desk.

Thank you,
Michele Norin
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

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