OIT introduces communication platform to University
Andrew Cameron | Friday, September 23, 2016
In January, the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) made Zoom freely available to all students, faculty and staff at Notre Dame. OIT product program manager Paul Drake said in an email the service is a “best-in-class video and audio conferencing service and the preferred tool for conferencing at Notre Dame.”
Zoom allows up to 50 people to meet and collaborate via voice or video communication, using any device from iOS, Android, Mac, PC or a landline. Drake said the service includes free, unlimited conferencing, ease-of-use and a multitude of advanced features that set it apart from services students may already be familiar with, such as Skype or FaceTime.
Drake said Zoom offers a virtual whiteboard, screen sharing, remote access, Google Calendar integration, in-meeting polling and the ability to record meetings to cloud storage, among other features. Unlike many other conferencing services, only the host needs an account, and all calls are secured by end-to-end encryption, according to the OIT website.
Drake said the service was launched at the University to encourage collaboration.
“It has become important that students have the ability to collaborate outside of physical classrooms,” he said. “Whether they are interviewing experts outside of Notre Dame for a research paper or working as a team on a project, students need a service that is reliable and provides the ability to connect.”
Already, Zoom is being used by the Office of Digital Learning to host online courses and Drake is confident that students will find many more ways to take advantage of the service’s many unique features and benefits.
“Students could hold a Zoom meeting with their study group members to avoid trudging across campus in the winter,” he said. “They also could confidently collaborate with our Global Gateway campuses, and connect with instructors, fellow scholars, family and friends around the world.”
According to Zoom’s website, over 300,000 companies are using Zoom already, and 94 percent of the companies’ IT organizations would recommend Zoom.
To access Zoom, students can visit zoom.nd.edu and follow the instructions on the page. Once students sign in, they will have a University-provided account and can download Zoom to their laptop, smartphone or tablet. The OIT Help Desk will be available to assist students with questions about how to set up and use the service.
“Virtual conferencing is becoming a significant part of how work happens,” Drake said. “This type of service is now and will continue to be a key part of the workplace.”