Zoom web conferencing is now available to all UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff and students. The University has licensed educational pro accounts, enabling users to host online meetings with up to 100 participants. Anyone with an active Onyen can create a Zoom account at zoom.unc.edu. Onyen login is not required to participate in Zoom meetings.
Zoom is easy to use, has cross-platform support, and is suitable for supporting a wide range of online meetings, said Suzanne Cadwell, Director of ITS Teaching & Learning. She also was executive sponsor and project manager for bringing Zoom to campus.
The University selected Zoom as its web conferencing system after Teaching & Learning supported a successful pilot with the Graduate School’s Professional Science Master’s Program.
ITS and campus IT units then worked together to consolidate federated use of Zoom. Kathy Anderson and Lew Binkowski of the Gillings School of Global Public Health worked with other ITEC members to develop the UNC-Chapel Hill Campus Zoom Partnership.
More than a dozen campus units were using individually licensed Zoom accounts before the campus began offering the consolidated Zoom program in August. Some 1,100 campus members were using Zoom through those individual licenses.
Zoom available through one group agreement
The Zoom Partnership brought together these disparate Zoom licenses under a single umbrella. The ITS team worked to negotiate a very favorable agreement. Anderson, who is Associate Dean for IT and Planning, helped organize colleagues across campus. These collaborators produced a consolidated list of licensing needs and developed a cost-allocation model that enabled the University to afford a more comprehensive license.
Campus units that join the Partnership are eligible to purchase additional Zoom features, including webinars supporting up to 500 users and software to support video conferencing rooms. HIPAA-compliant configuration for sub accounts is also available at no extra charge. Information about joining the Partnership and enhancements available for purchase are available on the Zoom Partnership page.
“The partnership is flexible, with basic features available at no cost (thank you, ITS!) and advanced features, such as webinar tokens, available by chargeback to those who want them,” Anderson said.
“The biggest benefit of the Zoom Partnership,” she said, is that we’ve delivered a consistent, reliable and flexible remote conferencing experience for students, faculty and staff and their collaborators around the world.”
“I’m proud of the work of dozens of individuals across ITS and campus IT groups who immediately saw the value of an enterprise solution and pitched in to make it happen in a few months, and grateful to Suzanne and the rest of the ITS team who led the effort so ably,” Anderson said. “I’d also like to give a special shout-out to Lew, who led the development of the cost-allocation model and helped work out many of the technical details. I think it’s a great model for delivering important enterprise systems through collaboration and cost sharing.”
Campus units find diverse uses for Zoom
Gillings School of Global Public Health, for one, appreciates Zoom for public health training webinars, classes with online guest speakers and/or students, and for worldwide research collaborations.
“With so many people on the go, I really can’t overstate the value of enabling any individual to get a high-quality connection to any class or meeting from any device, either with or without video, all using an intuitive tool,” Anderson said.
The Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, meanwhile, has enthusiastically embraced the use of Zoom for the online delivery of professional oncology lectures.
This “stellar web conferencing tool,” said Tim Poe, Director of Telehealth at Lineberger’s UNC Cancer Network, enables Lineberger “to connect individuals (Zoom Webinar) and groups (via standards-based video conferencing) seamlessly, delivering reliable, quality video, along with excellent participation metrics.”
Zoom satisfies collaboration needs
Zoom, Poe said, will “pave the way for phenomenal online collaboration combined with the significant cost savings that can be achieved via a site license.”
Heidi Harkins, Associate Chair for Departmental Initiatives, Applied Physical Sciences, also is enthusiastic about the new Zoom Partnership. Harkins participated in the Zoom pilot as part of The Graduate School. Her department used Zoom to host webinars for prospective students about its Professional Science Master’s programs, to screen candidates for job postings, and to collaborate with adjunct faculty who are not often on campus.
It’s important, she said, “to have a reliable, uniform platform for both courses and professional meetings.”
“There are many campus opportunities that require virtual meetings with external stakeholders,” Harkins added. “Zoom satisfies our need to collaborate virtually and visually.”
Zoom replaces Blackboard Collaborate, which had been integrated with Sakai@UNC since 2009.
The Zoom Support Center offers a rich array of knowledgebase resources, from one-minute video tutorials to live, instructor-led training videos. Learn more about using Zoom at UNC-Chapel Hill at zoom.unc.edu.