Webex Provides Campus Users with Videoconferencing Capabilities

Mar 12, 2020

Ideal for cross-campus or remote collaboration, Cisco Webex Meetings will serve as the preferred video conferencing solution for university users beginning spring 2020. All campus users have access to an enterprise-level Webex license via desktop download or web application in Okta, which offers enhanced conferencing features compared to other free or basic software. Users can also go to visit iastate.webex.com directly to access the software or even start meetings.

Webex video conferencing supports up to 1000 participants joining by desktop, mobile device, phone or video device (like conference room devices), for sessions that can last up to 24 hours each. In comparison, Zoom Basic video conferencing support 50 meeting participants joining only by desktop, mobile device or phone for sessions no more than 40 minutes each. Webex also fully supports keyboard navigation and screen reader accessibility.

To launch Webex via desktop application, open the Software Center application (Windows) or Self Service application (Apple) on your computer. Locate “Webex Meetings” among the software options available and proceed to install. Enter the site URL iastate.webex.com if prompted. Users may also need to enter their ISU login credentials, and after doing so, a desktop icon called “Cisco Webex Meetings” will appear.

To launch Webex via web application, first sign into Okta. Then click the blue + Add Apps button in the upper right corner of the screen. Use the left-hand search bar that says search for an app by typing in “Webex.” Select and add WebEx Premium. When opening the web app for the first time, users should enter their ISU login credentials when prompted. Please note, the Webex desktop app can also be downloaded from the web application on each user’s Webex home page.

When considering which app format – desktop or web – to use, the ITS Communications and Collaboration team recommends using the desktop app for the best in-meeting functionality, and using the web app to access more advanced features like delegating scheduling or setting up a webinar. However, users should employ the format with which they are most comfortable and which best meets their video conferencing needs. A brief Webex Guide with how-to’s and best practices is available here.

Once Webex is launched, users have the ability to schedule a standard meeting or host a meeting with their Personal Room. In a standard meeting, Webex creates a unique URL link for the event that users must click or call-in with a PIN to join. The meeting can be joined by anybody with the link and will start once the host joins. If the meeting needs to start without the organizer, an additional setting can be enabled. Once the meeting has finished, the URL link becomes invalid and cannot be used again.

With a Personal Room, each user possesses a permanent and unique meeting link assigned by Webex.  The Personal Room link allows a meeting host to avoid formal scheduling via Outlook or other calendar. Simply provide the Personal Room link to your intended participants along with the details of the meeting’s date and time; however, the host must be present at the meeting for others to join. For a side-to-side comparison of Standard versus Personal Room meeting benefits, click here and view page 14.

When a participant has joined a Webex meeting, simple and intuitive controls allow them to:

  • Join by dialing in with a phone, connecting on a personal device, or connecting on a conference room device
  • Set audio and video connection types when joining for the first time and change those types as needed
  • See a list of meeting participants and see which one is the active speaker
  • View shared content, with the ability to zoom in and out
  • Identify when a meeting is being recorded via the Recording icon
  • If hosting, mute participants as they join. Participants can mute or unmute themselves throughout the meeting.
  • If hosting, transfer the host role or expel participants if necessary
  • And more

In addition to standard meeting usage, several Iowa State instructors are using Webex within Canvas via an integration. Webex used in a classroom setting can allow instructions to hold virtual class sessions, host guest speakers from a remote location, and offer flexible office hours via video.

To access more Webex how-to’s and trainings videos, visit the Webex Online Classes Support Page.  Note the two options of “Recorded Classes” and “Live Classes.”