This page contains information about:

Web- and Video Conferencing
  • Web-based videoconferencing,  as well as breakout rooms, polling, and a wide variety of audio options, is available via Zoom. Zoom is provided free of charge for current faculty, staff, students, and affiliates at all Cornell campuses. Attendees of Zoom meetings do not need to be affiliated with Cornell.
  • Blackboard Collaborate offers web-conferencing within Blackboard courses, enabling faculty to upload course materials and videos, access a virtual whiteboard, and maintain online office hours.
  • “Standards-based” or h.323 video conferencing, which requires specialized equipment, is available at various locations around campus. For more information about the standards-based video conferencing options at Cornell, visit here.
  • Skype is not officially supported at Cornell, but because of its ease of use, many faculty choose to use it for activities such as bringing guest speakers into the classroom. Please note that because of Skype’s routing model, other people’s calls may be sent through your computer; your computer becomes a “supernode”. It is possible on Windows machines to configure Skype so that your computer doesn’t function in this manner; these changes require you to edit the system registry.

Blogs and Wikis
  • The Cornell Blog service is often used by instructors for providing a forum for their students to write and comment on other students’ writing. If you are considering blogs for class use, we recommend that you talk with an instructional designer to determine which setup is best for you.
  • A wiki is a collaborative website that allows multiple participants to create, edit, link, and share web pages. At Cornell, we use the Confluence wiki.
  • Blackboard has wiki, blog, and journal tools available inside the Blackboard environment. Although these tools are not as robust as the blog and wiki services mentioned above, many instructors find that they are adequate for their class requirements.

Discussion Boards
  • The Blackboard Discussion Board tool is the most widely used discussion forum for classes at Cornell. This asynchronous tools includes many features such as anonymous posting, grading, and group discussions.
  • Many instructors are finding Piazza – an online tool which can be integrated with Blackboard – to be invaluable in increasing learning in their classes and in reducing the amount of email that they receive from students.

Document Sharing
  • The Blackboard Groups feature includes a File Exchange area where students can share files with other group members and/or with the instructor.
  • LabArchives lab notebook software is primarily used to replace traditional lab notebooks, but can also be used for sharing files with people both inside and outside Cornell/
  • The Cornell Dropbox, maintained by the University Registrar’s office, can be used for secure transfer of files from one person to another, primarily for people within Cornell (but can be configured to whitelist people from outside the university).
  • Cornell Box – a local version of – allows you to share and collaborate on documents and other files online, with people both inside and outside Cornell.
  • Many instructors use Google Docs for their convenience and ease of use. While Google Docs often meets instructors’ needs, Cornell does not have an agreement in place with Google to ensure privacy under FERPA.

Other Communication Tools
  • In addition to traditional survey use, the Qualtrics survey tool is being used for teaching activities such as in-class surveys for checking understanding of material, peer and self evaluations for group projects, and presentations.
  • An increasing number of instructors are finding that social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter can be excellent ways to reach their students. Our instructional designers are well versed in the use of these tools for teaching, and can help you identify how they may be of use to you.


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