Top 13 Alternatives for Zoom to Teach Online

Shivani Manohar
July 11, 2020
5 min read

The video-conferencing software, Zoom, has sky-rocketed in popularity. Especially in the month of March 2020, Zoom saw a 225% increase in user connections and a whopping 877% increase in data usage, according to a paper by Wandera. But in light of the recent security and privacy issues, although Zoom 5.0 version has fixed these bugs, some business are slightly apprehensive of continuing to use Zoom.

Given this situation, you might be on the lookout for an alternative video-conference software to carry out your online classes and/or meetings. And we’ve got you covered:

  • For smaller classes (i.e. less than 30 students), these platforms are ideal:

1. Lessonspace ❤️
You can teach live, one-on-one or in a group, with this versatile, collaborative video conferencing platform. The starter pack, priced at $29/month, includes 30 hours of video calls and 50GB of storage space. You can have a 14-day free trial simply by creating an account. (You can use the promo code ‘Reportcard’ while signing up, for a discount and additional usage duration)

2. Around
Designed specifically for laptops, Around uses its auto-zoom and noise-cancelling features to focus on the speaker’s face and voice. Up to 15 participants can be a part of one meeting, even from right next to each other, without any echo or interference noise. It requires users to sign up for the platform or join meetings on an invite-only basis.

3. Whereby 🔒
Whereby is a browser-based tool to conduct online video classes, that emphasises on ease of use. It requires no downloads for guest users, you only need to login using your email address or a one-time code. The free version can house up to 4 users at a time.

4. Google Hangouts
Hangouts is a simple but effective online platform that allows up to 10 participants in a video call and up to 150 participants in a voice call. It doesn’t have an array of features, like most other platforms, but you can share your screen and have access to a chatbox. It’s a quick and easy way to conduct online classes.

5. Join.Me is perfect for smaller classes, or for those teachers with a tighter budget. Audio-only meetings with screen sharing is available to anyone with up to 3 participants for free. Paid plans start at $10/host per month and allow up to five participants with no time limit. Naturally, as you go higher up the tiers, additional features become available to you. Video conferencing, unfortunately, isn’t available for the low tier plans.

6. Messenger Rooms 🔭
Last week, Facebook introduced ‘Messenger Rooms’, a free video conference feature that its users can employ for group chats and meetings. Each room allows 50 people into each session, with no limit on call duration and no need for a Facebook account beforehand.

  • For larger classes, on the other hand, these platforms may work better:

7. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is an in-built video-conference platform in Office 365, but anyone can sign up for free using their email address. The free version allows up to 300 members, guest access, one-on-one and group video/audio calls, screen sharing, and shared files up to 10GB per team. The business plans, naturally, offer more, in terms of additional storage, security, management tools and support for webinars and online training sessions.

8. Cisco Webex
Webex by Cisco has been a business application and continues to focus on serving companies, but it has a neat free version that’s pretty useful for conducting online classes. With Webex, you can have up to 100 participants, with no time limits on meeting and also, added call-in abilities.

9. GoToMeeting
A great platform for professional online classes and on-the-go collaboration, GoToMeeting, the web conferencing service from LogMein, allows audio and video sessions, screen sharing, and a mobile app for Android and iOS. The standard version allows for up to 150 participants and is priced $14/month or $12/month if purchased annually. It only requires signing up for this platform.

10. BlueJeans
Recently acquired by Verizon, BlueJeans brings video, audio and web conferencing together with the collaboration tools people use every day. It provides users with three plans - Me, My Team, and My Company. Under Me, users pay $19.98/month per user and can have up to 50 participants. My Team is priced at $23.99/month and adds 10 hours of cloud meeting recordings and a common dashboard for up to 75 participants. My Company allows support for up to 150 participants and a room system calendar. The pricing, however, isn’t available unless the user contacts BlueJeans directly.

11. Skype
Another popular product by Microsoft, Skype allows up to 50 participants for an unlimited amount of time for free, which makes it ideal for smaller classes. It has an in-built call recording feature that any member can use and allows users to save and share the recording for up to a month. However, it is necessary for every user to download the application and create an account.

12. Jitsi Meet 💰
Jitsi Meet is an open-source platform that allows you to start meeting easily by navigating to the site and clicking ‘Go’. You can have up to 75 participants in one meeting, with public or private chat, and requires no payment or log-in. Jitsi Meet also integrates with software like Slack, Google Calendar and Office 365.

13. StarLeaf
StarLeaf aims to bring people together for better work and better collaboration. It is useful for quick and easy video meetings for up to 20 participants. Its basic features are available to users free of cost, provided they sign-up and download the app.

Zoom Alternatives

For anyone looking to switch over from Zoom to another platform, these 13 alternatives will provide you with a convenient and easy-to-use interface, and help you conduct your online classes seamlessly.

However, if you are more comfortable using Zoom, you might enjoy this article on Tips for Teaching Online with Zoom for a better, more secure class experience.

If you are new to the field of online teaching or are looking for ways to promote existing classes, you can go through our Guide to Teaching Online Effortlessly.

Do spare a minute and check out Reportcard - it helps you keep track your students’ attendance, schedules and manage classes, and collaborate seamlessly with staff and students, alike.

Shivani Manohar

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