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Video Conferencing

Portland State University offers a variety of video conferencing options for use in meetings, group collaborations, one-on-one communications, and in the classroom. PSU’s Office of Information Technology currently supports Cisco WebEx, Google+ Hangouts, AVer Video Conferencing, and Blackboard Collaborate video conferencing platforms. There are other options available for video conferencing on campus not supported by OIT (e.g. Skype and FaceTime). For these platforms, users should refer to the product websites and help documentation for assistance.

Please use the following comparative guide to video conferencing for assistance in selecting the right tool to fit your needs.

  Google+ Hangouts Cisco WebEx Free Blackboard Collaborate AVer Conference Room Video
Number of connections 10 3 6 Unlimited
Free ✔*
Recording Ability
Screen Sharing
Document Sharing ✔**

Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts is a video conferencing tool within Google+. Anyone at PSU has access to a Google+ account.

Google is in the process of making some changes to Google+ Hangouts. These changes may temporarily cause you to see an error if you attempt to start a Hangout from the speech bubble icon in the upper right corner of Google+. The Office of Information Technology is actively evaluating these changes and we encourage you to check back for updates. In the meantime, there are still several ways in which you can initiate a Hangout video call:

  • Select the Hangout icon  that appears in the Google Chat/Talk widget within
  • Use this link to initiate a Hangout directly.
  • Select "Add Google+ Hangout" link from within a Google Calendar invite screen.
  • Select the Hangout button from the Status Update box on Google+.


  • Video conferencing for up to 10 people
  • Free
  • Intuitive user-interface
  • Screen sharing
  • Document sharing
  • Broadcast live to the public using Hangouts On Air
  • Record and save your video on YouTube


  • Google+ account holders must agree to the Google consumer Terms of Service and also uphold the legal requirements in place for a Google+ account at PSU
  • Computer, phone, or tablet with webcam
  • Internet connection
  • Google+ account

Learn more about Google+ Hangouts.

Cisco WebEx

Cisco WebEx is a popular, enterprise grade video and meeting collaboration solution. Video and collaboration for up to three participants is available for free.  


  • Up to 3 video conferencing participants
  • Free
  • Screen sharing
  • Document sharing and markup tools
  • Record and playback meetings
  • Instant messaging
  • Only the host needs a WebEx account, but participants do not
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux
  • 24/7 support
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption
  • 1 GB storage


  • For more than 3 participants, meeting accounts can be purchased for a monthly fee


  • Computer, smartphone, or tablet with a webcam

Create an account or learn more about Cisco WebEx.

Blackboard Collaborate

Collaborate is primarily used by faculty and instructors to record lectures, presentations, or instructional videos for use in online courses in Desire2Learn (D2L). However, PSU staff may also request Collaborate accounts outside of D2L to use for remote meetings.


  • Online lectures can be broadcast live or recorded and stored in D2L for students to view at a later time
  • Video conferencing for up to six people
  • Only the host needs a Collaborate account, but participants do not
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • PowerPoint document sharing


  • **Cannot share non-PowerPoint documents
  • Video cannot be exported from D2L


  • Computer with a webcam
  • Host must have a Collaborate account

Visit Collaborate for more information and a full list of support resources.

AVer Video Conferencing System

Up to four small groups can participate in a video conference using the AVer Video Conferencing System at PSU. Two video conference sites are available on campus: Market Center Building 541 (Gold Room) and Urban Center (Lecture Capture Center). There is one mobile unit available for campus events.


  • Free
  • Equipment is ready-to-use
  • Compatible with Polycom video conferencing systems
  • Screen sharing
  • Mac and PC supported
  • Ability to save screenshots of the conference to a USB device
  • Connect up to four remote sites without bridge
  • Unlimited connections using OUS bridge


  • Room must be reserved prior to conference
  • A moderator is required at each site to manage the video feed on screen
  • Reservation with the Campus Audio Visual Event Team
  • *Assistance requires a fee
The mobile AVer Video Conference unit can be used at site with an HDTV or equivalent video viewing device. To schedule the mobile unit in your location please contact the Campus Audio Visual Event Team (CAVET) at least one week prior to your event at  or 503-725-4357. There is a fee for this service. Learn more about AVer Video Conferencing System.