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Video Conferencing and Webinar Services

Video conferencing or web conferencing allow you to set up a meeting when you can't get everyone together in person, and allows you to share your desktop, show PowerPoint presentations or videos, and see participants' faces via webcams.

(If you all you need is a voice connection, you can use a free conference call system like Free Conference Call. The only drawback is that it's likely to be a long-distance call for each participant. You can use join.me to allow everyone on the call to see your screen.)

Listing of Services

ServiceMax. PeopleShare ScreenHost Controls MuteOther NotesCost
Skype  9 (dicey above 5) No  No No recording. One person needs Skype Premium ($10/mo.)
Google Hangouts 10 Yes No No support. Attendees must have a Google account or join by phone only. Free
Google Hangouts On Air 10 participants, unlimited viewers Yes? Yes Automatically recorded. Requires YouTube channel connected to your Google account. No support. Active participants must have a Google account. Free
FUZE 25 participants Yes Yes No recording Upload content incl. video. Free
FUZE Pro 125 participants Yes Yes Recording. Unlimited audio by phone or VoIP $14/month
$96/year
AnyMeeting
 
200 Yes Yes
 
$18/mo. for 25 people, $78/mo. for 200 people
GoToMeeting 100 Yes Yes Recording, polls. Attendees can “raise hands. $49/mo. for 25 people, $69/mo. for 100 people
 
ReadyTalk 150 Yes Yes Recording, polls. Attendees can “raise hands. $49/mo. for 25 people, $149/mo. for 150 people.
WebEx 100 Yes Yes Recording. 3 people for free, up to $89/mo. for 100 people

AnyMeeting

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Information Technology Services endorses AnyMeeting for web conferences. This allows meetings and workshops to be conducted online, and allows people who can’t attend worship or congregational events in person to participate online. An online attendee needs only a computer with high speed Internet and a telephone.

Support Community

If you intend to host meetings using AnyMeeting, consider joining a community of congregational technology users for ongoing support. Take two minutes to subscribe to the UUA ChurchMgmtSoftware email list where you can ask a question, search for an answer, or give someone else a hand. After subscribing, you’ll receive an email asking for confirmation. In the email, select the link labeled “Or visit this web page” for best results.

AnyMeeting Features

You can have a free account if you’re ok with ads appearing on everyone’s screen during the meeting. Or you can purchase a month-to-month subscription for an ad-free account.

Depending on the account you choose, up to 25 or 200 people can join your conference. Up to six webcams can be visible at one time, people can raise their virtual hands, and you can record the meeting audio and screen sharing. You may also like the ability to conduct quick polls and easily send follow-up emails to your attendees.

Account Setup Steps

Only meeting hosts need an AnyMeeting account; attendees do not. Here’s how to setup your free or paid account.

  1. Go to AnyMeeting for UUA Community Members.
  2. Click on any of the three buttons at the bottom to begin the registration process. If you select either of the paid plans, you’ll receive a 10% discount by using coupon code “UUA” when you complete the payment section. In that case, you will be billed each month, and you can change your selection or close your account at any time without penalty.
  3. Fill out the registration form. Your email address will be your account login name. You can choose the web address (“URL”) that your attendees will use to join your meetings. The URL and phone numbers assigned to your account will not change over time.
  4. Before you run your first meeting, test your computer to make sure it’s ready to go.
    1. Click on “Support” at the top of the page to go to the Support page.
    2. Click on the “System Test” button to run a series of automated tests.
    3. The test will tell you if any settings need to be changed, or if you need to update Java or Flash.
    4. After running the automated test, click to test your network connection (if any), your webcam and microphone (if you plan to use those), and your speakers.
  5. We suggest watching the Support page “Help Videos” called Quick Start and Screen Sharing. The Support page also features a knowledgebase, FAQ, troubleshooting wizards, and other resources.

A Note About Audio

Unless you’re particularly tech-savvy, we recommend using the conference call phone number provided by AnyMeeting, rather than using AnyMeeting’s support for your computer microphone and speakers.

For more information contact web@uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Sunday, April 20, 2014.

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