Collaborate vs Zoom for remote teaching

Wondering which tool you should be using for remote teaching?

There are various factors to consider before making a decision about this, so we have prepared a comparison between Zoom and Collaborate to help you.

Collaborate Zoom
Max Group size Up-to 500

If you are expecting over 250 participants you MUST tick the over 250 option in the settings or the session will be capped.

With a 250+ session Breakout Rooms are NOT available.


Default capacity for Zoom meeting is 300

There is a process now in place for academics to access the higher capacity for ZOOM that enables 300+ participants. The licenses are very limited but if you need access then you should consult your discipline Head of Education and contact Darren Huyton for School of Engineering or Sally Brown for School of Natural Sciences.

Roles Moderator
Participant – Can have multiple moderators and presenters in one session.
Participant – Can only have one Host per session. Can assign as many co-hosts as you like.

Breakout Groups/Rooms

Maximum 20 breakout groups.

No limit on number of participants per group.

Moderators can broadcast slides and chat messages to all breakout groups.

Moderators (and students, if enabled) can switch between breakout groups themselves.

More info on breakout groups.

Up-to 200 Participants and you can have a maximum of 50 Breakout Rooms. You can pre-define Break Out Groups (see info below) if you have <200 participants with a max of 50 groups.

Up-to 400 Participants and you can have a maximum of 30 Breakout Rooms (applicable only with the Larger Zoom capacity – see info above)

Up-to 500 Participants and you can have a maximum of 20 Breakout Rooms (applicable only with the Larger Zoom capacity – see info above)

Host can set a timer to notify participants in the breakout rooms on time remaining.

Host can broadcast message to all breakout rooms.

Participants can click on the “Ask for help” button to get the Host’s attention.

Only the host can move co-hosts/participants to breakout rooms.

After the co-host is put into a breakout room, they can join another room themselves.

Co-hosts can move in between breakout rooms themselves once they are in a breakout room to start

More info on breakout rooms.

Pre-populating Breakout Rooms This is not possible in Collaborate. It is possible to pre-define your groups with Zoom, But you can only pre-define a maximum of 50 groups and you must have <200 participants for this to work.

Participants must be signed into a University Zoom account and using the Zoom app rather than the web browser to access the session. If these conditions are met it is possible to  assigned participants to breakout rooms in advance of a zoom session.

More info on How to pre-assign breakout rooms in zoom

Tracking Attendance

Collaborate can be enabled to track attendance.

More info on attendance tracking.

There is no automated way of tracking attendance at the moment for University Zoom users.

To stop unwanted access:

Use a pin code and waiting room when you setup the meeting to ensure that only students who are supposed to attend do so

To record attendance:

Ask all students to name themselves appropriately in Zoom, and ask them to write their name in the chat to have their attendance recorded.


Polls are created in the Collaborate session. Only Moderators can create and launch polls.

Poll results can be downloaded after the session.

More info on polling.

Polls can be created in advance of the Zoom session by the host, when the meeting is scheduled.

Polls can also be created or edited in the Zoom session.

Co-hosts can edit and launch polls but not create them.

You can download the results of polls. If registration was turned on and the poll is not set to anonymous, it will list the participants names and email addresses.

Note: Participants who join through the browser cannot participate in polling; they must join using the desktop application or mobile app. The host can only manage polls using the desktop application.

More info on polling.


Moderator can enable/disable the setting for participants to share audio.

All participants can mute/unmute their own audio in the session.

Moderator can mute participants anytime in the session.

All participants can mute/unmute their own audio.

Host can mute/request to unmute participants. Host can also set all participants to mute upon entry in the settings.


Sessions can be recorded.
Recordings can be accessed in Blackboard through the Collaborate Ultra link. Recordings can be downloaded by participants if enabled the Moderator.

Public chat messages and captions are recorded. Polls are not recorded.

Sessions can be recorded locally or to the cloud. Local recordings will be downloaded to the Host’s computer after the meeting.

Cloud recordings are recorded in the Zoom Cloud. The Zoom Cloud will store your recording for 30 days.

Public chat messages to everyone are recorded. Polls are not recorded.

More info on recording.

Screen/Video Sharing

Presenter can enable any participant to share video.

Only host and co-host can share video.

Host can promote participants to co-host at anytime during the session.

Maximum faces (videos) on screen simultaneously

Up to 4 videos on screen in grid view and follow-the-speaker view (depending on browser).

Up to 49 videos per page using gallery view (more videos can be shown on additional pages, depending on computer capacity).

Interactive Tools

Share files, share screen, share multiple cameras, virtual whiteboard, reaction buttons, raise hand button (moderator can see a tally), annotate on shared content, set timer.

Whiteboard, share screen, share multiple cameras, file sharing, raise hand, reaction buttons.


Moderator can allow participants to chat with no one, moderator only, or publicly and privately with everyone.

Chat messages in the “everyone” group will be visible to all breakout groups.

Moderator can enable setting to supervise private chats.

Chat can be saved manually by copying and pasting (no export option).

More info on Chat

Host can allow attendees to chat with no one, with the host only, everyone publicly or everyone publicly and privately.

Chat can be set to save automatically (all public chat messages plus any private messages sent or received by the person saving), or can be saved on the during the session.

More info on in-meeting chat.


Screen reader, keyboard accessibility, closed captioning.

More info on accessibility.

Closed Captioning, Automatic Transcripts, Screen Reader Support, Keyboard Accessibility.

More info on accessibility.

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