Zoom upgrade for students lifts the 40-minute time limit

Woman in Zoom meeting on laptop

University of Oregon students can now hold Zoom meetings for as long as they'd like.

On April 14, Information Services upgraded student Zoom accounts to share virtually all of the features that UO staff and faculty members already enjoy and provide greater parity with the existing Microsoft Teams service.

"When it came time to renew our contract with Zoom, we asked them to extend full functionality to students," said Melody Riley, associate chief information officer for applications and middleware. "We're delighted to provide a better Zoom experience for students at no extra cost."

Zoom is a cloud-based videoconferencing service used extensively at the UO for remote classes and meetings.

In the first year Zoom was available campuswide, student-hosted meetings with three or more participants were limited to 40 minutes, the same limit that applies to free personal Zoom accounts.

"We're glad to remove that barrier," Riley said. "Now you can work on group projects, host club meetings and call friends and family on Zoom for hours at a time."

Any student still running into the time limit may need to refresh their UO Zoom account.

All students can now also serve as alternative hosts for Zoom meetings. Previously, faculty seeking help with Zoom hosting duties for their classes had to request a temporary additional Zoom license for each student assistant.

Information Services recommends that students who host Zoom meetings install the Zoom application on their computers.

Students can now also host larger Zoom meetings. The previous limit of 100 participants has now increased to 300 participants, the same as employees.

In contrast to employees, students won't be allowed to save meeting recordings to the Zoom cloud.

"You can still save recordings on your computer or in OneDrive, Dropbox or other cloud-based services we provide," Riley said. "With so many great options already available, we're committed to preventing unnecessary expenditures on costly Zoom storage space."

Information Services launched the campuswide Zoom service in March 2020, in time to support remote instruction, work and communications for the university's first full term during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zoom joined Microsoft Teams as another campuswide videoconferencing service that complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, known as FERPA.

Part of the Office 365 platform, Teams has been available at the UO since 2019. Whereas Zoom is primarily a videoconferencing tool, Teams offers a wider range of features to facilitate collaboration, including persistent team chats, file sharing and integration with OneDrive and other Microsoft Office applications.

The UO Service Portal contains an array of how-to articles about both Zoom and Teams, as well as a feature comparison of the two tools.

Zoom offers video tutorials, live training webinars and how-to articles in its own help center. Similarly, Microsoft offers video training, live online classes and how-to articles about Teams.

Students seeking help with Zoom can submit a Zoom support ticket through the UO Service Portal or contact the Technology Service Desk.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications