When starting out tutoring it is easy to get choice anxiety about what tools are right for you. With dozens of options on the market for video calls and online whiteboards you may find yourself confused about which to use.
For those just starting out tutoring online it is likely a free option is more inviting. Two of the most commonly used free video call tools on the market right now are Skype and Zoom. This article runs through some of the pros and cons of both of these video call services, and will hopefully make your decision a little easier.
Zoom VS Skype Features
When it comes to features, Zoom and Skype have very similar functionality. If you are looking to get a high quality, and reliable service either choice will work great.
Both video call services boast a wide range of easy to use features such as:
HD Video and Audio
Screen sharing capabilities
Built in collaboration tools, such as screens hare annotation
Video call transcription
Phone in capabilities
Ability to join calls within singing-in
However there are also some key differences between the two features which may help you decide which service is better for you!
Skype VS Zoom: Scalability
One of the key differences between the two video calling platforms is their ability to hold large video calls. Skype allows up to 50 participants on one call. This means if you are looking to hold large classes or 1-on-1 sessions Skype will be a good option for you. Each of those participants is also able to join via video call, meaning you can keep an eye on all of your students during a class.
If you are looking to teach more than 50 students at once, Zoom might be a better option. The software is able to host up to 1,000 people, including up to 49 video call participants. If you are a tutor hosting lectures with a large group of students, you should use Zoom.
Zoom VS Skype: Privacy
As you may be aware, there have been issues raised about Zoom’s privacy in the past. People have reported issues of ‘Zoombombing’, which is when uninvited guests join a Zoom call. To tackle this issue, Zoom has enabled a waiting room feature which allows users to screen who enters their video call. While this has meant your Zoom meeting is less likely to have uninvited guests joining, it can be tiresome for admins to monitor who is in the waiting room, especially if there are late comers.
To tackle the waiting room issue, Skype gives users the ability to set who has to wait in the waiting room when joining a call. Admin’s can decide whether they want to screen everyone, or only certain people joining the call. Click here to find out more about this.
Zoom VS Skype: Room for Distractions
Zoom gives users the ability to add virtual backgrounds, meaning they can add a picture behind themselves during a zoom call. This is a feature which could easily cause students to be distracted during a class. This is not a feature which Skype offers.
Zoom VS Skype: Pros and Cons
Other than the above mentioned key differences, here are some other pros and cons for both Skype and Zoom.
The service is free
Simple intuitive software which is very easy to start using
Compatible with all operating systems, including mobile.
Gives admins ability to monitor meetings, such as mute/unmute users, and control who is let into a call using the ‘waiting room’ feature.
Zoom boasts great customer service, operational in multiple time zones, so if you are having issues it is easy to get in touch with someone about troubleshooting.
Zoom has lots of different packages and price points, meaning you can find the option that works the best of you.
You need to download an app to use zoom, and cannot just access if from a browser
In the past there have been questions raised about how secure zoom is.
The free version can only host 40 minute calls at a time, with 100 participants.
Some of Zoom’s extra features such as the virtual backgrounds may be distracting for students during lessons.
Free and very easy to use
Many people are already familiar with the software
Compatible with lots of operating systems both desktop and mobile
Offers instant messaging service saves messages and files for up to 30 days
Has a great user guide which answers lots and lots of different questions
Integrated real time language translation
The free version offers up to 100 hours of video calls a month
Skype has a variety of pricing models.
You can access calls straight from your browser without having to download any sort of software.
The audio calls are reported to not always be great quality
Seems to cause difficulties on lower spec devices
It is difficult to truly judge if Skype or Zoom is the better option for online tutors. Chances are that your choice will be primarily based on your requirements.
For those looking to create bigger calls Zoom is probably a better option. With up to 100 participants on the free version anyone can host a large class. However, you should keep in mind that they do have a 40 minute limit for free users. If you are looking to host longer classes with a smaller number of students perhaps Skype is a better option for you.
The best thing you can do to figure out which will work the best for you, is to give both of them a try, and see what you are more comfortable with!
Want to find out more about how to start tutoring online? Click here!
TutorCruncher provides tutoring management software to help you run your online tutoring sessions smoothly. Find out more about our online teaching integrations here.