Cisco Webex service offerings are being phased out at Mason to provide a more streamlined set of services. Alternate solutions are available including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate. Webex services will be shut down on May 31, 2021.
Webex usage continues to drop as usage of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate increase. If you're looking to learn more about these tools, join the Collaboration Collective. The Collaboration Collective is a team for faculty and staff collaboration technology users to communicate with their peers and discuss new features, best practices, and other topics of interest. To become a member of the Collaboration Collective log into Microsoft Teams, click Join or create a Team and then search for Collaboration Collective or use Join a team with a code and enter code: pifyqb4.
Remember, a Webex login is only required to HOST a meeting. You do NOT need to login to participate in Webex meetings. As such, accounts that have not been used to host a meeting since the start of the Fall 2020 semester were closed on Thursday October, 29. As of now, over 14,000, representing 88%, of the Webex accounts have already been closed.
Jump to Current Status.
Background and Approach
There are currently multiple options for users in the collaboration space, including Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and Webex Meetings/Webex Teams. Mason is working to standardize and simplify its service offerings across multiple services.
The decision has been made to phase out the Webex service offerings to provide a more streamlined set of services. This will save the university money by reducing the number of tools supported and currently under contract.
This effort will transition users from the Webex suite of applications (Meetings, Events, and Training) and Webex Teams to alternate solutions including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate. Webex users in classrooms, meeting rooms, and on desktops will move to alternate videoconference, web conference, and collaboration tools, and then Webex will be retired at Mason.
To accomplish this goal, the approach will be to reduce usage over time and remove accounts as users stop using the Webex tools. This includes:
- Freezing or slowing the creation of NEW Webex Accounts (Webex Meetings and Webex Teams)
- Phasing out Webex Events and Webex Training application access
- Phasing out Webex Meetings
- Phasing out Webex Teams
This process will begin immediately and extend through the Spring 2021 semester.
How to Prepare
- Users of Webex Meetings are encouraged to immediately begin to moving their scheduled meetings to Zoom Meetings or Microsoft Teams meetings. Guests do not require accounts to attend these meeting types.
- Users of Webex Teams are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams for collaboration, instant messaging, and video calling. Note, per current plans, Microsoft Teams will be made available to Mason Students in Spring 2021.
- Users of Webex Events are encouraged to inquire with the ITS Support Center on the availability of Zoom Webinar.
- Users of Webex Trainings are encouraged to use Zoom Meetings with video break out rooms.
|Current Webex Tool||Supported Alternative||Access to Solutions||Notes|
|Webex Teams||Microsoft Teams||Microsoft Teams: Available to faculty and staff as part of Office 365 suite and accessed via browser at mso365.gmu.edu, desktop application, or mobile app.||
|Webex Events||Zoom Webinar||Zoom: gmu.zoom.us|
|Webex Training||Zoom||Zoom: gmu.zoom.us||
|What's Happening||When to Expect It||Status|
|Summer 2020||Publish Webex Retirement Roadmap and revised account request procedures; begin marketing of alternatives||July 15, 2020||Complete|
|Complete initial deactivation of Webex host accounts (Meetings, Training, and Events) that have not been used for more than 120 days||July 30, 2020||Complete|
|Fall 2020||Ongoing Deactivation of Webex Host Accounts that have not been used in 60 days||Ongoing||In Process|
|Limit creation of new Webex Accounts||Ongoing||In Process|
|Complete testing and confirmation of learning spaces to Zoom capability||September 30, 2020||Complete|
|Classroom alternative(s) to Webex published for use||October 31, 2020||Complete|
|Complete design of Webex Teams decommissioning plan||November 30, 2020||In Process|
|Complete transition of supported Webex events to Zoom Webinars||December 18, 2020||Planned|
|Eliminate ability to request/create new Webex user accounts||December 18, 2020||Planned|
|Spring 2021||Remove any remaining Webex Events and Training licenses||January 15, 2021||Planned|
|Complete transition of Webex Meetings to other tools||May 31, 2021||Planned|
|Summer 2021||All remaining Webex Meetings Accounts are removed||June 30, 2021||Planned|
|Webex Teams decommissioning complete||TBD||Pending|
Current Status (Updated: October 30, 2020)
- Account Closures
- 3800 Webex Host accounts closed on 10/29
- 1900 Host accounts remain
- Meetings, Events, and Trainings
- Events and Training on schedule for retirement prior to start of Spring 2021 semester. There are currently 3 active users of these features
- Direct outreach to organizations still using meetings is occurring based on September and October meeting hosts
- Effective 10/29/2020, Webex account closures will occur after 60 days without hosting a meeting
- Webex Meetings usage is down approximately 50% from August 1 to October 1 and 67% from the peak during the spring semester
- Zoom instructions place in all classrooms outlining alternatives to Webex
- Capturing requirements and planning needs for Webex Teams transition, specifically as it relates to students collaborating with faculty/staff
- Ongoing removal of inactive Webex accounts
Key Tasks Recently Completed
- October 29, 2020: Removed 3800 Webex Host Accounts; reduced inactive closure date from 90 days login to 60 days hosting
- October 12, 2020: Released Collaboration Collective Microsoft Team to share information across supported Collaboration Tools – MS Teams, Bb Collaborate Ultra, and Zoom
- September 11, 2020: Reduced inactive closure date of Webex accounts from 120 days to 90 days
- September 1, 2020: Posted instructions for using Zoom in classrooms
- August 14, 2020: Removed 75% of Webex Training and Events licenses
- July 30, 2020: Removed 9,300+ inactive Webex accounts
- July 28, 2020: Modified Webex Meetings and Team request process
- July 15, 2020: Published Webex Retirement Roadmap