Microsoft Teams VS Zoom: Which Do You Prefer?

Hu Naiyu talked to HSE students about their experience of studying online in the new module.

Microsoft Teams VS Zoom: Which Do You Prefer?


This month it was reported by media that Zoom Video Communications had prohibited its distributors from selling the right to use the service to government agencies and state-owned companies in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Andrey Lavrov, the head of the communications department of the Higher University of Economics, informed on Wednesday that the Russian Higher University of Economics (HSE) had planned to start domestic video communication applications during the course of study.

Currently in the 4th module all students are using Microsoft Teams for online courses. We decided to discuss this topic with students of HSE and now let’s take a look at what they think about this issue. Our interviewees for the discussion are Li from China, Nilay from Turkey and Valeria from Russia.




Good morning girls! Thank you very much for participating in our discussion! Let’s start with introducing yourselves. Where are you from and which city are you currently living in?

Valeria: Hi! My name is Valeria. I’m currently in Russia and I’m planning my trip to Moscow next week. In the 4th module we are going to have offline courses so I need to go to the capital for this module. But still I am informed that offline courses will be held only 2 days in a week and all the other courses will be held online. The covid-19 pandemic is quite worrisome in Russia. I hope we can get through it and survive together.

Li: Hello everyone! My name is Li and I come from China. I’m in Moscow and I have been staying here for 2 years without going back to home due to the covid-19 pandemic. Right after I finished my bachelor degree I started study in HSE for my master degree. Since then I never left Moscow even during vacations. I really miss my home and my family. I wish the border could be open very soon so that I am able to get united with my family and friends.

Nilay: Good morning! My name is Nilay and I am a Turkish girl. I have been taking online courses in Turkey since I was enrolled in HSE. In this module some courses will be held offline so I think I will need to fly to Moscow for these courses. I’m not sure if I could manage that especially in the complicated environment of covid-19 pandemic. I hope everything will go smoothly with me.

How do you like Microsoft Team? Do you find it more convenient than Zoom or vice versa?

Valeria: I had online courses via Microsoft Team before so I don’t think it is of any difficulty for me to use this software. Microsoft Team is more convenient than Zoom in a lot of aspects. For example, professors can give home assignments and recordings through the platform for students to check, which helps us eliminate a lot of troubles. But sometimes the system of Microsoft Team is not as stable as that of Zoom. I lost the connection for several times and it happens more frequently when I try to share the screen with my colleagues.

Li: I don’t think Microsoft Team is more convenient than Zoom. Every time I tried to download files in Microsoft Team I came across a variety of problems all the time. It really wasted much time and made it harder to finish the work according to the deadline. Honestly, I wish Zoom could come back to our online courses soon.

Nilay: I have heard of Microsoft Team but actually I never really used it for online courses. For now I found it doesn’t have much difference with zoom. They are both platforms for video conference and in my country they have almost the same function and both work all right with me. If there must be a comparison, I will choose zoom because I have been using that for a long time for online courses so I am quite familiar with it.

What difficulties did you come across when taking online courses?

Valeria: I often come across connection problems. In some practical classes I lose the voice of the professor and I cannot catch everything in class. I got problem with my voice as well. Sometimes only some of the words can be caught by my colleagues.

Li: Since we started to use Microsoft Team for online courses I have had so many problems. Firstly, I could not log in with my HSE account for the first class. I tried a lot of times but it still didn’t work out and now I can only take class on Microsoft Team via web version. As you know, this version lacks a lot of functions, which is very inconvenient to me. Second, it takes me too much time to download and upload home assignment in this platform. It gets me crazy all the time honestly.

Nilay: Well, for me problems usually occurred when I share my screen. You know sometimes we need to perform presentations in class. So basically the connection gets worse when I use this function.

Which software would you recommend if you are the communication minister? Microsoft Team or Zoom? Please, give your reasons as well.

Valeria: I would recommend Microsoft Team. Teachers and students can perform almost everything in class and after class through this platform. It obviously has more extra functions than zoom.

Li: I will recommend Zoom because for me I can use the system normally. It saves me much time and I can perform in zoom more effectively. Some people would say Microsoft Team has more functions but unfortunately they are not available to me. So I hope we can go back to zoom time someday.

Nilay: I would recommend Zoom because I am familiar with it. Even though sometimes I also come across problems with it, but now I can solve them effectively for I have had enough experience. Zoom has already become a friend of mine during the time of online courses.

What do you think is the most important function of online course software?

Valeria: I think the most important element is stability. It enables us to have online courses more smoothly.

Li: I think the most important issue we should attach to is that whether all students (both Russian and international) can get access to it and use the platform normally. I recommend doing a questionnaire if necessary in some cases.

Nilay: For me, I prefer a platform with most functions we need in online courses because it would be more convenient to check everything in the platform and not to miss any information as well. Also it would be easier for teachers to give results and inform each students of the assessments of their work.

We have been using Zoom before, but now we are about to replace it with another video communication system. We negotiated with Zoom for a long time, but unfortunately, we did not get a clear answer. The dealer has Zoom’s exclusive right to operate in Russia, he told us that the company’s license cannot be renewed. We are now transferring learning matters to other platforms. We are about to start using Russian domestic video communication software, which is more reliable for us. - Andrei Lavrov

Do you think domestic video communication software can completely replace international software in Russia?

Valeria: Wow! Russian domestic video communication software! I believe it will benefit Russian students and I cannot wait to experience such software. If the system is good enough, why not apply our own software?

Li: New domestic software! I think it depends on the function of the software. A stable system is required in any cases. I am looking forward to seeing it when I am studying in Russia. If it works better than Microsoft Team, then there is a reason to assume that it can replace international software.

Nilay: Oh, really? I am not sure it can replace international software in Russia because it takes a lot to develop a perfect software. For many years even famous international software like Zoom and Microsoft Team have been struggling to improve their systems. So I think it is possible for a domestic video communication software to replace international software, but it will certainly take a long period to reach the goal.

Thank you so much for your participation, girls! Wish you had effective and productive academic life in the 4th module!

From the discussion, it can be concluded that whether it is Zoom or Microsoft Team, they are both imperfect. Specially, Microsoft Team is not convenient for some international students. Recently it is reported that the Higher School of Economics is negotiating with the online video communication service Яндекс.Телемост. If it is going put it into action in this module or in the future, we do not know. Let’s look forward to the brand new software together.

Hu Naiyu