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Zoom 101

Zoom Best Practices

General Tips for using Zoom

  • Host in a quiet place with a strong, stable internet connection.
  • Do a dry run to ensure your microphone and speakers are working.
  • Ask attendees to follow conference call etiquette - muting themselves and speaking in turns.
  • Request that students submit their questions or their desire to ask a question via text-based chat so that you know whom to call on to speak next.
  • Prepare a few items or problems to discuss for those times when there are no student questions.

Prepare for Zoom instruction

  • Practice using Zoom in advance. Test your audio and video. Be sure light is on your face and that your background and desktop are free of distractions. Practice looking at your webcam, not the screen when you present. Practice sharing your screen. (See Testing computer or device audio and Share Screen).
  • Review your host controls and meeting settings. Determine whether you’ll include other hosts or co-hosts, mute participant microphones (muting recommended for large groups), or record the session for use at a later time. (See Host ControlsManaging participants in a meeting, and recording).
  • Consider making slides or discussion questions available in advance  so that students can access the content if screen sharing does not work.
  • Anticipate potential challenges including the possibility that students don’t have ideal connections and aren’t able to hear and see everything perfectly.

Use screen sharing to share your screen or slides as you speak

(See Share Screen and Screen Sharing a PowerPoint Presentation).

  • Display an agenda at the start of the class session so that students know what to expect of the shared time together.
  • Narrate the material that you’re displaying visually on the screen. Just as you might read materials aloud in class, read screen material that you share on-screen just in case students are not able to see essential text.
  • Post discussion questions in your slides so these can be visible to students who may have a slow Internet connection or who may struggle to hear the audio.

Use the chat tool to connect regularly with students during meetings

(See In-Meeting Chat).

  • Use chat to troubleshoot technical problems at the start of a meeting. If you have a TA who can support the class instruction with technical help, this would also be a good person to respond to troubleshooting tips in the chat.
  • Check the chat often to identify student questions and areas of interest or confusion. For larger classes, assign a TA to moderate the chat and make sure important questions and comments are addressed. Even for smaller classes, it may be worthwhile to ask a student (or two) to take on special roles as “chat monitors” to voice if there are questions that arise that the instructor has missed.
  • Use chat to engage students in discussion. Pause often during a lecture to ask a question and invite students to answer or comment. “Call on” students with a text question or comment to elaborate.

Use active learning and collaboration tools to make the class more interactive

  • Use polling tool within Zoom to collect student responses, and then share results with both in-person and online students. (See Polling for Meetings).
  • Use breakout rooms to help students talk in smaller groups, just as they would do break-out groups in a larger class environment. As the instructor, you can visit the breakout rooms, broadcast messages to various rooms, and end the breakout sessions when it is time to regroup. (See Getting Started with Breakout Rooms and Managing Video Breakout Rooms).
  • Consider asking students to work together as a large group or breakout groups on a shared Google Doc

Adapted from University of Nevada, Reno and Stanford University