Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows users to speak with others in different locations by streaming audio and video. The tool is accessible from a computer or a smartphone, and it is possible to invite non-Georgetown affiliated people to join the virtual meeting. The Zoom interface includes a variety of features such as chat, screen sharing, annotation tools, and breakout rooms to enhance communication, as well as the option to record. It is fully integrated into Canvas.
You can use Zoom in smaller classes to hold a “live” class as you would normally, but with everyone at their computer, either by setting it up through Canvas or by sending students a link. For those who may have had their Internet connectivity affected, the session can be recorded for later viewing. For larger classes, you may want to schedule a number of “office hour” sessions that students can attend as their schedules allow. If students were scheduled to present during a class that cannot meet in person due to an interruption, students can record their presentation using Zoom and share it with you and the other students in the course.
Tips for Using Zoom
- Make sure you have a good internet connection – if you run into problems, see this UIS page on internet connectivity issues.
- Speak clearly – Make sure the microphone on the computer sounds clear and you record in a place with minimal background noise.
- Keep it short – Break up your long lectures into shorter pieces to keep students engaged.
- Include activities – Between segments, have students participate in the chat feature or in breakout rooms before moving on to the next segment.
- Turn on your camera – Even if it is just for a few moments, students are more engaged with instructor content when they can see their face, not just the slides.
Using Zoom for Office Hours
Zoom is a good choice for holding remote office hours. It offers a special featured called “Waiting Rooms” that approximate the chairs in the hallway outside your office—you can speak with one student at a time, privately, and then admit the next one. to get you started, we’ve put together a quick tip sheet on how to use the Waiting Room.
Recording Zoom Sessions
One of the requirements for instructional continuity is that you record all lectures. The goal is for students to be able to review and re-watch content material asynchronously. Please use your best judgment on what is useful to record. The goal is to give students the opportunity to be able to review content after the class session. Think about what content will be most useful for students to have access to for review.
A couple of tips for using Zoom and Zoom Cloud:
- It’s best to setup your Zoom sessions in Canvas. This will make the recording seamless.
- To record your session to Zoom Cloud, once you are in the zoom session simply click the record button in the bottom center of the zoom window and choose Record to the Cloud.
- Once the meeting ends, or the recording is stopped, the session is processed by Zoom Cloud. When this is completed, you will receive an email with a link to your video. It will be similar to the following:
- You can then copy and share the second link (highlighted above) in Canvas or by email, whichever you prefer.
- For more information on pre-recording lectures, see our lecture capture tipsheet.
If you or one of your students are having trouble with your connection, there are a couple things to try:
- Turn off your video – video is bandwidth intensive and can be the cause of stuttering images. If you are presenting, you can encourage all of your students to turn off their video and only turn it on when they wish to speak.
- Dial in for audio – every zoom meeting has the option to dial in to the meeting for the audio (even while using video on your phone or computer). When you set up a new zoom session, you will be given a number of phone numbers as options as well as a meeting number (For example, the meeting ID for our office hours is 386 980 1070; the one for your class session will be different). Dialing in will give the clearest audio signal with the least chance of stuttering or slow downs. You might consider asking your students to dial in rather than using computer audio.
- Also see the UIS page on connectivity issues.
For support with tools and tips for teaching online, CNDLS provides virtual office hours, Monday-Friday. Click here to enter virtual office hours. Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and Friday between 10 am and 12 pm. After hours, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.