Minimising and troubleshooting audio and connectivity issues in Zoom
Technology issues, in particular audio and connectivity issues, are a reality of using a live conferencing tool.
Even if you and students have a good internet connection, VPNs and firewalls can slow down the transmission of data-intensive content such as video and audio.
Connection quality can also depend on the student's location. Some of your students may have a great connection where they are, while others may have a very poor connection.
Using a quality headset
If you will regularly be running Zoom sessions in your teaching, acquire through your school or purchase a good USB headset with microphone. Ideally, your students would have a good headset too.
Where possible, you and your students should avoid using:
- Built-in laptop audio/microphone:
- Can create echo effects if you have not muted the correct channels
- Can create echo effects if you have others in the same room, in the same webinar as you
- Can capture unwanted background noise.
- Wired earbud headphones, such as the type that are often used with mobile phones
- Wireless headsets - these can work, but they are not as reliable as USB headsets - battery life may become an issue during a day involving many Zoom sessions.
Poor hardware choice can lead to annoyances such as:
- Students not being able to hear you clearly
- You not being able to hear students clearly
- Interference issues.
But the COVID19 context means having to be pragmatic, so in the end, use what you have.
In-session troubleshooting of technical issues
The following table outlines common issues and some approaches for resolving them.
|Issue||Check first||Other checks|
Students can’t hear you
You can hear annoying background noise
One or more students are saying your video communication is patchy/breaking up (latency issue)
A student is speaking but their audio is patchy/breaking up.
A student is trying to speak, but no one can hear them.