Preparing and familarising my students with Zoom

There are several things you can do to prepare yourself and your students for a successful Zoom session:

  • On Canvas, provide students with information about installing Zoom. The Canvas guide for students is a good resource.
  • Students can test their audio, webcam and internet connection by joining Zoom’s generic 'test' meeting at any time.
  • Ask students to use a headset with microphone if they have one.
  • Advise students to use Chrome.
  • Ask students to use the best internet connection they have access to, and sit close to their router if using wifi.
  • Let students know that you'll record the session and provide the video and audio files after.
  • Ask students to participate from a quiet location.
  • Ask students to not be in the same physical room with others who are logged into the same Zoom session, as this will cause escalating echo issues between their computers. If they must be in same physical room, then their desktop computers must be muted or they must have headphones plugged in.

First session with a new group

When running a first session with a new group, give them time to familiarise themselves with Zoom, and with how you want them to use it. How you do this will depend on what tools you want to use in your subject.

Some example approaches:

  • Share your expectations at the beginning. How should students communicate with you and with each other? Which tools do you want them to use? When and how can they ask questions?
  • Give the students a ‘tour’ of the Zoom tools you will use. Some possibilities include:
    • Gallery view vs speaker view (note: when you use gallery view, having lots of webcams on at once is bandwidth intensive)
    • Full screen versus not full screen (it's recommended that students use not full screen most of the time, as then the Chat window will connect neatly with the main window when opened)
    • Using Chat to write to everyone, or to write to an individual peer
    • Using non-verbal reaction tools (found under Participants or also Reactions options)
    • Annotating on whiteboard/slides/screen
    • Answering a poll.
    • Get students to introduce themselves. This will be dependent on the numbers in your session.
      • For tutorial-sized classes (up to roughly 20 students) you may wish to have students switch to Gallery View, turn on their video and microphone, and introduce themselves one at a time to the whole group.
      • For larger classes some alternatives include:
        • Students share in Chat
        • Students answer an introductory poll
        • Students are placed in breakout rooms of 4-5 people and introduce themselves to a sub-section of the class.