Zoom: Tips and Best Practices

A guide to basic Zoom tips and best practices. Needs links to several other pages (Logging into Zoom via SSO, Whiteboard Doc)

Table of Contents

Tips for before Zoom Session

  • Name sessions clearly in Canvas

    • When creating class sessions or office hours label them clearly as such so that participants do not accidentally enter the wrong Zoom room.  

  • Automatically Mute and turn off cameras on entry 

    • Within your settings when you create a Zoom meeting, make sure to check the boxes that will ensure that cameras are off and participants are muted upon joining to avoid any awkwardness on camera or on the mic when they do not think they are being seen or heard. 

For more documentation on these settings please see: Creating a Session for Online Courses: Recommended Settings 

A common issue relates to needing to sign in with SSO. Participants may receive an error message that says that they need to be “authorized participants.” When logging in to Zoom-either via the app or browser-it is extremely important that you log in via SSO (single sign-in) and NOT via your own personal Zoom account. Signing in via SSO ensures that you are using the licensed account given to you by the university to conduct university business. If you do not do so, you can find yourself unable to schedule classes/meetings and being unable to enter meetings without first giving a password. For more documentation on this, please see: Zoom - Signing in via SSO (Required).

Setting Expectations 

  • Do this early in the semester with a low-stakes topic to make it less intimidating later. A good discussion topic on day one might be crowdsourcing how to create a positive breakout room environment. 

  • Whether you prefer for them to use mics or chat. 

  • Whether you will use the reactions feature in Zoom (raising hand, yes vs. No, thumbs up, etc.) 

  • Being clear about wanting to hear from everyone and the benefits of diverse perspectives.

  • Round robin participation in the beginning to encourage less assertive participants to participate (keeping an eye on this can also be a group role). 

For more documentation about reactions please see: Nonverbal Feedback Documentation

Tips for during Zoom session

  • Provide screen-share content that you want to discuss in class so participants can more easily follow along with your lecture. 

  • Use chat while screensharing, click More in the meeting controls at the top, and choose Chat. A floating chat window will appear. If you receive chat messages while screensharing, the More button will flash orange. For more information: Chat while Screensharing

  • Normalize using reactions to answer yes/no questions and convey emotions so that the classroom experience goes beyond what’s happening in chat.  

  • Use the raise hand option for participants to let you know when they have a thought to share over the mic with the class.  

  • Remember the option to use Closed Captioning for your class to make class more inclusive to a greater audience. For more information: Live Transcription

Breakout Room Tips

  • Make sure to leave prompts for breakout room activities or discussion in an easy to access place to be referenced during the breakout room, for example on chat. When the prompt is in the PowerPoint, the participants do not see the PowerPoint screen-share during their breakout session. 

  • Whiteboards are a great way for participants to document their thoughts in breakout rooms. Before going into breakout rooms, show participants how to access the whiteboard and give them screensharing abilities so that they can access them within their rooms. For more whiteboard information please see: Whiteboard documentation

  • Utilize a Timer during breakout sessions, give at least ten minutes for each breakout room to ensure there is time for participants to settle into their breakout room and transition to their topic. For more information: Timers in Breakout sessions

  • Provide wrap up time at the end, we recommend the 120 second wrap up time before they are brought back into the main room to wrap up their conversation. 

  • It often makes sense to have roles for participants in breakout rooms. Leave time for role selection if they are not assigned. For role ideas, please see: Assigning Student Roles in Breakout Rooms

Please also visit the Noteworthy Zoom Settings page to get a tour of the most useful settings on Zoom.

For more useful tips from the University of Illinois Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL): CITL Zoom Best Practices.



KeywordsGuide, "How to", "help with", "can I", procedures   Doc ID129746
OwnerMatthew M.GroupSchool of Information Sciences
Created2023-07-14 12:41:47Updated2024-05-23 15:07:12
SitesUniversity of Illinois School of Information Sciences
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