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Online tools, Best practices and FAQs

A page to highlight suggestions and next practices for using online tools.

Online tools best practices, information, and FAQs - The Big 3 Resources 

Technology Services will update this page regularly as we learn new tips or have updates, so please come back here if you need guidance.  (New updates: 15 April 2020)

While online tools are ubiquitous and appear easy to use, there are some settings and practices that will make the experience smoother for you and your students or meeting attendees. In this page we will cover the Big 3 of online interaction: 

If you are starting from the beginning with online teaching, or need some ideas, we recommend you consult the Keep Teaching site, which will help direct you to a solution that best fits your teaching mode.

Current system outages and status messages can be found at

Covid-19 response

In this period of response to Covid-19, we strongly urge you to consider the student experience when offering anything online. While typically on-campus students are unlikely to be concerned about bandwidth, in these times of everyone working and learning remotely there may be less available bandwidth for the student or for you. Much depends on internet provider caps, shared bandwidth from a provider, or many family members sharing the same connectivity. We are also seeing unprecedented demand for resources from schools across the world, so we ask you to consider best practices for working online. The following suggestions address some of this.

 Real time synchronous sessions

Synchronous, real-time class sessions can help a student feel more engaged and connected. These sessions work best for smaller, discussion based sections, rather than for lectures. If you have never taught a large class online, it can be a daunting task at first to balance teaching with responding to student questions and comments. 

Much of the academic world has announced they intend to use Zoom to replace face to face learning, so there will be periods of sluggishness or service interruption. To reduce load on the service we offer the following recommendations and best practices.
  • Please do not use Zoom just to record yourself lecturing. Zoom is best used as a live session tool. There are many other tools better suited to recording and delivery (see below or
  • Illinois IT and educational technology staff recommend real time only for course sections under 100 participants.
  • Live sessions for lectures and discussion sections MUST meet at the scheduled time listed in the course timetable. You cannot reschedule a lecture time, per the Provost's office.

Zoom Getting Started:

  • Added April 28, 2020
    • On Saturday, May 30 Zoom is doing a forced update to Zoom 5.0. This update affects Mac and Windows desktop clients. You can update your Zoom client starting today. If you have not updated your Zoom client by May 30 you will not be able to join a Zoom session until your client is updated. Visit the Zoom Download Center to download the latest client. 
      • Future versions released after 5.0.0 will be backwards compatible to version 5.0.0. 
    • Impacts:
      • External Users
        • Indication of an external user:
          • Users will have the label “External” next to their name if they are not part of the Illinois Zoom domain ( This label will be displayed in one on one messages and in the user’s profile details when you hover over their profile picture and in the channel members list.
          • If you signed up with Zoom using Facebook, Google, etc. your account will be listed as “External”. You are encouraged to access your Illinois Zoom account at and log into the client using your NetID and password.
        • Prevent private chatting with channel members outside of Zoom account or organization
          • Users will no longer be able to privately chat with other members of the same channel if they are not using an account. To continue chatting with contacts outside of your Zoom account, you can add them as external contacts
      • Copied URL will not include password if the web setting Embed password in meeting link for one-click join is disabled
        • If the host has the web setting Embed password in meeting link for one-click join disabled in the Zoom web portal, the Zoom client will no longer include the password in the URL when inviting new participants.
        • In this instance, session hosts will need to provide the password to attendees, who will have to enter it manually.
      • Report a user during a meeting
        • The meeting host can now report a user during a meeting by clicking on the Security icon, then Report. This feature will generate a report which will be sent to the Zoom Trust and Safety team to evaluate any misuse of the platform and block a user if necessary.
        • Illinois Zoom customers should also report any inappropriate behavior or security concerns to the Privacy and Security team at:  
      • Added Security
        • Zoom will transition from AES-256 ECB to AES-256 GCM encryption for sessions.  
  • Added April 15, 2020
    • On Saturday, April 11 Zoom implemented and enabled a new setting which automatically created a password when cloud recordings were made using the “Record to the Cloud” option. Any recordings that were saved locally then uploaded to a different file sharing service were not impacted. Technology Services discovered the setting on Wednesday, April 15, and turned the setting off for all Illinois customers so it will not be an issue moving forward.
    • When a customer wants to access a cloud recording created between 4/11 and 4/15, he or she needs to enter the password to view the content unless the recorder has updated the setting to remove the password requirement. 
    • To remove the password and make the content available without a password, the content owner must visit the Access Cloud Recording Settings in their Zoom account and update the settings. Steps to complete this change can be viewed on the Zoom support page. Review the Viewing cloud recording settings section and the Settings for recording sections.
  • Added April 8, 2020
    • The newest version of the Zoom desktop client (4.6.10) is available.  If you are not prompted to upgrade to the newest version of the desktop client, follow the instructions in this KnowledgeBase articleto upgrade manually.  For release notes please see the Zoom support articles below:
    • Features included in the new versions are:
      • A new security menu is present for the meeting host and co-hosts.
      • File sharing is re-enabled.
      • Zoom Security Menu
  • Added April 7, 2020
    • A new setting has been added to users accounts: "Only authenticated users can join meetings from Web client".  Please use this setting with caution.  When enabled, users who click an meeting URL, and join via the web client will be prompted for their UIUC netid and password.  This is because the meeting URL is listed as:, as opposed to a generic Zoom meeting URL.  If this setting is enabled, users external to the university can still join the meeting via the web client, but they must navigate to and log in to their own personal account, after which they will be prompted for the meeting ID and password if required.   
  • Added April 5, 2020
    • The Zoom web client has been brought back online.  All users will need to have authenticated (logged in) before joining meetings via the web client.  If users do not have an account, they will need to sign up for one at, or, if eligible, log into  Staff, Students and Faculty members of the UIUC campus are eligible for UIUC Zoom accounts at . For release notes please see the Zoom support article below:
  • Added April 4, 2020
    • News reports have noted that on April 5 Zoom will enforce password protection and waiting rooms by default for basic and pro accounts. The University of Illinois has an Education account, and waiting rooms will not be forced on your account. A reminder that we enabled password protection on accounts by default March 31, but you will need to add passwords to sessions created prior to March 31. You have the option to enable waiting rooms on your individual account, but we do not recommend it for large classes and meetings as they are less effective if you do not know the participants. Someone will also need to monitor the waiting room for late arriving participants if this is enabled. Zoom waiting room information:
  • Added April 3, 2020: Zoom web client maintenance and Zoom file sharing removed
    • Zoom disabled its web client. Customers cannot join a meeting by clicking "Join from a browser". They must use the desktop or mobile client.
    • Zoom removed file sharing capabilities from all previously-scheduled to-be-scheduled meetings. The feature is removed from host and attendees clients. It is unclear if this is a temporary or permanent change.
    • We recommend using U of I Box or Google Drive to share files.
  • Updated Added April 4, 2020: A security vulnerability discovered in Zoom
    • There are reports of a security vulnerability in Zoom that involves clicking an external link within chat. Reports state that your Windows credentials can be passed along to a malicious actor.
    • Do NOT follow the advice of blogs and websites that suggest you alter Windows settings.
    • To protect yourself, do not click a link in a chat window that begins with \\
    • Do not click a link in chat unless you absolutely know and trust the sender.
    • Follow our recommendations at
    • Update Zoom in Windows when asked to do so. Zoom update for Windows 4.6.9, released April 2, fixes this security vulnerability. If your computer is managed by a campus IT unit, the update will be applied for you.
  • Edited March 31, 2020: Zoom Session password protection, unwanted meeting intruders, aka "Zoombombing"
    • As Zoom usage has grown, a new risk has emerged. Institutions have experienced situations where unknown persons are joining unsecured Zoom meetings and causing disruptions. We need to take action to prevent similar intrusions.We strongly encourage all Zoom meeting organizers to enable password protection for meetings and classes. Existing Zoom invitations will need to be modified to require a password and shared out with attendees. Only the meeting organizer can make changes to existing invitations.
    • The process to manually modify security settings is available at
    • To modify a previously scheduled session and add a password:
    • Beginning March 31, 2020, all newly created Zoom meetings will require a password by default. Meeting organizers and course instructors will need to share this password with attendees ahead of the Zoom meeting. The following settings were set to ON as the default:
      • Require a password when scheduling new meetings
      • Require a password for instant meetings
      • Require a password for Personal Meeting ID (PMI)
      • Embed password in meeting link for one-click join
      • Require password for participants joining by phone

Best practices for live sessions

  • DO NOT share video over a Zoom session, such as playing a YouTube or Kaltura file. Provide the students with a link to the media to let them play it on their own. Our Big 10 peers are reporting this is a significant problem for students on a slower internet connection. It causes their session to slow down or crash. While this may work most of the time for you, in our current state it is highly discouraged.
  • Log in via the Illinois Zoom portal. You have access to a license that allows meetings over 40 minutes. The free version is limited. Log in at
  • Consider turning your camera on at the beginning, welcoming students, and then switching off until the end of class. Encourage students to reduce camera use as well. This will make the experience less personal, but will assist the students with a slower internet connection. 
  • Ask students to mute themselves, or mute all of them as the moderator, while you speak to avoid background noise.
  • If you have a TA, have them monitor questions so you can teach.
  • Set social norms for the students, asking them to raise a virtual hand and take turns.
  • We discourage the use or call in numbers, internet audio calls are more reliable at this time.
  • If you record your session, save it locally and then upload the file (to Kaltura, Zoom, or elsewhere). By saving the file locally you will have a copy of what you are saying to share, if your internet connection lags or fails.
  • “Enable Join Before Host”.  If this is enabled along with “Record the meeting automatically: In the cloud”, you may get several unwanted recordings initiated by those joining the meeting to test the connection outside the normal meeting time.
  • Best practices for meetings and sessions:


Q: An unknown person joined my Zoom session and disrupted my meeting/class. What can I do?
A: Send an email to and include the id of your meeting. make sure your future sessions are password protected. If your session was password protected and this still happened, you can enable "Only authenticated users can join" to your account in Zoom. This will restrict access to only those who log into the Illinois Zoom portal. It will not allow external partners or presenters to join if this setting is enabled for a session.

Q:  I tried to schedule a meeting from Compass2g or Moodle but got an error message when I tried to open the Zoom tool.
A: You need to use your licensed account that is linked to your email address. Log in to

Q: Do I need to require students to log in to the single sign on to use Zoom (via
A: It is not required but highly recommended. 

Q: If I am recording the Zoom session do I need the consent of the students?
A: You should tell them at the start of every recorded session that you are recording it, and then make sure to password protect the content when it is made available on-demand (through Kaltura or a link in the LMS)

Q: May I record one on one conversations?
A: No, this is not recommended at all.

Q: What tools other than Zoom are available to use for live sessions?
A: We recommend using University supported tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate, or Google Hangouts

For more detailed Questions and Answers, see the Zoom FAQ page

Known Issues with Zoom

  • Reported 3/17/2020: Cloud recordings are experiencing lengthy delays. You should always record to your local computer whenever possible.

 Recorded Content

Asynchronous content is best for lectures and tutorial videos. Recorded content is recommended for classes over 100 students; lectures without discussion; and content the students may need to review again. Asynchronous recordings help instructors because you can create the content when you have time. Recordings benefit the students because they play back better on slower internet connections, and they are useful for students that need to listen at a slower pace, or listen twice to understand the content. When viewing a recorded stream, the student will not miss any content if their internet connection is interrupted. Your recorded content can be posted to password protected pages that only the enrolled students can see.

The supported campus service for video/audio content creation is Kaltura, also known as MediaSpace. MediaSpace is a "You Tube like" portal, but without commercials, and you can restrict content to anyone with a netid or to specific course rosters. If you are using a Compass or Moodle space, you can use Kaltura content in the course shell and avoid the MediaSpace portal.

Best practices for recordings
  • Recorded content works best with short form media, less than 5-7 minutes long. 
    • Try breaking your lectures into shorter segments to hold the attention of students.
    • Additionally, if there is a technical error, there is less to re-record.
    • Videos uploaded for internet streaming need to be processed, or transcoded. Shorter video files will be available for you to publish sooner than long videos. If you upload a long form video, don't expect it to be available immediately. An hour long lecture may take an hour or more if your connection is slow.
    • Long duration recordings may take a significant amount of time to upload, depending on your available internet speeds. The upload may time out and force you to start over.
  • Always do a 10 second test to confirm the audio and video settings are working properly. Learning a microphone is on mute or unplugged can be frustrating after you record content.
  • Use a good microphone and speak clearly with it close to you. Run a few tests to make sure the audio is clear. Poor audio is frustrating to students.
  • Recorded content works best with lecture type content. Screen recording will let you record Powerpoints, PDF, or websites with your voice over the content. 
  • Consider recording with a camera or desktop capture, but not both at this time. Recording one source will reduce bandwidth requirements for the viewers.
  • When recording your desktop, or using a webcam, consider what others will see on your desktop, browser tabs, or on the wall behind you.
  • Record content locally and then upload it, no matter what tool you are using to record. If a cloud recording is interrupted, you may lose the content. If you save the recording and upload it later, you have a copy.
  • Slower, older computers may not be able to record motion on your screen, or full screen video. If you experience trouble with poor quality screen recordings, consider recording a smaller area of the screen. 
  • Added March 25, 2020: A handful of students and instructors using xFinity advanced security features have been experiencing errors with Kaltura in Compass. Suggestions for troubleshooting or work-arounds:
  • Updated March 31, 2020: As a result of unprecedented increases in demand for video, we have seen slower upload and processing times with Kaltura. Please expect a longer wait time for uploads and processing of media. Kaltura has added additional resources, but there may still be a backlog. Please also note that your available upload speed and the duration of the video will also impact the amount of time required to upload content to Kaltura. You can check your connection speeds at
    • Monday and Tuesday are the busiest day of the week for uploads and video playback. If you are able, upload content on Friday or Saturday
    • Kaltura has a known backlog of uploads and processing of videos, and have deployed additional resources to address the issue.
Q: Why shouldn't I use YouTube for my lectures?
A: We don’t recommend YouTube for course content for a number of reasons. We do not have the terms and conditions agreement with Google for YouTube, and the YouTube terms of service effectively declare that they own the content or rights to it. Additionally they could monetize the content. It is recommended that you restrict access to course content due to copyright clearance and intellectual property concerns as well.

Q: Are any University resources available to help me record lectures?
A: Yes, at this time. Visit for a complete list. Options include empty classrooms with a camera, studio space, and classrooms equipped with automated lecture capture. You can also email to schedule a space. Only a few general assignment classrooms will be open during this time. Several departmental spaces equipped for recording may also be available, check with your local IT support team too. This is subject to change at any point, dependent on guidelines for quarantine.

Q: My class is already scheduled to record in a classroom, will that continue?
A: Check with the team that scheduled the recording. General assignment classroom recordings scheduled prior to 22 March 2020 are cancelled. For Gies, Engineering, or Law, check with your local support.

Q: Unknown users are appearing in my channel or media assets, giving them access to view my content. What should I do?
A: Send a ticket to This issue was reported to Kaltura and a fix will be deployed April 5, and hopefully the issue goes away then.

 Learning Management System (LMS)

Different colleges and units recommend specific tools, and we recommend you check with your local support for advice. In general we are directing LAS faculty to Moodle, and Compass 2g (Blackboard Learn) is available to all instructors. 

Using an LMS such as Compass or Moodle can make your life easier and help students find course content. Students become frustrated when they cannot find a course web site, but a live course in Compass or Moodle is visible to students when they log in. The course notes and assignments are available in a common location. Videos can be posted so that only your students can see them, without additional work to password protect the media. Even if you only use the LMS to post lecture slides or readings, students will benefit.

Best practices for LMS use

If you need support or have additional questions, contact the Technology Services Help Desk at

Keywords:teaching working online best practices zoom kaltura compass lms   Doc ID:99148
Owner:Drew M.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2020-03-19 17:18 CDTUpdated:2020-04-28 15:20 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
Feedback:  1   1