Since the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been wary about opening, and instead relied on videoconferencing apps like Zoom to bring education to their students virtually. In fact, as of April 2020, over 90,000 schools across 20 countries worldwide have taken advantage of Zoom’s videoconferencing offerings, to continue educating students despite the pandemic lockdowns and shut downs.
So, if you want Zoom to work for you, when it comes to teaching virtually, then read on to learn the 7 best tips to run a virtual classroom on the platform!
- Have Video Turned Off By Default Upon Entering
“Before entering a Zoom session, be sure to have your video turned off by default,” says Brayden Hmelnitsky, a tech writer at State of writing and Oxessays. “Having your camera turned off upon launch allows you to better prepare for your virtual class. Or else, the camera will turn on when you launch the app.”
Just go to “Settings” (the cog icon). Then, select “Video” from the “Settings” menu. Afterwards, check the box “Turn off my video when joining meeting” under “Meetings.”
- Learn To Mute And Unmute
Muting and unmuting participants are important, especially when teaching a class via Zoom. Here are some scenarios to consider when deciding whether to mute or unmute participants:
- To mute all the participants, press “Manage Participants.” Then, on the next screen, click “Mute All,” which is located at the bottom of that screen.
- A shortcut to mute participants is press Alt+M (on Windows) or control+M (on Mac).
- To unmute participants, press Alt+M again (on Windows) or control+M again (on Mac).
- Have Mic Turned Off Before Entering
When entering an online class, it’s important to have your microphone muted. Once everyone is in the room, and you’re ready to teach, then you can turn your mic on. This step helps you:
- Prevent from broadcasting unnecessary noises and movement to your students, AND
- Keep any phone calls or conversations outside the “classroom” private
Once you’re ready, turn your mic on by clicking “Join audio” at the bottom left side of your screen. Or, you can use the shortcut Alt+A (on Windows) or Shift+Command+A (on Mac).
- Use Annotations
The Annotation feature is very essential, since it allows teachers to screen-share (letting meeting participants see your screen) what they’ve written or highlighted. In turn, students can see what’s “on the board” in the classroom.
Get started by clicking “Annotate” in the Zoom bar (at the top of your screen). You may want to play around with the tools (i.e. drawing, spotlighting, etc.) prior to hosting a Zoom.
- Enter Room Before Inviting Others To Join
“A Zoom meeting without a host may seem awkward to guests who join the session,” says Sebastian Croll, an educator at Essay Roo and Paper Fellows. “Therefore, if you’re hosting a virtual class, enter the room before your students do.”
Go to “Advanced Options.” The “Enable join before host” box should be left unchecked. Even if these options are already set as your default settings, be sure to check your settings regularly to ensure that you or your students don’t run into any joining issues later on.
- Enable Password Protection
Zoom enables users and hosts to require participants to enter a password for Room Meeting ID in Zoom Rooms. This initiative is to protect users online, especially teachers and students. When a session is password-protected, you’re preventing Zoombombing – of which How-To Geek defines as “when an uninvited person joins a Zoom meeting,” and spams offensive rhetoric, images, etc.
Therefore, when scheduling Zoom meetings with your students, do the following:
- Click “Schedule” on the main interface.
- Check the box saying “Require meeting password.”
- Create a unique password.
- Distribute this special password to all of your students.
To make your Zoom Room more secure, follow these steps:
- Go to “Advanced Sharing Options.”
- Then select “Only Host” under the “Who can share?” menu. (This prevents hackers from hacking the shared screen.)
- Use Breakout Rooms
Finally, you can allow students to work in groups on Zoom by utilizing the Breakout Rooms.
With Breakout Rooms, you can:
- Pre-assign room names
- Pre-assign students to said rooms
This allows students to work together virtually. And, you – the teacher – can manage each “room” during online lessons.
Zoom is – and always will be – open for online teaching, even after the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you want to make the best out of virtual teaching, then follow these 7 simple tips to better educate on Zoom.
Kristin Herman is a writer at UK Writings and Academized. She is also a contributing writer for online magazine and blogs, such as Boom Essays. As a marketing writer, she blogs about the latest trends in digital and social media marketing.