This guide highlights some of the features of Zoom, the video communications application, which allows for a wide range of different online synchronous and asynchronous activities. Zoom has become popular for teaching online mainly because of its ease of use and breakout rooms function. Students do not need an account to attend a Zoom meeting or teaching session, and it is compatible with devices using Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android technology.
Use Zoom for teaching
Zoom’s main use for teaching is for live (synchronous) virtual video/audio sessions with students. This includes using Zoom for:
- online adaptations of the traditional face-to-face lecture,
- as well as more interactive and peer-to-peer teaching sessions, such as workshops or smaller groups sessions, where students and the lecturer can share their screens.
- Zoom also allows other collaborative activities including creating breakout (seminar) rooms. How to use breakout rooms is covered in a separate guide - Using breakout rooms in Zoom.
All of these types of activities can be recorded.
Zoom contributes to Community in that it provides an accessible platform that students can use for peer-to-peer activity, including working together collaboratively and on co- or extra-curricular activities, as well as working with their lecturers.
Zoom has another useful feature for online teaching in that it allows you to create teaching materials, specifically by pre-recording your own short onscreen presentations, to be used either asynchronously on Moodle, or as an element of the content to show within Zoom as part of a live session.
Here is a four-minute video of how you can do this:
Zoom has other value-added functions including:
- a polling function for asking for feedback and general engagement;
- co-hosting functions, which are useful for sharing a session with a guest speaker;
- the production of ‘attendance’ reports;
- a choice of virtual backgrounds for greater student and staff privacy.
Zoom’s wide range of functionality means that it could contribute to Consistency if a programme adopted Zoom alongside Moodle as the main technologies they use in the teaching and learning environments. This would mean that students can develop their use of, and feel familiar with, the technologies.
A Zoom account is not required if you are joining Zoom Meetings as a participant.
You do need an account to create your own meetings and send invitations to participants. Having a Zoom account allows you to create either instant meetings/sessions or to schedule teaching sessions for a module.
Zoom have created an extensive set of resources on their website, but if you don’t have time this video deals with the basics that a lecturer might want to know (start video at 11 minutes 30 seconds).
In Zoom, select the option to turn on closed captions. If you forget to do this, the video repository solution will also allow you to add captions after the recording has been made.
Sound and video quality are considered better than Google Meet
Finally Zoom also allows participants to text privately on Chat, not just with the whole group.
Ensure all relevant activities are added to the Student Study Plan for the module in question.
All online resources should be compatible with the UK Digital Accessibility Standards 2020. See Creating Digitally Accessible Learning and Teaching Materials Brookes Moodle course.
Use the Blackboard Ally tool to help check the accessibility of the content you have prepared (available within Moodle late July - early August 2020).