Remote virtual learning has become the new normal for many teachers, administrators, students and parents. While the transition may not be easy, it’s important to ensure users are creating secure and effective virtual classrooms using videoconferencing solutions such as Zoom.

Here are the top 10 most frequently asked questions about using Zoom for virtual education and online learning.

1. Should I use Zoom Meetings or Zoom Video Webinars to host a class?

Both meetings and webinars are great ways to connect and engage with large audiences and even collect valuable insights by requiring registration. However, meetings and webinars have key differences:

  • Meetings are designed to be highly collaborative, giving attendees the ability to use audio and video, share their screen and annotate in a live, interactive environment.
  • Webinars give you more power to manage the audience. Instead of interacting over video and audio, webinar attendees interact with the host and each other via the Q&A and chat panel. 

Meetings can be useful for a hands-on, collaborative classroom environment where students can engage directly with the content being shared and with each other. Webinars are great for online lectures where students can listen, view content and submit questions via the Q&A feature.

To help you decide which is better for you, check out this side-by-side feature comparison of Zoom licensed meetings and webinar accounts:

2. What are best practices for setting up a virtual classroom?

Here are some recommendations to help you create a secure and productive virtual classroom:

  • Require passwords: Create a meeting or webinar password and share it with your students to ensure that only guests with the password are able to join your virtual classroom.
  • Require registration: For both meetings and webinars, you can require registration to see who has signed up to join your class. You can also manually approve each registrant to help evaluate who will attend your class.
  • Enable Waiting Rooms: Waiting Rooms prevent participants from joining a meeting automatically and are enabled by default for those enrolled in Zoom’s K-12 program. You can admit each participant individually or all participants at once. You can also allow students who are signed in via your school’s domain to skip the Waiting Room, while attendees that aren’t part of your school’s domain must be admitted individually.
  • Disable screen sharing: For education users, the screen sharing settings are defaulted to allow only the host to share a screen. This prevents attendees from sharing unwanted or distracting content. To allow your attendees to share content, you can adjust this setting or toggle in-meeting sharing in the Security icon.
  • Disable private chat: The host has the ability to lock the chat so attendees cannot privately message each other. Students can still chat with the teacher.
  • Manage participants: If an unwanted guest has joined your class, remove that participant with controls in the Security icon.
  • Lock your meeting: You can also lock the meeting right from the Security icon to prevent other attendees from joining once the meeting has started. This feature not only keeps out unwanted guests, but it is also great for enforcing a tardiness policy.

3. How do I ensure my classroom is secure?

There are a number of features and settings that are enabled by default and can be utilized on the fly to ensure your Zoom classrooms are secure.

Within your meeting, the Security icon is your all-in-one place to quickly find and enable security features. This feature allows a host or co-host to:

  • Lock the meeting
  • Enable the Waiting Room
  • Remove participants
  • Restrict participants’ ability to screen share, chat, rename themselves and annotate

As an additional layer of security, Waiting Rooms and meeting passwords are enabled by default for free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts, and accounts in Zoom’s K-12 program. The meeting password requirement cannot be changed for those K-12 accounts.

4. How do I take classroom attendance?

One way to take attendance during your online class is to require registration so you can review the registration report to see who registered and who actually attended. Another way to take attendance is by launching a poll during class. You can later export that poll report to know who attended your class based on who responded to the poll.

5. How do I see all my students on video?

With Zoom you have the ability to see up to 49 people on video in Gallery View. Simply enable this feature in your video settings. Have more than 49 students? No problem! View up to 1,000 thumbnails by clicking the right or left arrows in Gallery View to show another 49 participants.

6. How do I set up breakout rooms?

Breakout rooms give you the ability to split your class into as many as 50 separate sessions, which are great for group-based activities or assignments. Within each breakout room, participants have full audio, video and sharing capabilities. Each room can also alert the host when help is needed, and the host can visit any of the breakouts to assist and answer questions.

To use this feature, be sure to enable breakout rooms in your meeting settings. Then, you can either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups.

7. How do I share my screen?

Screen sharing allows you to share slides, videos and other valuable content with your students. You can also give students access to screen sharing so they can present their own work. To share your screen, just click the green “Share Screen” icon and select what you would like to share. If you are sharing a video, be sure to click the “Share Computer Sound” checkbox.

Screen sharing also allows you to share a secondary camera in a Zoom session. This means you can share from a doc camera, which is similar to an overhead projector. Check out Zoom’s integration with Kaptivo, which allows you to capture and share content on a physical whiteboard digitally.

8. How do I annotate? Who else can annotate?

When you are sharing your screen, you have the ability to draw, type and add stickers onto your shared content. The host also has the ability to allow participants to annotate on their screen. This is a great way to engage and collaborate with your students.

When sharing your screen, you can also share a whiteboard. This is just like a whiteboard you would have in your classroom, with a blank digital page that you and your attendees can use to work on problems together.

9. What features are available on a Chromebook?

Hosting and joining meetings on a Chromebook gives you access to most of the features you would have on other devices. All you have to do is join your meetings via the Zoom application found in the Chrome web store. The main differences with a Chromebook are that polling, whiteboard, annotation and remote control are unavailable.

10. Can I host and join meetings on a mobile device?

With Zoom, you have access to the same reliable and seamless meeting experience on your mobile device as you would with other devices. However, some in-meeting controls, such as creating and launching polls, starting breakout rooms and controlling who screen shares, aren’t available on a mobile device. The Gallery View is also limited on smartphones and tablets.

To learn more about Zoom solutions, please visit CDW.ca/Zoom

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