Take some time to familiarize yourself with Zoom before you hold class for the first time. 

Get Organized 

Set up your Zoom meeting link and distribute it to your students. If you plan to hold class (or office hours, or some other recurring meeting time) over Zoom, schedule your meeting as a recurring meeting so you can use the same URL for every meeting. 

Prevent non-CU participation in your Zoom meetings by requiring CU authentication to join your class Zoom, or read about other meeting security options from OIT

Consider enabling live, automated captions for your Zoom meetings to allow students additional ways to engage with the course content. 

Let your students know what they should do if they have issues with internet connectivity during a Zoom session and need to re-connect. Posting the class Zoom link in a shared space (a Canvas page, for instance) allows students to rejoin without needing to contact you. Students can also join a Zoom call via telephone, provided they have the Meeting ID, if they cannot connect via internet. 

Put handouts, problem sets, instructions for group activities, or anything your students will need for class that day in one place (in Canvas or in a shared Google Drive folder). Clearly label everything!

Set Expectations 

In the remote environment, be clear about your expectations for student attendance and engagement. Establish expectations for how you want your students engaging in class. When answering a question, do you want them to raise hands via the participant window and wait for you to call on them? Or simply unmute their microphone and jump into the conversation? Be aware that wait times after you’ve posed a question may be even longer over Zoom than in your usual classroom. 

You can start out your class by displaying this slide that can be modified to outline your expectations. 

Walk your students through various Zoom functions and tools. Your students may want to toggle between speaker view and gallery view so they can see their classmates. If a screen is being shared, they can enable side-by-side mode to see more participants. Point out how to raise a hand, use the chat window, or any other tool you want them using during class. Read more about engaging students via Zoom here

Video Use

Be thoughtful about requiring video use in your courses. Internet access and quality varies, and students may be one of several members of their household attempting to work, attend class, or study via the internet at any given time. Survey your students at the outset of your course to find out more about their availability and connectivity. Consider alternate methods of engaging your students.

Internet reliability can vary, even when only one device is connected to a household’s internet. You may see a message from Zoom indicating your connection is unstable, or your or participants’ videos may momentarily freeze. Try the following tips to improve connectivity for you and your students. 

  • Whenever possible, connect to your internet via an ethernet cable, not via Wi-Fi, to improve stability. (You cannot control your students’ internet connections, though. They may experience connectivity issues.) 
  • Ask if others in your household can pause or decrease their internet use while you teach
  • Allow students with limited bandwidth to call in to a Zoom meeting 
  • Provide static resources whenever you can. For example, you can send students your slides in advance, if you plan to screen share a presentation. 
  • Try to minimize the amount of content students need to download or upload. Share a video over Canvas or Google Drive and allow students to access there, instead of playing it over Zoom or asking them to download. 

Screen Sharing 

You can share your screen – either your entire desktop or one application window open on your computer – with your students. Share a slide deck as you would when in person, or share images or papers to direct a class conversation. 

Test out screen sharing in a Zoom meeting before you hold class with your students. Zoom controls and buttons move around for the person sharing a screen, so your view will be a bit different than when you are simply a meeting participant. 

Sharing your screen does not share your Zoom menus and controls. If you are screen sharing and you open the chat window, your students will not be able to see your chat window. 

Read more about screen sharing on Zoom's help website. The page includes a short video demonstrating how to share your screen. 

Managing Class 

Enlist a TA or LA, if your course has them, or an OIT Technology Copilot, to help you manage the chat window or monitor the participant window for raised hands. If you do not have TAs, LAs, or a Copilot, you can ask for a student volunteer to help you out, and rotate that responsibility among your students each class session. 

The meeting host has a number of additional controls to help class run smoothly. Mute all participants (you can also set your meeting up to mute participants upon entry) if background noise interferes with discussion. 

There have been a number of reports of “Zoombombing,” in which someone joins your Zoom meeting and disrupts it, sometimes inappropriately. Prevent non-CU participation in your Zoom meetings by requiring CU authentication to join your class Zoom, and be aware of other actions you can take if a student disrupts class. The Student Classroom and Course-Related Behavior Policy is in effect regardless of teaching modality.