Using Zoom: In-Meeting Best Practices

During your class meeting, you may need to update or change your settings to allow students to perform certain tasks or limit inappropriate behaviours. This page walks through the different options available to you in meeting and familiarizes you to Zoom’s settings and features so you can better protect your virtual space when you need to. You may want to limit the functionality available to your students and only enable features required for those who need them. 

In-Meeting Security Options 

Within the security tab, there are several options to quickly adjust the settings of your meeting. The security tab can be found on the Zoom toolbar after the Audio and Video controls. 

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You can make the following adjustments within the Security Tab: 

1. Lock Meeting: Locking the meeting prevents any new participants from joining the meeting. This should only be used after you know that all expected participants have joined.

2. Enable Waiting Room: The waiting room can be toggled on and off from here. The type of waiting room (i.e., whether students entering from CourseLink can bypass) will be determined by the background settings you have. See Using Zoom: Account Setting Options.

3. Allow participants to:

  • Screen Share: This option should remain disabled unless students need to be able to screen share for an in-class presentation. This permission cannot be assigned to individuals. Once enabled, anyone can start the screen share. You can Stop Participant’s Sharing through the View Options of the screen share menubar, or by initiating your own screen share.

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  • Chat: If deselected, students cannot chat with you or other attendees. Additional options to fine tune who can chat and with who are available within the Chat tool.
  • Rename Themselves: This option should remain disabled unless needed for a pedagogical purpose.
  • Unmute Themselves: This option can be disabled during the lecture portion of an online class to minimize disruptions. During a discussion, this option can be enabled.

4. Remove Participant: This feature allows you to remove an attendee that is being disruptive in your class meeting. Removing a participant is also available through the Participants Tab. 

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The Participants Tab 

The Participants tab is a powerful section of Zoom that allows you to see who is in your meeting or waiting room, receive feedback from participants, mute participants, and remove participants, if necessary. This tab is next to the Security options.

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Admitting Students from the Waiting Room 

If you have the waiting room enabled, you will be prompted in the Participants tab to admit users to the class. This can be done by selecting Admit beside the name of the participant you want to allow to enter.

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1. If you have multiple participants waiting to enter, you will have the option to Admit All at one time.

2. To limit the number of students who must be admitted, you can update the waiting room settings on the Zoom website to allow students entering from CourseLink to bypass the waiting room altogether. See Using Zoom: Account Setting Options.

3. If you have the waiting room enabled, you may wish to ask students to enter by a certain time so you are not having to stop to admit students once your class has begun. Another option would be to have a TA or another instructor acting as a co-host to control this feature.

4. You can send messages to individual or all participants in the waiting room. This can allow you to confirm identities or ask an individual to sign back in with an appropriate account.

5. With the waiting room enabled, you may also want to enable the entry/exit chime to draw your attention when someone joins late or needs to reconnect.  

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Mute All Participants 

Meeting hosts can manage audio privileges in a meetingBefore beginning your lecture, you may want to ensure all participants are muted to limit distracting background noises or interruptions. At this time, you can also limit students’ ability to unmute themselves. 

1. Select Mute all.

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2. You will see the following window. If you do not want students to be able to unmute themselves, deselect Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves. Click Yes to close the panel. 

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3. Allowing participants to unmute themselves can be managed throughout the class through the More menu within the Participants tab.

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Managing Discussions with the Raised Hand Option 

Within the Participants tab, students have the option to raise their hand to get the attention of their Instructor or TA. When a student raises their hand, they are brought to the top of the Participants list, in the order in which they raised their hands. 

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You can call on a student to unmute themself or manually unmute them yourself to share their question or opinion. Students can then lower their hands themselves, or you can lower the raised hand by hovering over the student name and then clicking on Lower Hand. 

Nonverbal Feedback 

Students can also participate in class using nonverbal feedback options within the Participants tab.

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You can then see (and clear) non-verbal feedback from your participant window. 

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If you do not want students to have access to these tools, this can be disabled in the Zoom Settings on the website. See Using Zoom: Account Setting Options.

Disabling Participant Video and Removing Participants 

If a participant is being disruptive, you have a couple of options.

1. You can stop their video or remove them from the class. To access these options, hover over the individual’s name to reveal the More option; click More to reveal a list of options.

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2. Select Stop Video. This will disable the participant’s video connection. They will not be able to restart while they remain in the meeting.  

3. Select Remove from the list. By default, removed participants cannot rejoin the meeting. 

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4. These options are also available to you through the context menu (3 dots) on the participant’s video or name card in Gallery View. 

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The Chat Tab 

In-meeting Chat can be a powerful tool in a Zoom class, but it can also be misused. Instructors and TAs can tailor the chat function to best meet the needs of their classes. This setting can be updated at the beginning of a class meeting and changed throughout the meeting to best suit the needs of your course. 

To assist with the Chat, you may also consider having a TA or responsible class volunteer who can monitor the chat for you. This participant can then be unmuted and highlight or interject with important questions that arise. Additionally, you may choose to set expectations for your students around how you will interact with the chat; for example, students can ask you questions but you won’t be able to read them until the meeting has ended. You will start next class by responding to these questions. 

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1. If you would like to completely disable the chat function for students, select No One. 

2. If you would like students to be able to send the host (instructor or TA) messages, select Host Only. This is a good option if you would like students to send any questions they have about course content via the Chat. 

3. If you would like to allow students to have a discussion in the chat, select Everyone Publicly. Students will still be able to privately message you if they need to. 

4. Allowing Everyone Publicly and Privately should be used sparingly. 

The Screen Share Tab 

Screen sharing is often a critical piece of the Zoom classroom with instructors and TA sharing lecture slides, videos and whiteboards. 

1. When preparing to share your screen or whiteboard (if available), the settings can be adjusted by opening the context menu beside Share Screen. Go to Advanced Sharing Options. 

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2. Within the advanced sharing options, you can determine how many people can share and who can share. Leave One participant can share at a time and Only Host as the default. If you require students to be able to share their screen, adjust the Who setting to All participants. These settings can be updated throughout the meeting to allow for flexibility. 

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3. While you are screen sharing, the Zoom toolbar will move to the top of the screen. 

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4. If a student is screen sharing, the top panel looks a little different. If you need to stop a student’s screen share, open the View Options drop down and select Stop Participant’s Sharing. At this time, you should also update your sharing settings (see #2) to prevent All Participants from sharing. Additionally, to stop a student’s screen share, you as the host can share your own screen and then update the sharing settings. 

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1. A suite of annotations tools is available (if turned on). As a host, you can access this panel through the Annotate tab in the upper toolbar.

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2. Students are aware of this function and may choose to annotate over your screen share even when not prompted to do so. To control student access to annotations, hover over the More option at the right side of the panel to display the available options. From here you can Enable/Disable Annotations for Others. 

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3. You also have the option to See/Hide Names of Annotators. When enabled, this allows you to see the names of annotators as they are making annotations. The names do not remain attached to the annotations after a student has finished annotating. It is recommended to see the names of annotators when students have access to the annotation tools. 

4. Annotations remain on the screen when you change slides or move to a different screen share. To remove annotations, use the Clear option found second from the right within the annotation toolbar. You will also have the option to remove all annotations, just your annotations, or the annotations of attendees. Removing the annotations of attendees would allow for the removal of anything inappropriate while leaving your annotations intact. 

5. If you find that providing students with access to the annotation suite leads to inappropriate behaviours, consider moving the annotating activity to a discussion board in CourseLink. Students can be provided with a written or visual prompt to respond to. 

Reactions Options 

Reactions allows anyone in a Zoom meeting to react by selecting an emoji that will appear on their video feed or name place card in Gallery View. Reactions will disappear after 5 seconds. 

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If you do not want participants to have access to this tool, Reactions can be disabled in the Settings on the Zoom website. See Using Zoom: Account Setting Options.