Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows users to speak with others in different locations by streaming audio and video. The tool is accessible from a computer or a smartphone, and it is possible to invite non-Georgetown affiliated people to join the virtual meeting. The Zoom interface includes a variety of features such as chat, screen sharing, annotation tools, and breakout rooms to enhance communication, as well as the option to record.
Zoom provides an online platform for faculty to facilitate interactive online meetings or course sessions. Faculty often use Zoom for instructional continuity in face-to-face courses during disruptive weather and to host synchronous (live) sessions in fully online courses. The screen sharing and on-screen chat functions help to keep students engaged in a conversation and in the course content.
Georgetown faculty are expected to maintain instructional activities during unforeseen campus disruptions to course schedules, such as inclement winter weather. Many faculty choose to hold virtual class sessions using Zoom. Zoom meetings can be setup directly in Zoom or in Canvas. (It is also possible to create Zoom meetings using Google Calendar with a Chrome extension.) It is advisable for faculty to review their instructional continuity plan with students early in the semester.
Video conferencing opens up your classroom to a world of guest speakers. It is possible to have individuals or panels at one or more locations join your students for a presentation or conversation. Using Zoom, it is also possible to easily record the session to make it available to future semesters of students. Extending the definition of “guest speakers,” some faculty have used Zoom to have their class meet with students at other universities for cross-institution collaboration or virtual conferences.
In the past, recording student presentations with both the students and the slides visible involved setting up a camera in front of a classroom projector, and the lighting made it difficult to see both the student and the screen. Using Zoom, students can record professional-looking presentations, with the slides taking up the larger center-portion of the screen and a small headshot of the speaker to the side.
One of students most frequent complaints about group work is the inconvenience of meeting outside of class. Zoom is available to all members of the Georgetown community, including students, so they can set up virtual meetings with their peers. In a whole class Zoom session, it is also possible to assign students into groups using Zoom breakout sessions. After giving the entire class instructions, use breakout sessions to divide up students for group activities, and then pull them back into the main session to debrief as a whole class.
The UIS Zoom support site offers some quick tips for getting started. Learn more about using Zoom for teaching during campus disruptions at Georgetown’s Instructional Continuity page. For a consultation on teaching with Zoom, including best practices, please contact CNDLS