Setting up a Class in Zoom

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If you are new to Zoom, there are a lot of settings that are useful of being aware of when setting up a meeting. This article explores those settings, with guidance on what may be useful for your class.

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Note: This article examines creating meetings directly from within the Zoom online interface. In addition to creating meetings directly within Zoom, it is possible that you may also have features to create meetings integrated into a university-specific web interface (which may, for example, be necessary for your scheduled classes to appear to students on a learning platform that you may use). In such cases, although the options described below will likely be broadly similar, it probably makes sense to follow your university-specific guidance.

Setting up a meeting

Below describes the settings available for the meeting. Certain settings have a padlock sign, indicating that they cannot be adjusted. These settings have been locked by the account manager (i.e., your university), and will be locked to ensure that the options that you choose are consistent with university policy. 

Initial creation of the meeting

To create meeting, first click the ‘Meeting’ button and then ‘Schedule a New Meeting’

Scheduling a new Zoom meeting

Meeting title, description and timing

The first settings are basic information about the meeting. 

Meeting description setting when creating a Zoom meeting
Time setting when creating a Zoom meeting

If you select above to make the meeting recurring, you are presented with additional options to set the days of the subsequent meetings. In a recurring series, all meetings will use the same MeetingID,.

Example of a recurring Zoom meeting

Meeting ID

On creating the meeting you can either select to use an auto-generated meeting ID or the personal meeting ID. The key difference between the two is that the auto-generated is random and distinct for each meeting, whereas the personal meeting ID is assigned to you, and is the same each time used (i.e., the meeting link is identical each time).

For classes, it is better to use the auto-generated option. This means that if anyone gets your personal ID, they are not able to attempt to log onto the call. If for example that you have two back to back classes, using different meeting ID means that the students from the second class do not attempt to enter the room when the prior class is proceeding.  

Meeting ID setting when creating a Zoom meeting

Meeting Security

Meeting security allows you to specify that students must either enter a passcode to join the call or be let in via the waiting room. These options are designed to help reduce Zoombombing, where uninvited individuals join the call. While each =help lock down the call, they do have limitations that it is useful to be aware of:

  • Passcode: The passcode will be a random digit that the students need to enter which makes the entry process a little less smooth.
  • Waiting Room: Users must be manually accepted before joining. Although this is smoother and avoids a leak of the passcode, the disadvantage associated is that particularly for large classes (and at the start of the semester) it is difficult to verify whether they are actually students before admitting.

Beyond the settings above, perhaps the best way of avoiding security issues is to avoid publically posting the link to the class on the open internet, which increases the possibility of it being found by someone looking to cause disruption. 

Security setting when creating a Zoom meeting

Video settings on entry

The settings below indicate the default setting for the video when students enter the room. If you wish to ensure that students enable their video camera, then it is likely useful to set the default as on. For your own video, while personal preference, there are merits to disabling it on entry – allowing you to enter the meeting, get comfortable, and then turn it on. 

Note: it is currently not possible to prevent participants from sharing their webcam on regular Zoom meetings (although can be achieved with Zoom webinar). 

Video setting when creating a Zoom meeting

Audio

The audio settings are to determine whether users can call in via computers and/or telephone. If you wish to prevent the ability for individuals to call in on the telephone then this setting can be changed here.

Audio setting when creating a Zoom meeting

Additional Options

There are several other miscellaneous settings:

  • Enable join before host: This enables students to join before you as a host (e.g., if they are joining via a passcode). If you have a waiting room set up, this setting does not have any effect.
  • Mute participants on entry: For larger classes, where it unlikely to be desirable to have everyone with their microphone on at once do to problems associated with background noise, it likely makes sense to mute students on entry
  • Only authenticated users can join: When unchecked, it is not necessary to log into Zoom to join – ‘anonymous’ users are able to join by entering their name.
  • Breaking rooms pre-assigned: This option enables you to upload a spreadsheet to assign users to specific breakout rooms based on their email addresses (potentially useful if you have designated groups for group project work).
  • Record the meeting automatically in the cloud: If you are recording your class (e.g., so student sare able to re-watch if they miss class), make sure to enable this option. 
Additional Zoom meeting options

Alternative Host

If you are co-teaching the class, or have a teaching assistant on the call, it is possible to designate an alternative host, who will be able to start the call in advance of you joining. 

Specifiying an alternative host for a Zoom meeting

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