Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing app that is used to set up video and audio conferencing, messaging, live chats, webinars, and many more. Many institutions provide online teaching using Zoom or other video conferencing softwares but Zoom is one of the best software for such purposes as Zoom has many advantages over other softwares. You can find many other online teaching platforms in the article below:
Best Virtual Classroom Software to Teach Online
Some of the benefits of Zoom meetings are:
Benefits of using Zoom
Zoom is very useful because of its easy-to-use interface. Earlier online meetings were very rare and online teaching didn’t even exist but now many institutions, businesses, and organizations have introduced online classes, and schools and colleges have started online teaching where they teach by video conferencing to the students using applications like Zoom, Google Meet, MeritHub, etc.
Zoom can be used for lectures, discussions, virtual office hours, presentations, or a place to meet with students. The paid features of Zoom are very affordable although the main features of Zoom are free. Zoom provides Hd audio and video quality along with an online whiteboard. Hence, Zoom is one of the best video conferencing applications available worldwide.
An easy-to-use guide for using Zoom for teaching online classes is provided below:
Zoom application can be downloaded on any device. Teachers prefer the desktop version of the Zoom application which can be downloaded from https://zoom.us/download for windows., mac, or any other major operating system. One can also run Zoom on a web browser and even on android or apple phones by installing it from the play store or apple store respectively.
After opening Zoom on the device, the person using the application needs to sign in for using the application which can be done using an existing Google account, or one can create a new ID and sign up on Zoom. Signing up requires some basic information like date of birth, name, place for individuals, and for an organization, it also asks some basic information about the organization.
After signing in to the Zoom account there are 3 options to start a meeting-
(i) New meeting - This function instantly starts a new meeting and also creates a meeting ID that may be given to the students to join the meeting.
(ii) Join - This function lets you join an already existing meeting and you can directly join the meeting if you have the meeting link or meeting ID.
(iii) Schedule- This function lets you schedule a meeting for a fixed date and time so that the students and teachers can join the meeting using this option on that particular date and time.
Zoom provides an easy-to-use interface and lots of features to make online teaching interesting like high definition audio and video, meeting recordings, sharing screen, live chats, virtual hand raising, polling, and so on. While taking online-class on Zoom a teacher must know some basic features of Zoom to have a smooth experience of online teaching. The key features of the Zoom application are given below along with a how-to-use guide.
(i) Mute button
The mute button is used to mute or unmute the teacher or the participants. The teacher(or the host or co-host) can mute any participant whenever needed and can even remove any participant. This feature is very useful when any inappropriate activity is done during the meeting.
You can find the mute button on the left corner of the Zoom meeting and by clicking on the mute/unmute button you can unmute yourself. To mute the participants, you need to click the cursor on the participant's icon and then select the participant you want to mute by hovering the mouse on his name, then click on the mute icon placed beside the participant’s name.
(ii) Video On/Off
The video on/off button is placed in the left corner of the Zoom meeting just near the mute button. It helps to open or close the camera of the device which enables you to turn on or turn off your video in the meeting. The video on feature is an important feature since it helps in making the meeting more interactive as it provides face-to-face communication between the teacher and the class. Through video, teachers can also teach students about various body language gestures which is very important for the personal development of a student.
The Security feature is used to take a check on the unnecessary activities that could happen during an online meeting. The security feature of Zoom allows the host to cancel any activities of the students like live chat, screen sharing, etc. The security features can be used when some students are misbehaving or disturbing the whole class and it can avoid such situations and give more power to the host of the meeting.
Security icon can be found on the navigation bar which is at the bottom of the screen. By clicking on the security icon many options open up and the teacher can select what type of security he needs for the meeting.
The participants icon on the bottom of the screen can be used to see all the people present in the meeting. By clicking on the participants icon a small window appears in the meeting presenting the list of participants and various options are available for each participant. From the participant list, the host or co-host can add or remove any participant and can also mute the participants.
The chat feature in Zoom meetings helps us to chat online so that teachers and students can interact. Zoom allows to chat privately with one participant or to chat to the whole class at the same time which makes the live chat much more flexible. The Zoom chat feature allows chatting in the text as well as emoticons are also available. The chat section also provides an option to drop any file like any pdf or ppt from the hosts’ device which is a great feature to share the content with the students. Chat option also has options to control the chats like the host can decide who is allowed to chat like only the host and co-hosts or everyone.
(vi) Share Screen
Screen sharing is the practice of sharing the content of one device to all the participants present. It simply means that whichever screen is being shared is visible to everyone on their devices. The share screen option in Zoom meeting is available at the bottom navigation bar. Using this option teachers can show various content of the lecture to all the students in the meeting, hence during lectures teachers often share their screen to present the ppt or pdf files they have made for their students which makes the meeting more interactive.
Screen sharing involves various options too. One can share only one tab of the screen as well as the full screen too. In Zoom we can restrict the number of screens shared at one time while the host has the power that can stop anyone to share their screen.
The record option at the bottom of the Zoom meeting helps to record the meeting for later use. This feature is very helpful as the students not present in a particular class can learn from the recorded lectures afterward.
The access of the recording will be either to your computer or to the zoom cloud depending on the active plan tier you have. Recording to local computers can be seen only on personal computers and not on android on iOS. Recordings of paid Zoom accounts will be available on the Zoom cloud interface and can be accessed by any device having the login credentials of the Zoom account. Auto recording can also be selected which helps to record all the meetings automatically. To enable auto-recording sign in to your zoom account, then go to Settings from the left and choose auto-recording ON from the recordings section.
This feature of Zoom increases the participation of students in online classes as students can send their reactions which would be visible for all classes hence it improves communication and interaction between the teacher and the students.
The reactions button can be found at the bottom of the Zoom meeting.
This feature of zoom can be used to install various apps to improve the quality of the meeting experience. Various apps like virtual background can be installed in Zoom meeting through the app's icon which is present at the bottom of the navigation bar.
The end button is used to end the meeting. Teachers can use this button when the class is over by clicking on it. The end button is found on the bottom right of the Zoom window.
Zoom provides various layouts which help to customize your screen according to your will. The various layouts/views available on Zoom are:
Speaker View- Only speaker is visible in this,i.e., the person who is speaking currently will be visible to your screen
Gallery view- In this view all the participants are visible at the same time
Immersive view- 25 participants are visible in this view and the host can rearrange the visibility of participants
Floating thumbnail window- This window allows you to minimize the zoom window keeping the zoom video on top of other windows in a minimized form.
Full-screen meeting window- By double-clicking on the Zoom window one can make the Zoom meeting visible in the full-screen mode.
To select/change the layout of the Zoom meeting just click on the view icon on the top right of the Zoom window and select the layout of your choice.
Zoom also provides an auto attendance feature which helps the teacher to avoid spending time to check the attendance of students using roll call. One can check attendance by accessing the meeting report, which is available after approximately an hour. Steps to check attendance of the class are given below:
Sign in to zoom web portal
Click on Reports on the left side and then select Usage
The usage will show all the instances when someone leaves or joins a meeting
The attendance can also be downloaded by clicking on Export with meeting data box and then on Export and the download can be seen on Microsoft Excel or similar softwares supporting CSV type files.