**See end of this post for an update on changes to default settings for Zoom users at Macquarie. MQ Zoom Help guides are here.
A couple of years on from this post on how to do online meetings properly, I think I speak for many of us when I say that NEVER EVER have I been a part of so many Zoom meetings as I have these recent weeks. I haven’t actually spoken in many of them either, just sat there, like a potato head in a gigantic Brady Bunch grid.
I’ve also seen, heard and (ahem) done some things on Zoom lately that made me think that we could all do with some not-so-gentle reminders and suggestions about how to do online meetings
properly safely, using Zoom.
First, a reminder about some basic measures that many – but certainly not all – of us take for granted when we’re in Zoom meetings:
- Zoom is a video conferencing tool. This means you should always assume your webcam is on when using Zoom, and that you are visible at all times when you are using it (and perhaps even when you are not).
- Zoom is also an audio conferencing tool. Always assume your microphone is on, and that everybody can hear you, everyone, and and everything going on around you when you are using it (and some say, perhaps even when you are not).
- Zoom is a recording tool. Always assume that whatever you do, say, and write (in chat) during a Zoom meeting is being recorded.
Many of us are learning on the fly how to both safely and effectively manage larger group events – meetings, webinars – in Zoom. The following tips on how to hold group events safely are taken from the Zoom help blog. Macquarie Zoom users can also find answers in the MQ Quickguides available here.
Use Zoom’s Waiting Room
Whether a participant or host, you need to familiarise yourself with Zoom’s settings and features so you know how to protect your online meeting space. The folks at Zoom recommend that hosts use the Waiting Room feature to control and manage who comes and goes into the meeting. Instructions for use of Zoom waiting rooms and for locking meetings once all attendees have joined are also available in this MQ Quickguide.
Manage screen sharing
The first rule of Zoom Club: Don’t give up control of your screen.Zoom Blog How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event
Assuming that you don’t want anybody taking control of the screen and sharing unwanted content with the group -that is, ‘zoombombing‘ – you as host can restrict screen-sharing — before and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one sharing content. To prevent participants from screen sharing during a meeting, using the host controls at the bottom, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options.
Use random meeting IDs
Zoom users also have access to a Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host meetings and events. However, Zoom recommends you avoid using your PMI for group events as it is basically one continuous meeting, and (to directly quote Zoom) “you don’t want randos crashing your personal virtual space after (or during!) the party” (again – zoombombing). You can learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID (at the 0:27 mark) in this video tutorial (external link).
Automatically mute all participants
Another hot tip for managing large meetings and webinars in Zoom: if you are hosting more than 10 people in a meeting, mute all participants.
Ask meeting attendees to turn off their videos
Now, Zoom doesn’t offer the functionality for hosts to turn off all participant video, but to save on bandwidth – not to mention, minimise the numerous distractions ensued by numerous people doing all that they apparently do while someone else is speaking – we strongly recommend that for very large group sessions you ask all attendees to turn off their video before the session commences. Don’t worry, they can turn them back on throughout the session if needed. However, we also recommend – again for bandwidth and distraction considerations – when in large Zoom meetings, not turning on your video unless you are the speaker.
Use the phone
Ultimate tip for safely conducting online meetings? Don’t use videoconferencing. Just pick up the phone and call.
Following the move to online delivery and the (greatly) expanded use of Zoom for teaching, default settings for Zoom use at Macquarie have been updated as follows:
- By default, only authenticated users who login with their Macquarie credentials will be able to access Macquarie-hosted meetings. There are instructions provided for users who need to allow non Macquarie attendees in the MQ Quickguide here.
- Instructions for use of Zoom waiting rooms and for locking meetings once all attendees have joined have also been updated in the MQ Quickguide here.
- The login screen for iLearn will be updated to inform students of the changes and will look like this:
The IT service desk are available to support all Macquarie University Zoom users via email help at mq.edu.au