How to stay sane in online transition – Zoom


By Salome Pachkoria and Anna Phillips 

Have you counted how many times you have heard the word “Zoom” over the last month? Too many to count? This is why, for our first blog post, we have decided to give you a quick introduction to Zoom in the form of links to short (1-4 minutes) videos!

Just one thing – what even IS Zoom? Zoom is a video-conferencing software that allows individuals and groups to meet and work together productively. As Zoom is going to become our new best friend this semester, let’s explore what fun features are available!

To start, we’d like to highlight a few functions we discovered in Zoom that we thought would be incredibly useful for faculty and students alike. They are as follows:

  1. Break-out groups on Zoom:

This impressive feature makes it possible to have in-class group discussions. The host can assign co-hosts and decide the number of rooms as well as members of each breakout room. The host can join any breakout room, and broadcast messages to everyone. 

  1. Screen sharing options:

This is very helpful for anyone who wants to do a presentation, or actively show a step-by-step process to others in the call. There are different screen sharing options including sharing a specified screen, a certain file, and more! 

  1. Recording:

This can be a very useful feature, especially since recordings can be directly uploaded to the cloud for sharing purposes.

Here are some other really important (and fun!) things you can do in Zoom:

  • There is a chat room available for every Zoom meeting. Make sure you can use it if necessary – for example, if you don’t want to interrupt a lecture but need to ask a question. 
  • Make sure that you use the Mute/Unmute function properly. (It’s a good idea to put your audio on mute when you are not talking, if you think there might be some ambient noise that will disrupt your classes/meetings).  
  • Here is a video on how to join Zoom meetings (this way you aren’t late due to “technical difficulties”)
  • Here is how you can schedule a meeting
  • Some META Lab GAs have been having fun with Virtual Backgrounds! Try it! 
  • In this 10-minute video, you will see many different ways to customize a meeting so it is exactly how you want it!  
  • Syncing Zoom with your calendar might be helpful. (That way you are not watching Netflix while you are supposed to be in class or a meeting!)

By the way, many of the features mentioned above require use of the desktop app. Downloading it is super easy – go to the download center, download Zoom Client for Meeting, and install it. This will also give you the ability to customize your preferences (for example, you can make sure that for every meeting you join, you will be joining with muted audio and no video). So, go ahead and download the app so you can start playing with all the fun things we showed you above! 
We understand that some people aren’t as enthused by video instructions. Here’s an article that goes over many of the same things