It’s safe to say that these are challenging times for educators. Regardless of whether we teach at the P-12 level or in higher education, the COVID-19 crisis is impacting us all. Many states have shut down their schools for at least eight weeks, while some governors are announcing that face-to-face instruction will be halted for the rest of the academic year. As more and more schools move instruction online, faculty are scrambling for practical information. One suggestion is to use Zoom as an online teaching tool.
What is Zoom?
Educators and business owners use Zoom as a tool for online meetings, webinars, video conferencing. It brings people together quickly, either one-on-one or in groups. The groups can be both small and large. There are several pricing structures, but their basic plan is free.
Normally, the company has a 40-minute time limit on its meetings under the free plan. However, they lifted that time limit during the COVID-19 crisis. As long as you sign up for a free account using your work email account, your meetings may be any length.
Getting Started: Zoom for Online Teaching
Zoom experts are offering free and interactive live training webinars each day. They say even faculty members who are new to distance learning can get up to speed and be able to use the tool in about an hour.
Zoom-Produced Video Tutorials
If you need a “crash course” in learning how to use Zoom quickly, consider these YouTube videos produced by the company:
- Zoom Meetings (:45)
- Scheduling a Zoom Meeting (1:01)
- Join a Meeting (:53)
- Joining & Configuring Audio & Video (1:42)
- Meeting Controls (1:02)
- Recording a Zoom Meeting (1:04)
- Sharing Your Screen (:36)
- Zoom Video Breakout Rooms (2:48)
User-Produced Video Tutorials
After viewing the videos that the Zoom company has produced, you may wish to consider these user-produced learning resources. Keep in mind that these may not necessarily be educators. However, they are general population users that offer some helpful tips:
- How to Schedule and Join a Zoom Meeting (6:32)
- Getting Started with Zoom Conferencing (19:12)
- How to Use Zoom (plus Breakout Groups)–Favorite Video Conferencing Platform (33:11)
- Zoom: Running a Meeting & Screen Sharing (8:04)
- How to Teach an Online Lesson (3:43)
- A Review of Zoom.us for Teaching Online Lessons (8:56)
- How to Use Zoom Online Conferencing: Setting Up an Account & Hosting a Meeting Tutorial (19:15)
I have used Zoom many times for webinars and video conferencing and have found it to be user-friendly and seamless. However, there are other companies that offer similar tools such as GoToMeeting and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and I’ve used those with success as well, both in my work as an educational consultant and in my role as an online faculty member when conducting live online class discussions with my students. Regardless of what tool you decide to use, video conferencing can be a wonderful way to bring students together during challenging times.
About the Author: Dr. Roberta Ross-Fisher has expertise in educator preparation, competency-based education, online teaching & learning, accreditation and quality assurance. A former public school teacher and college administrator, Roberta is now a freelance writer and educational consultant.
Top Graphic Credit: tefl.net