Attending Classes with Zoom

Tags Zoom student

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that is used in business and distance learning. Equipment you will need to attend your professor’s online classes:

  • Device with a good Internet connection (Note: Chromebooks have issues with Breakout Rooms, a Zoom feature that some professors may use. The workaround for students that have Chromebooks is to make the main room a breakout room and keep students who have Chromebooks in the main room)
  • Headphones or earbuds (optional)

  • Microphone (usually built in to your computer)

  • Web camera (usually built in to your computer; use smartphone as an alternative)

Before the Term Begins:

  • Download Zoom and install it. 

    • Note! Students in China should go to to download the app.  Students in China can’t simply click on a meeting link from his or her professor–s/he will need to start the Zoom China app and enter the meeting ID into the app.  The meeting ID is a nine (9) digit number, which is usually at the end of the Zoom meeting Join URL (i.e.,
      • If students in China have trouble viewing Zoom recordings, ITS has tested the solution provided by Zoom and it appears to work successfully. To view videos recorded in Zoom, you will need to copy the URL provided by your professor and change the beginning of the url from


        Leave the rest of the URL as provided by your instructor.

        This should bring up the Zoom video for you to view.  If your instructor has a password associated with the meeting, you will be prompted for the password, which you should be able to find in Nexus.

  • Join a Meeting Test Room to make sure your video and audio work.

    • Notice your lighting when you are in the Test Room—you’ll want the light to be in front of you instead of behind you. 

    • Check the angle of your camera. Is it better higher or lower? It is better to work out how you want to look on video before class than during (it is distracting for others).

    • Make sure you have a quiet room available to attend class—public places don’t work well.

    • If you experience any difficulty joining this test room, review the System requirements for desktop/laptop devices or System requirements for mobile devices to ensure that your device meets these guidelines.

  • Union’s classes will be set up so that you may join with audio from either a phone or computer audio (VOIP). If your audio isn’t working well with your computer audio (VOIP), you can always change the audio to phone once you have joined the class. Make sure to bring a phone to class just in case you have to switch audio. If your wifi at home isn’t good, try sitting outside of a place like your public library.

  • All students need to submit the Agreement for Usage of Recordings of On-Line Lectures received from Michele Angrist, Dean of Studies.

During Class:

  • Join the class meeting from the link provided by your professor on the course Nexus page. Show up at least 10 minutes early for the first class to allow time for working out technical difficulties.

    • Password Protected Meetings: If faculty have a password associated with the meeting (which is recommended) students will be prompted for the password, which students should be able to find in Nexus.
    • Waiting Room Enabled: If faculty have enabled a Waiting Room, you will encounter a message that states Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon. It is important that you arrive to your class on time, as if you arrive late, the faculty member might not notice you are in the waiting room immediately (as they will be busy instructing the class). If you are going to be late, send your faculty member a courtesy email plenty of time before class starts so s/he will know to look for you in the waiting room at a specific time.
    • Only Authenticated Users Can Join: If faculty require only authenticated users can enter the Zoom session, you will be prompted to sign-in to the Zoom Client you downloaded (see first bullet under "Before Term Begins"). When signing into the Zoom Client, choose [Sign in with SSO]. When prompted for the "company domain", type in "union" and then select [Continue]. You will be brought to Union College's single sign-on page (Okta), where you should enter your Union College username and password. Once you have authenticated, then go back and click on the Zoom [Join] URL. NOTE, if this setting is enabled, it will block students from China from joining the session. 
  • Switch the view to the Gallery View so that you can see everyone (up to 49 people) in your class at once. Once you are in Zoom, click Gallery View in the upper right corner.
  • Your professor may use Breakout Rooms during your Zoom class. Learn more about what to expect and how to join (it is very easy). 

  • Find out how to ask questions. Your faculty may prefer that you email questions before class, use in meeting Zoom chat, and/or use nonverbal feedback to raise your hand where you can unmute your microphone and speak.

  • Close distracting tabs and apps. Humans are not as good at multitasking as they think!

  • You have the option of using virtual backgrounds if you don't want others seeing where you are. You can add a virtual background, or there are Union College Zoom backgrounds available at
  • Make a positive digital impression:

    • Treat all class participants in a Zoom session with respect (not just in Zoom but in email or in any other online communication).

    • Always use your professors’ proper title: Professor. Unless specifically invited, don’t refer to instructors by first name. Some will be OK with being called “Bob” and others will expect to be “Professor Smith”.

    • Remember that all college-level communication should have correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Avoid slang and texting abbreviations (e.g., such as “u” instead of “you”).

    • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING.

    • Avoid the use of emoticons, as not everyone knows how to interpret them.

    • Keep verbal discussion, chat, and materials shared within a Zoom session appropriate and focused on the course topic.

  • Show up ready to learn:

    • Make eye contact with the camera instead of looking at your own video—remember, the camera is the class!

    • Mute your mic when you aren’t talking—otherwise, the background noise of your home can be really disruptive.

    • Speak in a conversational tone—no need to raise your voice. 

    • Be fully present. Because of the video, everyone will notice if you are checking your phone or doing something online in another tab.

    • Bring a sense of adventure and patience!

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Article ID: 103289
Thu 3/26/20 9:16 PM
Wed 4/6/22 10:18 AM