Quick Start Guide to ZOOM

Image: Zoom logo



Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows you to teach live classes online. You can set it up so that everyone sees a thumbnail video of every person in a grid — kind of like the Brady Bunch, if you remember that TV show. This one-pager provides some quick tips to start using Zoom to replace your face to face classes at Union.



On This Page:

Virtual Class Meeting: Set up a recurring meeting for your class using the Nexus Zoom LTI tool
Running your Class: Think differently about how to keep yur students engaged.
Tips & Tricks

 Virtual Class Meeting

 Set up a recurring meeting for your class using the Nexus Zoom LTI tool

  1. Go to Nexus and login with your Union email address and password. This will take you to your Dashboard. Find the course you want to add a virtual class meeting.
  1. Turn editing on and select [+Add] an activity or resource at the top of the page.
  1. Select [External Tool].
  1. When the window pops up, for [Activity name] enter something like "Virtual Class Meeting via Zoom", and in the dropdown menu by Preconfigured tool, select [Zoom Web Conferencing]. Under Privacy, uncheck Accept grades from the tool. Click the [Save and display] button.

You only have to complete steps 1-4 once for each Nexus course website you want to add the Zoom LTI tool.

The following directions apply after Zoom LTI tool is added to your Nexus course (see above). These steps take you through setting up new Zoom meetings you want to schedule in the course.

  1. Click on the link you just created, e.g., "Virtual Class Meeting via Zoom".
  1. Click on the [Schedule a New Meeting] button.
  1. For Topic, use your class name + Virtual Class Meeting, e.g., "English 101 Virtual Class Meeting".
  1. When: Pick the day of your first class + the time it begins; Duration: length of class.
  1. Check Recurring meeting, where the Recurrence is Weekly; Repeat every 1 weeks; Occurs on (Days of your Class, e.g., Mon, Wed, Fri. For End date, add the last day of the term).
  1. Security: Use both a Passcode and Waiting Room
  1. Video: select On for both host and participant; Audio: Both
  1. Meeting Options: we recommend selecting [Mute participants upon entry] and then click [Save].
  1. All your meetings are scheduled. Nexus provides you, the instructor, a Start button next to each session, while your students see a Join button. 
  1. In your Zoom session, if you record to the Zoom cloud, we recommend you Spotlight your video, so only your video gets captured, not your students. When a Zoom cloud recording is done processing, the Zoom LTI tool in Nexus will automatically deliver it to the site. The instructor simply needs to make it available for student view under the Cloud Recordings tab.



Running Your Class

Teaching a class using Zoom requires you to think differently about some of the things you normally do. You can’t write on a whiteboard or chalkboard the same way and you need to use different strategies to facilitate strong discussions. One benefit, though–with close-up video of everyone, it is very easy to see who is paying attention and who is distracted which tends to keep students more alert. To keep the audio quality strong, ask that students mute their audio unless they are talking. You may also mute any student by hovering over their video and clicking Mute.


  • Encourage a sense of community: Make eye contact with your camera when talking, not the video of yourself or your students. Use a normal, conversational tone. Most important is to coach the students to see the Gallery View or “Brady Bunch” view - that is how everyone sees everyone at once. Select Gallery View from the upper right.
  • Writing on a whiteboard/chalkboard: Ideally, connect an iPad (or equivalent mobile device) to your computer with a cable. Once you have connected the iPad to your computer, select Share, and then iPhone/iPad via Cable. Once you are sharing your iPad, you can use any annotation app you prefer (e.g., Jamboard, Notes, Explain Everything, etc.) with an Apple Pencil or compatible stylus. You can also use the iPad to login to the Zoom meeting with a second instance and use the whiteboard available within Zoom. There are a limited number of iPads available through the College’s iPad course reserve program.
  • Discussion: As students tend to be quieter in a Zoom class than they are in a face-to-face class, don’t count on asking questions and waiting for volunteers to answer them. Plan to call on students by name and/or put them in Breakout Rooms of 3–4 students. For Breakout Rooms, click on the [Breakout Rooms] icon and select the number of small groups you want. 
    • Automatically assign: Students are randomly assigned to groups
    • Manually: If you want students to remain with the same group throughout the term, choose “Breakout Rooms pre-assign” on the page you use to set up the meeting and create the rooms and groupings in advance
      • Click Import from CSV and download the template
      • Complete and then upload
    • Tip: Small group discussions work better if students are responsible for responding to specific questions and taking notes. You can create a Google Doc (share so that anyone with the link can edit) with the questions and places for each group to type their notes. While they are working, you can watch the Google Doc rather than visiting the Breakout Rooms. You may add comments as they are working or note ideas to discuss when the groups come back to the main room. See an example from a professor’s course.
  • Sharing Your Screen: Make sure you aren’t on VPN as that will interfere with Screen Sharing. If you use slides when you teach, you may click on the Share Screen button on the bottom of Zoom and then select Powerpoint. You may also share any other application, as well.
  • Polling: Consider using the built-in polling tool to ask quick M/C questions for formative assessment or peer learning. Set up the questions before class:
    • Go to your profile page at http://union.zoom.us
    • Click on [Meetings] and then the recurring meeting for your course
    • At the bottom right of the screen, click [Add] to create poll questions. Add a new poll for each time in the course you want to poll students, i.e., a 5-question poll will release 5 questions at once, and 5 polls of 1-question each will allow you to release questions at 5 different moments in the class. 



Tips & Tricks

  • To keep the audio quality strong, ask that students mute their audio unless they are talking.
  • You can mute the microphone of any student by hovering your mouse over their video and clicking "Mute".
  • Make eye contact with the camera, not the video of the student.
  • Use the Spotlight feature when recording so that you're the only one being recorded.
  • Don't use VPN when sharing your screen (or at all, as it may slow performance).
  • Use polls and breakout rooms along with discussions to keep your students engaged. Small discussion groups work better.
  • Great article: Tips & Tricks: Teachers Education on Zoom
  • Use a virtual background if you don't want people seeing where you are. You can add or change your virtual background, or add some official Union College virtual backgrounds available at https://www.union.edu/communications/digital-assets.
  • Talk to your colleagues and LTE. We're all figuring this out!


For more information: How Can I Use Zoom to Teach?




If you are having difficulty or you have unanswered questions, please contact the Help Desk by emailing them at helpdesk@union.edu, through the ITS Service Catalog or call (518) 388-6400.







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Article ID: 116725
Tue 9/22/20 5:10 PM
Wed 4/6/22 10:20 AM