Tips for Teaching Online in Zoom

Preparing for Your Online Class

Install the Zoom desktop application on your computer.

  1. Ensure that you have installed the Zoom: How do I download Zoom?
  2. Verify that you have logged into the desktop application: How do I log into the Zoom desktop application?

Schedule your class sessions.

  1. Add Zoom to your course site: How do I add the Zoom tool to my course?
  2. Schedule a Zoom meeting in your course: How do I schedule a Zoom meeting within Sakai?

Set up your physical space.

When teaching online, you should work in a physical space that is conducive to holding class.  To make your virtual classroom more engaging,

  • Work in a quite room, with minimal background noise and distractions.
  • Connect a webcam to your computer so you can be visible to your students during class.
  • Use a working microphone, whether it is built-in into your computer, or connected equipment.

Familiarize yourself with Zoom.

Before class, practice launching your Zoom meeting (How do I join a Zoom meeting from Sakai) to test your audio and webcam, and familiarize yourself with the meeting controls (What are the Zoom Meeting Controls?)

When you enable your webcam in the practice session, you may want to check that no distracting items appear on camera in the background of your physical space.

Preparing for a session.

Review the Settings under Meeting settings to make adjustments, such as Mute Participants upon entry so that student microphones will be muted by default when they join the session. (How do I update the settings for a Zoom meeting created in Sakai?)

Muting the microphone of anyone who is not speaking is a best practice to avoid background noise and encourages students to stay focused on the discussion.

Recording a session.

Recording your class meeting will allow students to review the discussion later. This will help students who cannot attend the class or who want to reinforce their understanding of the lesson.

Before your first session, review the Office of Online Learning's Guidelines for Recording Students During Online Classes

Zoom's Tips and Tricks

The following tips were taken from Zoom's Tips and Tricks: Teachers Education on Zoom (PDF).

Tips for Virtual Lessons

  • For your first class, set aside some time to introduce your students to Zoom and ensure that they are able to connect their audio and video.
  • Review how to use the Share Screen options and how to provide participants with the ability to share their screen: How do I provide participants with the opportunity to screen share during a meeting?
  • Discuss online etiquette and expectations for students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit these topics.
  • Utilize the whiteboard feature or annotate a shared document as an option for student engagement.
  • Take time to promote questions, comments and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to utilize Reactions, write their questions in the Chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions using audio.  
  • Use Breakout Rooms to divide the class into smaller groups for a discussion on a specific topic.

Tips for Teaching with Video Camera

  • Look at the camera to create eye contact with your students. This helps to create a more personal connection while teaching with video.
  • Take a second to check the chat or your student's videos (if enabling webcam for your meeting) to check in with your students and receive feedback.
  • Speak as if you are face-to-face with the class while ensuring you are at the appropriate distance from the microphone for the best audio experience.
  • When delivering a presentation or sharing images, files, or video, give your students a moment to open and view the content you have shared.
  • Embrace the pause. Take a moment after the end of your comments to allow for students to respond before continuing on.