Zoom & Blackboard
Logging into Zoom and Installing the Zoom App
- Navigate to Palm Beach State College.zoom.us and log in with your NetID credentials. Palm Beach State College has a subscription to Zoom Pro Meetings which allows for up to 300 participants. Palm Beach State College also has a limited number of webinar licenses available upon request by contacting Palm Beach State College Help desk. To learn more about Webinars versus Meetings, refer to this Zoom comparison guide.
- Install the Zoom Meetings app from Zoom's download page.
Zoom Recording Account Settings
From your Palm Beach State College.zoom.us meetings panel, click on Settings in the left menu, then click Recording in the top menu. Each of the settings you elect here will apply to all recordings on your Zoom account by default, going forward.
Local Recordings - Toggle OFF -- Recommended to prevent participants from recording and storing the video file of the session to their own device.
Automatic recording – You may either decide to enable automatic recording of all of your meetings here OR enable it individually at the meeting scheduling level.
Only authenticated users can view cloud recordings – Toggle ON -- Recommended to ensure that users must be logged into their Zoom account in order to view the recording of the session, and prevent those without a Zoom account from viewing it.
Recording disclaimer – Toggle ON
- Ask participants for consent when a recording starts – Uncheck
- Ask host to confirm before starting a recording – Check
Recommended to inform students that the session is being recorded, and enable them to protect their privacy if they wish (by exiting the meeting, turning off their camera, turning off their microphone).
Scheduling Meetings vs. Your Personal Meeting Room
We recommend that you schedule your class sessions using the Meeting Scheduler and Recurring Meetings.
- Navigate to the Meetings panel in Zoom.
- Click the button labeled Schedule a Meeting.
- Use the topic field to name your meeting after your course number. Skip over the When, Duration, and Time Zone fields. Check off Recurring Meeting.
- Click the Recurrence drop-down and select the option for No Fixed Time.
- Choose the option for Meeting ID that says Generate Automatically. Otherwise, you may select the option to use your PMI which will make it persistent across your other meetings that utilize your personal meeting room.
- Fill out the other options based on your desired preferences. Or refer to our Quick Reference in the next section.
Quick Reference: Settings to Enable on Your Meeting
- For classrooms and office hours -- skip over all of the when, duration, and time zone options and select the option for Recurring Meeting > Recurrence No Fixed Time.
- Meeting ID - Generate Automatically -- This will assign a single-use ID for the duration of your use of the recurring meeting. This will protect access to your personal meeting ID. Do this for both office hours and class sessions.
- Video Host ON; Video Participant OFF
- Audio -- enable both options so that students may join via phone if their internet connection is unreliable.
- Enable Join Before Host - Make sure to allow Join Before Host arrives in you meeting settings so students can get in, get setup, and connect with each other.
- (If Office Hours) Enable Waiting Room - this will allow you to accept a single student into the room at a time from the participants panel.
- Only authenticated users can join - enable this to prevent others without Zoom accounts from joining your meetings. (Note: as of this writing, it does permit non-PBSC Zoom account holders to join).
- Mute Participants upon entry
- (for Class Sessions) Record the meeting automatically - enable this if you want meetings to be recorded automatically. Choose the option for the Cloud Recording. This will generate a link that you may directly place and stream in your Blackboard site.
Quick Reference: Managing Participants
Hosts can control the ways that participants can interact during a meeting or class. Using these options can help you better manage a meeting or class by minimizing excess distraction or disruptive participants.
- Mute a participant. People often leave their microphones on by mistake, meaning everyone in the meeting can hear their background noise. You can mute participant microphones to stop this from happening or to simply prevent interruptions during a presentation.
- Stop a participant’s video. If a participant’s video is distracting, or you think it’s causing them to have connection issues, you can switch it off for them.
- Disable screen sharing. To ensure you control the meeting slides or content, hosts can prevent other participants from sharing their screen.
- Remove participants. In the rare event that someone is in your meeting who shouldn't be, or if you need to remove them for any other reason, hosts can remove a participant and prevent them from being able to rejoin.
Troubleshooting With Zoom
If you need help with troubleshooting Zoom during a call, Palm Beach State College subscribes to support from Zoom. Contact 1-888-799-0125 for phone support. You can also click on the chat Help bubble on the bottom right hand corner of your meetings page.
- Find the recording you would like to edit. By default, it will be named with your meeting title (and ID) with the start time as a time stamp. Click Share in line with that recording.
- The Share this cloud recording dialog box will allow you to alter the default options for the recording. Alter the link viewing (public vs. authenticated users) and "Viewers can download" options based on your risk tolerance and goals. You may copy the full invitation OR just the link beginning with:
Zoom for Live Class Sessions
The following are tips for virtual discussions and class sessions in Zoom. The rationale for using Zoom for virtual discussions is that it allows you to create an active student-centered learning environment with feedback/reactions from students. Without the non-verbal cues of the face-to-face classroom, active learning becomes an even more important tool to help students demonstrate learning progress and for us to provide feedback on their learning. Creating an active, student-centered classroom environment will also help keep students more engaged and motivated.
Promote Social Presence. Unlike teaching in a classroom, teaching remotely leaves us without many of the social connections and contexts we rely on to engage students. Online, we cannot look around the room and check whether students are paying attention or following along as we can face-to-face. Using zoom to form a sense of community, or social presence, is therefore even more important in this teaching context, and taking time to do so has been shown to improve students’ perception of their learning and satisfaction with the class.
Clarify online classroom expectations and roles through community agreements. If learning in an online environment is new for you and for your students, consider having a discussion with students about how to translate your classroom norms from the face-to-face classroom into your online space. By building these community agreements collaboratively with your students, you and your students will be more invested in using the online classroom as a shared space. Topics to address include use of microphones, webcams, and chat features; protocols for interacting and engaging during online activities; and ways to seek help with technology.
Encourage webcam use. Listening to a disembodied voice over slides can be very disengaging. Similarly, having a conversation without seeing the person on the other end removes many of the social cues we rely on to understand one another. For these basic reasons, using a webcam for discussions or other interactive activities can improve engagement and learner satisfaction. If a student feels uncomfortable with sharing their webcam, encourage adding an avatar to their Zoom user profile.
Create opportunities for students to interact informally as they would in a face-to-face classroom. These bits of small talk or fun can go a long way in helping build community over distances. This can be done quickly through icebreakers or activities that students can do as they enter the online classroom right before class or as class begins. Allow students to Join Before Host and not immediately ending your meeting when you finish are ways to promote this.
Translate your favorite face-to-face activities to the online space. Though not everything will translate directly, the online classroom provides opportunities for similar activities that you can use to get students to engage in their learning and with each other. For example, try using breakout rooms for small group discussions before thoughts are shared out over webcam in the main room; use polls in Zoom or via PollEverywhere as a digital clicker system; or use the chat for a class brainstorm. Introducing even small, informal activities throughout your class session helps keep students more engaged.
Encourage collaboration through shared note taking using Google Docs and group generation of questions to be answered by instructors or other students via chat. Increasing opportunities for you and your students to exchange ideas in real time will help further motivate students to participate in your online class sessions. Model collaborative interactions for your students to help encourage productive participation. This can be particularly helpful with the technological unpredictabilities that might lead to sporadic information in sessions.
Define learning objectives and participation expectations. Communicating learning objectives to students helps to keep them focused on what they are learning, and will help you and your instructional team determine what is most important to do synchronously online. Use your objectives to consider what should or can only be done when your class is meeting and what might be movable to out-of-class videos, homework, or activities. Similarly, defining what participation looks like will help your students make progress towards these learning objectives, and allow for you to give feedback on engagement.
Teach as a team. If you are working with Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Learning Fellows (LFs) to facilitate your course, you can share responsibilities like communication, discussion facilitation, and possibly low level student technology support. If you have an instructional team (e.g. co-instructors or TAs), determine the roles that you will play during class. Two such roles include the instructor who leads the class (providing the main voice and being the person on camera throughout the learning experience) and the instructor who supports the lead instructor (helping to answer questions on chat, to set up any online tools (e.g., breakout rooms, polls), and to assist with troubleshooting if students have any problems). Tip: escalate to support via live chat or the support number and hand it to the pros (call Zoom 24/7 Support 1-888-799-0125). If you use breakout rooms, the supporting instructor or TAs can also help facilitate small group discussion. Making these roles clear to students is helpful so that they can engage the appropriate person if they need help.
Create a clear lesson plan and class outline. Creating a class outline that signals to your instructional team and to your students what technology, tools, or platforms they will be expected to use as part of class is also a good practice. This helps signpost to students what is coming up, and transparency about technology use gives them an opportunity to prepare so that they are ready to engage once the activities begin. Additionally, if you are shifting roles throughout the class period, a clear lesson plan will make sure that your team knows when and how these transitions occur, and when during class students may need assistance. A simple agenda/outline can help students to understand their expectations for learning and engage appropriately.
Check your tech and test your activities with your team. Making sure all technology is working well is even more important online, when the whole class is relying on technology to enable interaction. Test any external tools that you may be using on multiple devices, if possible. Also test out activities with your instructional team, and get their feedback in order to best assure success when running the activity with students and to help get your team all on the same page. Once you know how you would like your activities to work, encourage your students to check technology and practice using it so that the class experience can be as seamless as possible.
Start Small, Collect Feedback, and Reflect. Remote teaching is likely a new experience for you and your students, and will certainly not be without its challenges. Do not feel you need to use all the tools at once, as that would most likely be overwhelming for everyone. Instead, introduce tools and activities slowly to give you and your students practice. Encourage your students to provide feedback on their experience to help you to reflect, revise, and try again next class.
This guide was adapted from Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning’s guide on Synchronous Online Teaching: Tips and Strategies, Zoom’s resources for educators.
Tips on Facilitating Virtual Class Session
- Encourage students to use the Zoom Meeting or test room to test their tech and connection. Make sure that students have an opportunity to test their remote set up and connection speeds. In order to test the Zoom Meeting you’ve set up, make sure to allow students to join the room without the host being present
- Consider using an external mic, headset, or headphones to improve audio quality. This can help to improve the sound and cut down on background noise.
- Ask students to mute their mics or use Mute All to quickly cut back on background noise. Ask students to selectively turn on their microphones to contribute. If you run into persistent issues with it in a lecture course, consider a Webinar license instead of Meetings (email Palm Beach State College Help desk).
- Share slides and other materials ahead of time in Blackboard. Bandwidth restrictions, connection issues, and access needs may prevent students from being in the Zoom Video part of the session.
- Give an agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. Drop a copy of this outline in the chat for future reference. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered, and the activities they’ll engage in.
- Record your meetings for playback later. This helps with any reason a student can’t make class or wants to revisit conversations.
- Discuss online etiquette and expectations of the students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit the topics.
- Utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document and let your students engage as well. When sharing a whiteboard, document, screen, or image, try whiteboarding math problems or have a student use annotation to highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.
- 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 chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live.
- Divide into smaller groups for a discussion on a certain topic. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time so they may discuss things together. This guide describes how to manage breakout rooms in a session.
- Have students be the presenter and share projects with the class. This allows your students to show what they’re working on while practicing their presentation skills. It also allows students to hear from one another.
- Ask students to introduce when they comment (e.g. “Hi, this is *name* speaking). Sometimes a student might be unable to tell who is speaking. This is a great way of promoting community in your sessions.
- Share the invitation to the Zoom meeting link and phone number via Blackboard Announcements. This can be found from the invitation details or Copy Invitation prompt with your meeting. You can also find it in your meeting dashboard. This will help your students join or re-join easily.
- Encourage breaks during longer classes or sessions. It can be difficult to find a natural breakpoint for longer sessions. Make sure to design that into your sessions. Ask students how they are doing and take a quick poll using meeting reactions.
- Share links to recordings via Blackboard After sessions, make sure to share out the link to cloud recordings afterwards via Zoom.
These tips were adapted from Zoom’s Education Resources.