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Zoom Best Practices

For VU faculty using Zoom for classroom instruction, we recommend starting with THE CENTER FOR TEACHING’S HELPFUL GUIDES.

 
The guide below will help you get the most out of Zoom. 
To access video tutorials showing how to use Zoom, visit the Zoom Help Center.

You can also view a Quick-Start guide here.

Meeting Preparation

Zoom recommends an internet speed of 1.5 megabits per second (mbps). If you plan to use Zoom at home, you can test your internet speed by going to http://www.speedtest.net/. Please note that internet speed can be slower in your neighborhood as many neighborhoods share internet bandwith among all residents, per each internet provider. If you are teaching a class, please test your internet speed and Zoom capabilities during your normal teaching time so you can be better prepared.

1. Setting up your equipment

  • Download the Zoom application, start it up, and assure you are able to log in to the system. Be sure to click the Sign in with SSO option and type in "vanderbilt" into the Company Domain field. You will be directed to the Vanderbilt Single Sign On (SSO) page and you can log in with your vuNetID and ePassword. If prompted to open Zoom, click Open.
    • For detailed instructions to download on Windows systems, click here.
    • For detailed instructions to download on Mac systems, click here.
  • If you have a headset and microphone, plug those into your machine and make sure they are operational.
  • Decide how you want to layout your video during screen share.
  • Test your audio and video before your call.
    • You can join audio in a number of different ways, whether you're joining the meeting and audio using your computer, joining the meeting using only your phone, or joining the meeting with your computer and calling in with your phone separately.
      • How to join meeting audio after you've joined the meeting
      • How to join meeting audio with your phone only
  • Overview how to share your screen to those in your meeting.
  • Assure you have a working internet connection, be it wired, WiFi, or cellular.

2. Looking your best on camera

  • Be aware of your lighting - lighting can make your video look great or washed out. Light sources should come from in front of you or from your side in order to best light your face.
  • Pick an area that is calm and free of distraction. Keep the area behind you clean.
  • Look at your webcam and not your screen so those on the call feel like you are looking at them.
  • Remember to use gestures and mannerisms like you normally would in person.

3. Securing your meeting

  • With the rise in popularity of Zoom, there have been cases of bad actors trying to interfere with meetings. Please use the information below to secure your Zoom meeting:
    • Evaluate if you want to allow participants to join your meeting before you do in order to monitor what happens in your meeting room.
    • Assign a co-host to moderate your meetings.
    • Encourage the use of virtual backgrounds so student’s learning environments are not shown.
    • Disable file sharing through Zoom and use services like Box.com and your Brightspace course page to deliver material.  

Meeting Participation

1. Focusing on the task

  • Don't have side conversations, regardless of if you are the host or an attendee. Side conversations are very distracting and whispers are easily picked up on microphones.
  • If you aren't talking, mute or turn off your microphone.
  • Avoid noisy activities like typing while your microphone is on - and be sure any noisy devices in the background are turned off or muted.

2. Hosting the meeting

  • Review host controls and meeting settings ahead of time so you are prepared.
  • Share any housekeeping details and set the stage with your attendees.
    • Remind your attendees to mute their mics when they are not speaking and to respect others who may be presenting or speaking at all times.
    • Let your attendees know how to get your attention during the meeting. You may not be able to see people as easily as you would be able to normally.
      • Should attendees unmute themselves and speak up?
      • Will you be checking the chat window for people to IM their questions?
  • Start recording your session.

System Requirements

1. Supported Operating Systems

  • iOS 7.0 or later
    • Send and receive video using front or rear camera
    • iPhone 4 or later, iPad Pro, iPad Mini, iPad 2 or later, iPod Touch 4th Generation
  • iPadOS 13 or later
  • Android 4.0x or later
  • Kindle Fire HD

2. Supported Browsers for Zoom on the Web

  • iOS/iPadOS: Safari5+, Chrome
  • Android: Webkid (default), Chrome

3. Processor Requirement

  • Any 1 Ghz single core processor or better

4. Bandwidth Recommendations

  • The bandwidth used by Zoom will be optimized for the best experience based on the participants' network. It will automatically adjust for 3G or WiFi.
  • Recommended bandwidth over WiFi:
    • For 1:1 video calling: 600 kbps (up/down) for high quality video and 1.2 mbps (up/down) for HD video
    • For group video calling: 600 kbps/1.2 mbps (up/down) for high quality video and for gallery view: 1.5 mbps/1.5 mbps (up/down).
  • For help with any internet or bandwidth, see this guide for helpful tips and tricks.

 

Vanderbilt Virtual Backgrounds

Missing the sights of Vanderbilt while living, learning or working off campus? Bring Vanderbilt home by downloading images from the university’s award-winning photographers to use as virtual backgrounds for your next Zoom meeting.

VUIT encourages the use of virtual backgrounds as a best practice for online security, as they ensure personal working environments are not shown.

Note: For the backgrounds that include the Vanderbilt logo, if you have screen mirroring turned on on Zoom, the words will appear backwards to you, but will appear normal to the other people on the video call.

how to use a virtual background in zoom:

  • 1. Open the Zoom app and click the Settings button (gear symbol) in the top right corner.
  • 2. In the Settings panel, select Virtual Background from the menu at left.
  • 3. Select an image (or upload an image using the plus+ button) to set your virtual background.

View a video tutorial.

Getting Help

If you are unable to get the answers you need from the Zoom Help Center, please call IT at 615-343-9999 or submit a help request at help.it.vanderbilt.edu.