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.
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 (Having trouble? Please see: Common Fixes for Home Networking Issues). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not share invitations or links to meetings with people you do not know or via social media.
- MyVU: Cyber safety while working remotely: VUIT, VUPS offer best practices for avoiding scams
- MyVU: Tips to secure your Zoom meetings, avoid 'Zoombombing'
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.
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. You may also try Common Fixes for Home Networking Issues.
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.
Improving Sound Quality
There are several things you can do to improve the sound quality of music in ZOOM - on a laptop. If possible, please use a laptop, not a tablet, for Zoom. You cannot adjust the settings on a tablet.
- Open Zoom.
- From the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen, select the arrow next to the mute button and select audio settings
- In audio settings, select "Advanced"
- Disable Audio Processing and Suppress noise (these settings optimize sound for speech but interfere with music)
- Do not change/select echo cancellation. It can result in feedback
Also – Watch this short video from the Royal Academy of Music and follow the instructions to “Turn on Original Sound”