Best Practices to Reduce Virtual Classroom Disruptions

April 2, 2020 – Many of you are realizing what a tremendous asset Zoom can be for holding classes virtually, and I hope you’re also aware that the Center for Academic Technologies and Training (CATT) is offering helpful training for those of you who are interested in learning or in upgrading your Zoom skills. CATT has prepared a Zoom resource page for both novice and expert users.

You may have also heard that there are some hazards related to Zoom meetings. Pranksters and more nefarious characters have been hijacking Zoom for their own purposes in an activity known as Zoombombing. In a recent Zoombombing at UMass Amherst, for instance, student attendees of a Zoom meeting were suddenly exposed to pornographic images and racial slurs posted by an uninvited participant. There has been a Zoombombing in a Santa Fe College class meeting and the SFPD is investigating.

It is vitally important that all of us make sure that our classes held on Zoom are safe communities where learning is nurtured and disruptions are minimized. You may wish to remind your students that the Student Conduct Code applies to online class interactions as well as on-campus ones.

The CATT team recommend these key tips for keeping your virtual classroom secure:

  1. Add your Zoom class meeting link(s) within Canvas. You may also e-mail your Zoom meeting link to students, but Canvas is preferred when possible. Do not post Zoom meeting links to public web pages such as social media.
  2. Upon entering your Zoom meeting room, click on the “Manage Participants” button and then click on the “Mute all” button. (Alternatively, you can change your meeting default to “mute all participants upon entry” by logging into www.zoom.us and adjusting your “Settings.”)
  3. Before starting your lesson, look at the participant list and compare the names against your class roster. If students are using a pseudonym not found on your roster, ask them to re-name themselves. Prompt them to click on the “Participants” button, hover over their name, and then click on the “re-name” option and supply their first and last name. Give students a few moments to re-name themselves. Remind students to enter their first and last name when joining future Zoom sessions.
  4. If a name on the participant list does not then appear on your roster remove them from the Zoom session by hovering your mouse over their name, clicking on the “More” button and choosing the “remove” option.

For help with implementing enhanced security in your own use of Zoom, contact CATT’s instructional designers at idteam@sfcollege.edu.