Best Practices for Zoom

Enable Live Transcriptions in class and office hours:

  • After logging on to zoom, before the meeting starts, enable “Audio Live transcriptions.”
  • If there has been a request for captions and a transcriber joining the class or meeting, once they have joined, assign them to transcribe through the Live Transcription tab.

Why should I do this in my online classes and zoom meetings?

  • Live transcriptions allow students and meeting participants with hearing imparities to accurately receive the information being presented in the lecture or presentation.
  • Live transcriptions can also help students and meeting participants who are in very loud or quiet environments receive the information being presented without the use of headphones or turning volumes up.

Some of my students say the captions are distracting, while some say it is helpful. Should I still use live transcriptions?

  • Yes, students who find the transcriptions distracting can turn them off with their zoom controls, while students who find them helpful can leave them on to use them as an additional resource.

Slow Down Your Pace:

  • Slow down the pace at which you are talking! It may seem like you are talking at a normal speed, but often while presenting or lecturing, what we say comes out faster than we think.
  • Take pauses or set aside time in the lecture/presentation for students or attendees to catch up on notes or ask questions.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • Online conversations, especially when chat functions are in use, can be quicker paced than a face-to-face conversation and can be difficult for students with hearing disabilities to keep up with since most times, people can type faster than they can write or speak, and transcriptions are often a bit slower than the individual who is talking.
  • Slowing down the pace to annunciate words can be helpful to individuals with disabilities who read lips, and it allows them to watch the video screen to see mouth shapes and not just rely on transcriptions since sometimes, especially if they are live, they are not always correct.

Enable Mute Participants Upon Entry:

  • When setting up the meeting, change the settings so that students and participants are automatically muted upon entry.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • By muting participants this way, it makes it so students or participants must unmute themselves to participate in the discussion, and it can prevent distracting sounds during class or meetings that tend to happen if someone comes in late or forgets to mute themselves at the start.
  • My class or meeting is discussion based and I want the students and participants to engage by sharing thoughts and opinions. Should I still mute them upon entry?
    Yes, this can be a helpful way to manage who has the floor to share their opinions and allows the meeting host to call on an individual who would like to speak on the discussion topic or question.

Describe Shared Images and Annotations:

  • When presenting images or annotations on a presentation slide, a white board (virtual or non-virtual), or in a chat function, verbally describe the image and what annotations you are doing.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • It can be difficult for students with sight imparities to see images and annotations shared on a computer screen. Describing them will allow these students and participants to receive the information in a way that is accessible to them.
  • Students and participants internet connection may be unstable causing shared annotations and images to be pixelated or blurry and verbal explanation of what is being done on the slide or what is being shown on the screen can eliminate this confusion and help students and participants receive the information being presented.

Spotlight ASL Interpreters:

  • When ASL interpreters translating for students or participants in the class or meeting, the interpreter’s video should be spotlighted (pinned) by host upon their entry to the meeting.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • By spotlighting the interpreter’s video as a host, it pins the video for everyone in the meeting, ensuring that the interpreter is continuously seen by the individuals who need, it even when videos are minimized during screen sharing functions.

Manually Create Breakout Rooms if Interpreters Are Being Used in Class:

  • If students are using interpreters, manually create breakout rooms for small group activities.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • Manually creating breakout rooms ensures that interpreters are in the same rooms as the students or participants who is using them. If rooms are not manually made, it is unlikely that the interpreter and the student or participant who needs them will be put in the same breakout room.

Send Out Any Links Sent in the Chat During the Class/Meeting in Other Forms:

  • Before or after class, the links sent in the chat during a class or meeting should be sent out to students and participants in an email or posted to the class site. The host can also speak the URL while typing it in the chat to provide more access options.

Why should I do this in my online classes and Zoom meetings?

  • Some students and participants cannot use the chat function for various reasons, or their devices may not allow them to etc. By sending out links via other means, students and participants who cannot use the chat function can still receive and interact with material presented in the class or meeting.

Other Helpful Tips and Resources:

  • Be mindful of allowing students and participants to turn on/off cameras when they choose. Students may have personal reasons for leaving cameras off while meeting, and being forced to turn it on can cause embarrassment or anxiety for some people.
  • Enable “always show meeting controls,” which will allow you to continually see your zoom meeting controls no matter what screen you are on.
  • Look at the Zoom Shortcuts provided on the zoom website and encourage students or meeting attendees to look at them as well. They provide individuals with instructions for how to navigate zoom. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205683899-hot-keys-and-keyboard-for-zoom