Tips for Teaching with Zoom

This page reviews tips for your consideration when using Zoom with your Online and Live Online classes.


Zoom is available to SPC faculty and intergrates directly with MyCourses. Zoom is a video and audio conferencing tool that provides faculty and students with the opportunity to meet in an online, asynchronous environment. Zoom can be accessed from a personal computer, tablet, or cellphone. While both video and audio are options when using Zoom, they are also optional. You can select to use the text-based chat available in Zoom to communicate and share resources with your students. Zoom also allows you to share your screen with students as well as whiteboarding options. To register for our Introduction to Zoom which will explore Zoom and its various features or to register for a SPC Zoom account, please follow the steps on the link below.


Register for Introduction to Zoom


Tip #1: Consider Your Course Modality


Is your course Fully Online? If so, Zoom is a great optional tool, but it is not recommended that Zoom meetings be required at specific times. One of reasons students take online courses is to allow for flexibility with their work and family responsibilities. While a hosting an Orientation to the course via Zoom is a great way to introduce your students to your course and expectations, it may be difficult for all students to attend. Consider recording the session and making it available for students to attend on their own time.


Is your course "Live Online"? If so, Zoom is a great way to meet the "Live" component of a "Live Online" course. In these courses, students register for a specific course time. For example, a student may register for a course that is scheduled for Monday and Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. If that is the case, make sure to host your Zoom meetings during that time period since that is the time your students have chosen. All synchronous meetings outside of this time period should be optional.


Is your course Face-to-Face? If so, Zoom may be a great optional tool for hosting online office hours for students not able to get to campus. Use the Waiting Room feature to control how many students can enter your Zoom session at the same time. This will allow you to meet with one student and discuss issues while other students wait in the virtual "waiting room" until you admit them.

Tip #2: Consider Your Course Objectives


When scheduling Zoom meetings (or any synchronous meetings) identify objectives in your course that most benefit from a synchronous session. Consider whether it's necessary for students to all meet synchronously or whether the objective may be met through other instructional methods. Once you identify objectives that benefit from a synchronous meeting through Zoom or other means, check out the tips below on how to use the tools found in Zoom to make these meetings more engaging. CETL and OLS are available to assist you think through your objectives and how they might best be met. Let us know how we can help! Find your Course Objectives on CurricUNet.

Tip #3: Consider Your Teaching Style


  • Do you typically lecture using PowerPoints or some other projected resource in the classroom?
    • Use Zoom's Screen Share function. With this function, you can share your entire desktop, a specific application (i.e. PowerPoint), a portion of your screen, or a whiteboard application.
    • When using the Screen Share function, you can annotate to bring your student's attention to specific areas of interest. For example, if you are sharing a webpage, you might annotate a specific section of text to highlight it for your students.
  • Do you show students websites or mark up documents on a projector?
    • Use Zoom's Annotation tools to highlight important areas of a document or site that you are sharing via Screen Share. This is great if you are teaching subjects like writing where annotations might be helpful to focus attention.
  • Do you use small or paired group discussions?
    • Use Zoom's Breakout Rooms feature to break your students into small groups. Each group will be placed in their own room where they can discuss and share resources. At the end of the discussion, they can return to the main room with the faculty and with their peers and share what they have discussed with the larger group. You can create breakout rooms spontaneously during your Zoom meeting or pre-assign your students to breakout rooms for the Zoom meeting.
    • When using Breakout Rooms, make sure to provide the students with a time limit for their group discussions. For example, you might tell the students that you will be breaking them out into rooms and that they will have 10 minutes to discuss a given topic. At the end of that time, you can recall the students to the main meeting area and have the leader of each group present the group's findings.
    • Tips for using Breakout Rooms
  • Do you ask your students questions during your lecture to gauge understanding?
    • Use Zoom's Polling feature. Polls can be set-up prior to your Zoom meeting or during the Zoom meeting. After covering a concept, post a poll to provide students the opportunity to answer a question or two about the concept just discussed. Use the poll results to direct the next part of the lecture as to whether the topic requires additional discussion or if there is general understanding. After the meeting ends, you can view the results of your poll on the Zoom website.
    • 3 Ways to Use a Poll
  • Do you use your classroom whiteboard when teaching?
    • If you have a touchscreen device like a tablet, consider usings Zoom's Whiteboard function . The whiteboard function allows you to annotate over a white screen. This is a great option for teaching subjects like Math as you can add the equations directly onto the whiteboard screen.

Tip #4: Consider Accessibility

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Accessibility is a must when posting any type of video.  When posting a video/webinar to a course or any future courses, closed captioning should be included.

In order to meet section 504 compliance, all electronic recordings must be closed captioned, have the ability to be downloaded in an accessible format such as HTML or Word, and  must be accessible to all screen readers.


If a student requests an accommodation, they must first register with the Accessibility Services. Faculty will then be notified by receiving an accommodation sheet from Accessibility Services and the accommodation will be listed on your class roster. Please review the accommodation in private with the student and determine how best to support the accommodation between the student and Accessibility Services. Once the accommodation has been approved for an interpreter or captionist, one will be assigned to meet during your regular scheduled class time. If the faculty wish to offer a function outside of the original scheduled time, or wish to have the class participate in a real-time webinar, the faculty will need to fill out the following form at least two weeks before the event:

Tip #5: Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Periodically take intentional pauses during your Zoom lectures, especially if you are speaking for an extended period of time without discussions. Taking intermittent breaks allows your students to absorb what is being presented and ask questions.
  • Expect and plan for distractions. In a classroom, faculty have more control over the learning environment, but when hosting a Zoom, students can participate from anywhere where they have a connection to the Internet. Plan for distractions.
    • Mute all participants by default when scheduling a new meeting and ask them to raise their hand or enter questions into the chat window. You can unmute individuals as needed, but this helps.
    • Plan for breaks every 15-30 minutes during a Zoom lecture. This will give the students time to work through any potential distractions such as child care needs. Students will face distractions that are non-existent in a formal classroom, so be prepared to help them work through these so that they can better engage with the lesson.
    • If your video quality is low, turn it off and rely on the audio. No video and better audio is better than low quality or lagging video.
    • If available, use a headset with a built-in mic for better sound quality.

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