FAQ Followups to Zoom security advice for MiraCosta faculty

Some quick FAQ follow-ups to all recipients of yesterday’s message:

Q: I am confused. What exactly am I supposed to do and not do if I use Zoom?

A: At this point, there are few absolute requirements. You are getting a variety of recommendations to consider. If you are comfortable with the way that you and your students use Zoom, nobody is requiring to you to use extra security measures or change your practice. However, if you use the ConferZoom LTI tool inside of Canvas for scheduling meetings, passwords are automatically imposed upon your meetings, and you do not have the option to use the Waiting Room.

Q: Waiting Room sounds good, but won’t it take a long time to check my roster and admit students? And be a big pain to manage once class starts?

A: This definitely adds time to your use of Zoom. Thus, the recommendations yesterday to try to get students to show up early and be sure to provide their real names as they access your Zoom meeting. Via the Participants window, you have the option to admit everyone in the Waiting Room at once if you can tell that everyone there is legit. Another recommendation was to consider adding a trusted student as a co-host, to help you screen and admit participants from the Waiting Room.

Upon reflection and input from a number of you, I know that not everyone is a master of the class roster. So here’s a shower thought: there could be some creative and fun ways to manage your student names so the admission process is easier (and Zoom becomes more interesting!). Work with your class to decide on a new naming scheme. Be creative but here are some ideas:

  • If everyone is comfortable providing their pronouns, include those. (e.g. Jim Julius (he/him) ).
  • Have everyone pick a descriptive and alliterative adjective to precede their name with. (e.g. Jolly Jim Julius)
  • Have everyone pick something neutral, such as a favorite color, to precede their name with (e.g. Green Jim Julius)

I’m sure you and your class can come up with something! If everyone accesses Zoom with a consistent naming scheme, it will be very easy to tell who can be admitted to the meeting without having to reference your class roster.

Q: I liked using the scheduling tool for online office hours that is built into the ConferZoom LTI. Should I stop using that?

Yeah, that probably was the best thing about the LTI. I am not sure what impact the changes to the way Zoom operates via the LTI will have on that feature, but you could continue to give it a try and see. As an alternative, the Canvas calendar has a pretty great feature for booking office hour time slots. You could use that Canvas scheduler for students to book their times to meet with you at a Zoom meeting link that you set up via conferzoom.org and post inside Canvas.

Q: Did you leave anything out of your message yesterday?

A: Thanks for asking! Yes, one important tip: Please make sure your Zoom client software is up-to-date! If you’re not certain if you have the latest version of the Zoom client, look for a Security shield on the Zoom toolbar when you start your meeting (it has some quick controls for altering security settings during your meetings). District computers should have this software automatically updated. But if you don’t have the latest version of Zoom, you can get it from http://zoom.us/downloads

Q: You’ve given me some great tips on how to use Zoom technically, but how can I make my Zoom sessions more inclusive and meaningful for students?

Great question – just today the Chronicle ran a good article on 8 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Zoom Teaching!

Q: Thank you!

A: You are very welcome!

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education