Remote Instruction with Zoom

Notes for Remote Instruction using Zoom

Zoom is BU's designated tool for Holding a Class Online.

Conceptually, Zoom is an online meeting tool. Audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, shared whiteboards, recorded meeting, and other features are supported.

Here, we are thinking of live class as an instance of an online meeting. Note that the IS&T instructions for Zoom are written more from the perspective that you are having online meetings.

General Advice

Schedule your Zoom class at the usual time slot
Schedule the live class sessions during the same time slot assigned by the Registrar for your course to avoid creating schedule conflicts for students.
Test it first, if at all possible
Be proactive. For example, Zoom has a test meeting you can use to see if your equipment is working as expected. Maybe try it with your TFs...
Communicate with your students
Let the students know what to expect. The first couple of sessions are likely to be a bit bumpy.
Use Google Chrome
Google's Chrome browser is supposed to work the best with Zoom. YMMV.


NEW! Zoombombing is the practice of posting unwanted and potentially distressing or disturbing comments, pictures and/or videos after gatecrashing virtual meetings hosted by the videoconferencing app Zoom. There are some meeting settings that can help reduce the chances of this, but some of these may not be practical for your particular situation. See also CNET's article
Preemptive options to consider:
  1. Use up-to-date application code - but make sure you are updating from Zoom!
  2. If practical, use the waiting room to screen people entering your meetings
  3. Disable "allow removed participants to rejoin"
  4. Enable "require a password" setting
  5. Disable "join before host"
  6. Generate random meeting ID instead of using the personal meeting id
We do realize that 4, 5, and 6 introduce added complexity and may or may not be feasible. OTOH if you are having this problem then you will have to do something.
What to do if you get Zoombombed:
  1. If you are hosting a meeting that gets Zoombombed, disable the "screen sharing" option ASAP.
  2. Lock out the bad actors from the the Participants List and lock the meeting so others cannot join.
  3. A host or co-host can go to the Participants List and enable "Mute All Controls"

Pointers on basic setup

Create your Zoom Account
Visit BU's Zoom Login Page to create your account. Use your usual BU credentials. If you are using the Zoom Web Browser client for something this URL is also where you sign in. The BU Engineering IT's Learning Remotely pages have a very detailed description of this.
The Zoom application (Zoom Client for Meetings):
Regardless of whether you use Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows (or your smartphone), Zoom has an app, the Zoom Client for Meetings, that can be installed on the platform. We recommend installing this application because more functionality is supported as compared to the Zoom's web browser client. To download the Zoom app visit Zoom Client for Meetings Download link .

See also
IS&T's Zoom basics, Zoom app, login via BU's Single Sign-On, etc.

Login from the Zoom app:
Start the Zoom app on your platform and a menu will appear - use your usual BU credentials and (IMPORTANT) Sign in with SSO. (SSO means Single Sign On).
Our company domain is (IMPORTANT) bostonu.zoom.us

Try the Zoom test meeting:
  • Point browser (Chrome) at the Zoom Test Meeting and push the "join" button. * If you see an "Open Zoom Meetings?" pop-up or prompt, reply yes.
  • You should now see a small window with your camera showing you live (unless camera is pointed elsewhere). Press "Join with Video" button. You should see a much larger window of you or whatever the camera is looking at.
  • There will be a "Speak and pause, do you hear a reply?" prompt. Answer appropriately and follow prompt.
If things are set-up properly you will see a message saying so. You can join the meeting or just let it kick you off in a few minutes. If things are not okay, please contact "support@cs.bu.edu"

Holding a live class

Schedule a recurring meeting for each class:
Use Zoom desktop app or the web app to schedule a recurring meeting for each class. You can also do this through Blackboard Zoom integration if the course has a Blackboard site. Insure that it reoccurs during the times the class is usually taught.

These meeting links are unique and expire a year after the last instance of the meeting. Several of these meetings can be scheduled per day so each professor can create as many as they want or need for their classes.
Classes and Meetings Security
See also the section above on Zoombombing. As of March 24 IS&T has turned on a feature that, by default, adds a password to meetings.
  1. Zoom meetings created after March 24 will have a password automatically generated.
  2. Zoom meetings created before March 24 need to be updated. Visit this URL for instructions. on how to include a meeting password.
  3. Restrict content sharing: By default, everyone in a Zoom meeting can share. This can be changed by default for all your meetings or during a meeting .
  4. Administrative Meetings: Microsoft Teams is a different video service available if when sensitive or restricted use data may be shared. See a comparison to Zoom and IS&T page on Microsoft Teams .

Zoom's Recording Possibilities:
Zoom offers the possibility of "Cloud recording" or "Local recording". These each have pros and cons, making the best way forward inobvious.

Cloud recording is available with all platforms and the audio and video recordings are stored in Zoom's cloud. Note that the BU Zoom cloud space is limited. Once a meeting with cloud recording is ended, Zoom post-processes the video and emails the host when it is available. Using the Zoom web app the host can replay or download the video. See Zoom's help on cloud recording which includes a short instructional video.. The pro of this approach is that it's fully supported by the Zoom web app until uploading to BU's My Media Site, with the con that the process has more steps.

Local recording is available on all Zoom supported platforms except iOS and Android. The Zoom app running on the computer stores the recordings locally on that computer. Zoom says that local recordings are only available on the computer where they were created and from the perspective of their apps this is accurate. Using the Zoom web app the host can replay the video. See Zoom's help on local recording which also ''includes a short instructional video.' The pro of this approach is that the process to upload to BU's My Media Site is straightforward. The con is that one needs to find the correct .mp4 file and rename it on your computer outside of the Zoom app before uploading it.

Consider the "Enable Join before Host" Option.:

The "Enable join before host" option, when on, the meeting is essentially persistent. You can join the class meeting at any time even if nothing is going on. It seems like this could be a useful virtual meeting place for students in the class. Note, however, this option may increase risk of Zoombombing.

In Advanced Options to check the setting for the option "Enable join before host" is setting.
  • If you plan to use "Automatic Cloud Recording" (this is discussed in more detail below), probably this should be disabled because it records all activity in the meeting whether it happens during the scheduled meeting time or not and so, may lead to more editing of the resulting video. When it's off, students should see a message that tells them to wait until the host starts the meeting.

  • If you plan to use "Automatic Local Recording" (this is discussed in more detail below) probably this should be enabled because it records the activity in the meeting during the scheduled meeting times.

Enable the "Automatically Record Meeting" Option.:
This will allow students who could not access the usual Eastern Time meeting to watch it later (like if they're home in Hawai'i, India etc.), or to rewatch it a second time. You can enable automatic recording for all meetings or for specific meetings. Consult Zoom's instructions for enabling automatic recording

Consider making the TFs alternate hosts for the class's recurring meeting.:
Enter the TF's email addresses to make it simpler to switch between professor and TFs during a class. Note that Zoom needs to be aware of these email address, that is, a Zoom account has to have been created already. Again, this should be done at BU's Zoom Login Page . Another reason to have alternate hosts is that they can help recover if the meeting gets Zoombombed.

Breakout Rooms:
Zoom's breakout rooms feature can be used to divide a meeting into smaller sub-meetings. See Zoom's Getting Started with Breakout Rooms and consider watching the short overview video

The basic breakout room feature was enabled by default. However there is a subfeature called "Allow host to assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling" which is not enabled by default'. Note that the host needs the desktop client to use this feature.

When a meeting is running, if the feature is enabled,the host will have the option to create breakout rooms (up to 50, with up to 200 users). Probably realistically this is the number of available TAs if the rooms, for example, are for Q&A.

In small class it may make sense to put specific users in specific rooms. In a large class it can be a random assignment to one of the breakout rooms or a .csv file can be prepared and uploaded. Once users are in BRs they can be moved to other BRs.

At this point, BRs are created, and users are assigned to them. The host opens the rooms, users are moved from the main meeting to their BR and prompted to join it. The semantics of BRs are similar to the main meeting, users can chat, share video, screen, etc. The host is left in main meeting where she/he/they can broadcast messages to all participants.

Users in the BRs can can ask the host to join their BR and users can leave BRs for the main meeting when they like.

Host can close BRs (there's a 1 min warning to the users in the BRs) and reopen the same (or different) BRs later.

From student's perspective:
For a class of any size larger than a handful or two, it's probably a good idea to set your expectations. Thanks to Dave Sullivan for this information and the attached slide!
  • Please mute both:
    • your video cameras for the entire lecture
    • your audio/mics unless asking or answering a question
  • Recommended Zoom configuration:
    • not full screen (double-click anywhere to exit full screen)
    • side-by-side mode (see View options near the top of Zoom)
  • Asking/answering a question, option 1:
    • click on Participants
    • use the hand icon to raise your hand
    • I will call on you and ask you to unmute yourself
  • Asking/answering a question, option 2:
    • click on Chat
    • type your question, and I will answer it

Office Hours

Zoom has a couple of different features that can be used to implement office hours.
  • The waiting room feature allows the meeting host to admit users into the meeting one-by-one or as a group. When this is enabled on a meeting, the "Enable Join before Host" is disabled.
  • The "Schedule a meeting and require registration" approach the meeting is set up so that when a student joins it the host is sent an email.

In Oregon St.'s description of how to set up virtual office hours both of these are explained in great detail.

Pre-recording & publishing videos


From a process point of view, pre-recording is just starting a meeting with recording enabled and then going thru the material. Some thoughts:
  • It's a little weird to not have someone to talk to because it's talking to yourself in a way, so it maybe a good idea to commandeer an audience.
  • It's also a good idea to make sure the audio is being recorded clearly!!
  • You may want to consider whether you want to do any editing of the class video.

Note please review Zoom's Recording Possibilities section above (XXX add intra-page LINK) to understand this section.

IS&T recommends that class videos be stored using BU's My Media site].

Note: If your class includes one or more students with documented accommodations by the by the BU Office of Disability & Access Services that require closed captioning, in order to comply with the “equal opportunity” provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) these videos must be uploaded videos to BU MyMedia only! MyMedia allows for providing ADA-compliant captioning. Making uncaptioned versions of those videos available sooner via some other video storage service is a form of discrimination that violates ADA provisions. (Note also that the machine-generated Zoom transcripts do not qualify as ADA-compliant captions.) Please see the IS&T instructions for BU's My Media for information about this video storage service.

If closed captioning is not required and taking into account the next section the it's also possible to consider using a shared Google Drive folder or perhaps another cloud storage service , but the details are beyond the scope of this wiki article.

Stored Video Requirements
Regardless of the video storage service, shared videos need to have the following properties:
  • A recording-specific password must be set and shared only with enrolled students. (IMO it would be enough to show that access to the video was limited to enrolled students, I'm not sure why a password mechanism is required nor why the password must be recording specific).
  • Viewers must not be able to download the recording.
These requirements probably restrict the set of allowable services. Please see IS&T page called Sharing Cloud Recordings With Students

Additionally, there are IS&T recording download instructions that assume that you have made a cloud recording. You use the Zoom web app to download the video, edit it if desired, and upload it to BU's Kaltura (My Media) site. Once you are sure the video is successfully saved in Kaltura (e.g. test that some can watch it) please delete the cloud recording as the BU Zoom cloud space is limited.

If you have made local recordings you will need to find it on your platform.
  • Windows folder : C:\Users\User Name\Documents\Zoom

The sub-folder's names are the meeting names and date/time stamps and there an "zoom0.mp4" file. Suggest that a 'copy zoom0.mp4 to "c:\tmp\meeting-name-date-time.mp4"' Then upload "c:\tmp\meeting-name-date-time.mp4" to BU's Kaltura (My Media) site. Once you are sure the video is successfully saved in Kaltura (e.g. test that some can watch it?) you can delete the "c:\tmp\meeting-name-date-time.mp4" and, if you like, the local recording.

  • Linux folder: $HOME/Zoom
The sub-folders' names are date and time stamps and the meeting names and in the subfolder there is a "zoom_0.mp4" file. Suggest: cp zoom_0.mp4 to "/tmp/meeting-name-date-time.mp4" Then upload "/tmp/meeting-name-date-time.mp4" to BU's Kaltura (My Media) site. Once you are sure the video is successfully saved in Kaltura (e.g. test that some can watch it?) you can delete the "/tmp/meeting-name-date-time.mp4" and, if you like, the local recording.

  • OS X folder: /Users/User Name/Documents/Zoom

Other resources/useful links:

Zoom info
Zoom Help Center Top of Zoom's help pages, has search bar
Zoom Training Zoom training info
IS&T info
IS&T main page on Zoom Meetings
IS&T Getting Started with Zoom
BU Learn from Anywhere example video Demo of LfA teaching in a classroom
BU's My Media site ] IS&T recommended video storage
Sharing Cloud Recordings With Students how-to for Zoom from IS&T
IS&T Securing your Meetings page expand the buttons at the bottom for information on default sharing
IS&T Microsoft Teams page useful for sensitive info
IS&T Compare Zoom and Microsoft Teams page feature by feature compare
IS&T instructions for BU's My Media
.BU Digital Learning & Innovation: Remote Teaching Preparedness Training More "formal" online course training
Other interesting info
CAS shared faculty resources page mixed remote teaching & COVID-19 info
BU Engineering IT's Learning Remotely top page Intro help - very detailed for signup and login
List of virtual lab info NEW! Virtual lab ideas
Video demonstration: Teaching with Zoom by Abbas Attarwala video of Zoom demo
BU Today 3/19/20: Students, Stumped by Zoom? Check This Out
student written google doc about using Zoom Also very detailed, but from student perspective
Zoombombing Zoombombing info NEW!
CNET's zoombombing article More Zoombombing info NEW!

Created by nadas. Last Modification: Tuesday 21 of July, 2020 14:30:34 EDT by admin.