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Zooming' Through the New School Year

The best decision I have made this semester was purchasing blue-light glasses. Anyone else’s eyes tired from having Zoom calls all day? Due to this, Zoom has definitely become an enemy this semester, but you want to keep your friends close and enemies closer right? Even if you don’t enjoy Zoom meetings, you will be an expert at the platform after reading this!

1. Change you Background

If your room is a disaster, change your background so you don’t have to be embarrassed by it! Or, if it is ~appropriate~ change your background to entertain some of the other participants. You could even have a competition to see who can come up with the best background as an Ice-Breaker for your meeting! To do this, go to Settings> Virtual Background. You will have plenty to choose from.

2. React with Emojis

If someone shares an accomplishment or exciting news, you can react with the “applause” emoji and more! This feature is great because you do not have to interrupt the speaker. To make an emoji appear, click the “Reactions” tab at the bottom of your screen. Then choose your emoji, but remember it disappears after five seconds!

3. Share Screen

Share your screen if you would like all of the participants to view a presentation, document, or video. You only have the ability to share your screen if you are a host or co-host. The button will be in the bottom toolbar.

Pro-Tip: If you are showing a video, be sure to check the “Optimization” and “Share with Audio” boxes. This will make your video have sound, be much better quality, and it is less likely that it will lag!

4. Touch Up My Appearance

I’ll be honest, if I have a Zoom call early in the morning, you bet I will be calling in still in my pajamas… unless it is absolutely necessary to look presentable. If you can relate, the “Beauty Filter” will help mask the fact that you had just rolled out of bed two minutes ago. This filter will make your skin all smooth, removing the bags under your eyes if you were up late the night before. Turn this feature on by clicking the up-arrow next to “Start Video.” Then click Video Settings> My Video> Touch Up My Appearance.

5. Record a Meeting

Did your professor skip through the lecture too fast or were some participants not able to attend the meeting? You can record the meeting! That way you can re-read the slides you had missed or those who were not able to attend can be caught up on the material. If you are the host, click on “Record” in the toolbar and if you are a participant, be sure to go to Settings> Recording.

6. Host Longer Meetings and with More People

Unfortunately, if you want to have longer meetings or be able to have a vast number of participants, you will have to pay to upgrade your account! This may be necessary for certain businesses and organizations.

7. Breakout Rooms

If you want to “break-out” into smaller groups and conversations, the host can utilize the “Breakout Rooms” tool. The host can either randomly assign break out rooms during the meeting, or there is a way to pre-assign them before the meeting! In order to do this, you have to upload a CSV file when creating the Zoom meeting. On this file, you will put the “Breakout Room” number in one column and the participant’s email in the one beside it.

Pro-Tip: In order for pre-assigned breakout rooms to work, you have to make sure all participants connect to the Zoom call through the app. The app can be downloaded to your computer desktop. The participants will then copy and paste the Zoom link into the first box that says “Meeting ID.” Also, make sure that their Zoom account is connected to the correct e-mail they gave you to put on the CSV file.

8. Hide Participants that Aren’t Using Video

To do this, go to Settings> Video> Meetings, and check Hide Non-Video Participants. That way you are looking at all the smiling faces and the black screens will be moved to the last page of participants. This makes it easier to see if the participants are engaged with what is being said.

9. Mute All Participants

That moment when you try to start the meeting and your peers will not stop talking… this feature is definitely for you. If you are the host or co-host, you have the ability to utilize the “Mute All Participants” button, so you no longer have to hear the participants talking about their weekends. Not that it is a bad thing, but sometimes it will take muting everyone in order to get down to business!

10. Gallery and Speaker View

The “Gallery View” and “Speaker View” buttons are in the top right-hand corner of your screen. The “Gallery View” button will show you all participants at once. When someone is speaking, the outline of their box will be highlighted. As for “Speaker View,” it will only showcase whoever is talking on your screen. This can be helpful when someone is dominating conversation, that way it is easier to focus on them, rather than getting distracted by other participants in the meeting.

Zoom meetings have become the reality this semester, so you are now prepared with how to navigate any Zoom call! Like I said before, I highly recommend blue-light glasses if you are always looking at a screen, especially during those long Zoom meetings.

Be sure to check out our previous blog post, which is all about Microsoft Teams! Read here:

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