Zoom: Teaching Online with Zoom


Task: Zoom is an easy-to-use web classroom platform that allows for real-time video and screen sharing to hold live class sessions in a hybrid or remote capacity.  You can host meetings with unlimited minutes for up to 300 participants at once.  The features of Zoom include:  Screen sharing, breakout rooms, whiteboards, live surveys and polls, application sharing, synchronized web browsing, chat, non-verbal feedback, and more.  To plan an effective online course, familiarize yourself with the various options that may be used during a class. 


Zoom has many applications in teaching and learning:

  •     Teaching to remote students
  •     Bringing remote presenters into the classroom
  •     Teaching class when you have to be away from campus
  •     Meetings and work session for group projects
  •     Office hours
  •     Managing around curtailed operations on campus


Getting Started

  1. Enable Zoom in Canvas and schedule a meeting
  2. Start a meeting and share a PowerPoint with students
  3. Post the meeting recording in Canvas


Class Collaboration Options for Teaching

Screen sharing.  This is the practice of sharing the contents of your screen with another device or multiple devices. For example, you can share a PowerPoint presentation with your class. 

Breakout rooms create new, temporary rooms for small group activities during a larger class meeting.

The whiteboard feature allows instructors and students to share a whiteboard that can be annotate upon.

whiteboard icon


Nonverbal feedback allows students to place an icon such as a raised hand beside their name to communicate with the teacher without disrupting the flow of the class. 

nonverbal icons

Polling allows the creation of single choice or multiple choice polling questions that your students can answer.

polling question

Note - many of these features are not enabled by default.  You may have to go into your Zoom settings and enable some features before using them.


Pedagogy Considerations

  • A synchronous online class should be engaging and interactive.  To do this, plan on using Zoom's features for students to collaborate with each other and interact with the instructor and content. 

  • Use frequent and varied interaction; 5 to 10 minute intervals (give or take) is a good marker. Use all the tools at your disposal so that the interaction avoids becoming mundane. Polling is an obvious option, but also consider asking students to type in a response to a question or comment using the chat box.  Hand raising is also a quick and easy way to interact with your attendees.

  • Consider using a blend of small group and individual work.  Zoom provides the option for students to work in small breakout rooms with screen sharing and chat features.

  • Avoid “death by PowerPoint” – visualize the content:  Text-heavy slides may seem meaningful and informative, but what they actually do is draw attention from the verbal content.  Replace those wall-of-text slides with images, single key terms or brief phrases that help to drive the content home without distracting from the presentation.

  • Post presentations a week before your class in Canvas.  This practice promotes further thinking and advanced preparation of the content on the part of the students, as many students enjoyed having the notes printed out to follow along during the class sessions.  Additionally, students who have English as a second language often need the advanced preparation time to translate the slides. 


Preparation Best Practices

Install Zoom and become familiar with the basic Zoom meeting controls.


Meeting Controls:

  • Use a recurring meeting ID and add Zoom onto your course menu in Canvas .  Classes can have their own semi-permanent meeting rooms with Zoom’s recurring meeting ID feature, which creates a unique virtual classroom that will last for one year. Students can join by using the same meeting room ID or clicking on the meeting room link every class. This way, you don’t have to send them a new link each time you start a class.

  • Try a practice teaching session with a colleague or friend.  Schedule at least 30 minutes a few weeks prior to your first session to review the technology and practice using the Zoom features such as break out rooms, launching polls, etc. It takes practice and time to learn the basics and to figure out which features you will want to use in a class setting. 

  • Follow a lesson plan and keep some extra material ready for each class in case it goes quicker than expected.  Keep a timer and put time markers in your lesson plan to keep you on track.

  • Pick a good teaching location when you teach your class. This location should be quiet; use an office or conference room away from high traffic areas.  Place a note on the door letting others know that you are teaching. 

  • Lighting should come from in front and never behind you to avoid casting shadows on your face. One or two lamps set up behind your computer monitor and facing you will accomplish this nicely. Your background should be interesting but not distracting.

  • Change your Zoom settings to automatic record all meetings to the cloud. Doing this will place each recording into MyMedia within Canvas and make it very easy to share the recording with students who couldn't attend.

  • Consider using dual monitors.  With a second monitor, you can host the screen sharing on your primary display and move windows like your participants list, chat, Q&A, and polling to a secondary monitor which will give you a greater ability to track everything at a glance. Don’t have dual monitors? Bring a second laptop, make sure it is made a co-host and you can monitor additional features there.


Prepare the Students

  • Advise students they should plan to attend the session via a web browser on a computer.  This way they will be able to better see the presentations and interact with other students. 

  • Ask students to install Zoom and test their headsets or speakers, camera, and microphones to ensure that they are working properly.  This should be done in the week before the first session. 

  • Tell the students to use either live video or add a picture to their Zoom profile.  They should also use the same screen name in Zoom that they used to register for the course.   


Explain Class Etiquette Guidelines

  • Remind students to be sure that their background is appropriate while sharing video, along with how their image is displayed to the rest of the class.

  • Explain how you want students to request an opportunity to speak. Will you allow everyone to speak at once, ask them to raise hands, or submit a question via the chat box?

  • Ask students to turn on their cameras when speaking and keep their microphones muted when they aren’t contributing.

  • Remind students the sessions will be recorded.

  • Students should log in to the session a few minutes early. This will ensure they have time to troubleshoot any software issues. Late arrivals may be distracting to the professor and to fellow students.

  • Be an active participant. Take advantage of the expertise and experience of the instructor and your fellow students by asking questions, responding to others' questions and comments, participating in breakout sessions, and providing your inputs to polling questions.

  • Be respectful. Help the chat box be a dynamic and engaging element to the live sessions by keeping your contributions considerate, focused, and thoughtful. Disagreements can be productive to learning, but please disagree in a way which extends the conversation rather than shuts it down.


Best Practices when Teaching

  • Start the Zoom session at least 15 minutes prior to the start time.  During this time display a slide or ask questions that will be presented later in the session.  This will help activate each student's prior knowledge of the content.  Another option is to show a greeting screen with any class announcements.  Be available during this time to assist with any technical difficulties. 

  • Open the applications you’ll be using and close the ones you won’t.  Some applications take time to get up and going. If it isn’t critical to show how to launch an application, have all your applications and presentations ready to go.

  • Turn off all meeting reminders, email notifications, and other pop-up screens.

  • Speak slowly and clearly.  Students who have English as a second language may have difficulty understanding.

  • Make eye contact:  Look at your webcam instead of your screen.  This will give the effect of eye contact and visual engagement. Use the gestures and mannerisms that you would typically use in class.

  • Pause your instruction more often to prompt students for questions.  This is especially important if you have muted all of your students' audio.

  • Use annotation to grab and direct attention:  You have a lot of options for drawing, highlighting, making lines and arrows, and more.

  • There is a mute all button in the Participant list. This is a go-to button when you hear audio feedback.  A good to remember shortcut key to Mute all except the host: (Command+Control+M for Mac; Alt+M for Windows).

  • Ask for feedback. You will be most effective when you know what resonates with your students.


 Users should be able to familiarize themselves with the various Zoom options that may be used during a class to plan an effective online course. 

Further reading:

Enable Zoom in Canvas and schedule a meeting

Start a meeting and share a PowerPoint with students

Post the meeting recording in Canvas


Need additional help?

Please use this link to the Technology Help Desk to locate your local campus contact information.  Use the “Submit a Question” for your campus to enter an online support request.  




100% helpful - 1 review
Print Article


Article ID: 2176
Tue 3/10/20 9:21 AM
Thu 3/7/24 8:35 AM
Applicable Institution(s):
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)