The pandemic of COVID-19 has taught us new things and some pre-existing things which were totally unnoticed. We all knew very well about personal hygiene and cleanliness, but these days this very thing has become one of the most concerned topics.
Same is the scenario for online studies. Online studies also is not a new thing. It has been widely practiced since the popularity of internet globally. The pandemic has left us with no choice but to “stay at home”, “work from home” and “learn from home”.
Nepal and other likely countries have started taking online classes and meetings as well. Our previous article has also enlisted the top online educational websites and apps where we can find the best websites for online studies in Nepal.
Zoom is one of the most popular online teaching platform. It is a free tier and also has paid versions. One can hold an unlimited number of meetings. Group meetings with multiple participants are capped at 40 minutes in length, and meetings can easily be recorded.
Here we have provided the detailed features of Zoom along with the instructions to use it.
What are the features of Zoom?
Built-in collaboration tools
One of the most effective feature is that it allows participants to share their screens simultaneously and adds better experience for a more interactive meeting or class.
The features like encryption for meetings, role-based user security, password protection, waiting rooms make Zoom a secure platform. Also it provides mute and turn of video features which helps to make the meeting or class with less external disturbance.
Recording and transcripts
The meetings can be recorded locally or to the cloud by all the participants along with searchable transcripts.
It supports scheduling or starting meetings from Outlook, Gmail, or iCal.
It also has options for chat with groups, searchable history, integrated file sharing. Participants can easily escalate into one-to-one or group calls.
As we are choosing Zoom in this case of emergency, here is the short yet useful method of using Zoom for online classes. However, there are many things to explore on Zoom with a wide range of services and products.
Steps to use Zoom:
The first thing we need to do is go to www.zoom.us and sign up with a valid email address.
Once signed up, the user interface will appear.
Zoom provides a really user-friendly interface, so one can easily use zoom.
It should be noted that Zoom provides features to “Join a Meeting” and “Host a Meeting”. So for an educational institute, one needs to choose the “Host a Meeting” option to conduct online classes.
Hosting a Meeting
For hosting a meeting, Zoom provides it service on free and payment basis. We can find the detailed pricing at Zoom: Plans and Pricing
The host can select the time to start the class either immediately or schedule it.
Every time the host starts a meeting, a unique meeting ID will be provided. This ID can be shared with the students to invite them to join the class.
For instance, the schools can easily run their classes with the Basic Free Plan which provides the following features:
- Unlimited classes can be conducted with up to 100 participants with maximum time limit of 40 minutes.
- Video conferencing has HD video, HD audio, full-screen view, active speaker view which shows who are on video and who are speaking, waiting room, virtual background and simultaneous screen sharing. The screen sharing option provide the hosts with opportunity to share their screen and make the class more effective.
- The host can also record the session by themselves and also give permission to the attendees to record the on-going session.
- There is option for chatting as well which makes it easier for the students to raise questions.
- It also provides whiteboarding and multi-share options.
Moreover, if one goes for a paid version instead, more features are available which can be found on Zoom: Plans and Pricing
Joining a Meeting:
Joining a meeting is much easier and is totally free.
If the students are using computer, they can simply click on the meeting ID provided by the teachers and join the meeting.
If the students are using their smartphones, they need to install the Zoom App on their devices and then use the meeting ID provided by their teachers.
The students can turn on and of their video, mute and unmute their voices, and share their screens. They can also record the session with the permission of the host.
On the whole, online teaching and learning is a totally new concept for us. So we should try our best to actively participate in the sessions without breaching any safety measures and with full discipline as of a real classroom. Both the teachers and students will be getting a new experience. Thus being a part of this trend with a positive approach will surely pave a way for future enhancements.