Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Quick Start Guide for Zoom Meeting Hosts

  1. As with any other new technology, it's helpful to have attended a few meetings and learned how to navigate and customize your settings as a participant before you attempt to host your first meeting. Luckily, such opportunities abound.
  2. The main difference between hosting and attending a meeting is the ability/responsibility to keep the meeting running smoothly for everyone. Check out some of the Zoom training materials https://zoom.us/resources and/or practice if you can with just a few people so you can get used to muting and unmuting others and look at and customize your settings before you try it with a larger and/or public group.
  3. Know that there are differences between the free account and paid ones. 
    • The most notable is the time available. Free accounts are limited to 40 minutes or less for three or more participants. Paid can go for unlimited amounts of time.
    • Free accounts don't include a telephone access number. Users must join via the Internet.
  4. The issue of security has recently made hosting and running a successful Zoom meeting even more of a challenge. Unfortunately, with everyone rushing to online meetings and virtual events, many of the anonymous characters whose goal in life would appear to be making the Internet a most distasteful place for others have turned their attentions to disrupting Zoom meetings. As of Saturday, April 3, 2020, Zoom has set some security precautions as default settings. 
    • Scheduling a new meeting now automatically includes an added password. This is automatically added to the meeting URL. For someone manually entering a Meeting ID, they will also have to enter the password. You cannot disable this feature. Please note: URLs with passwords should not be shared on public websites. This defeats the security feature of the password. Instead consider sharing the information with Meeting ID and instructions for whom to contact to obtain the password. You can send individual invitations to key participants by email including URL with password.
    • Invited participants will also be placed into a waiting room before they can enter the meeting. This does make it a lot more cumbersome, especially if you are hosting a relatively large gathering, especially with people or user names you can't readily identify. New users may not have customized their settings and may enter the waiting room as simply iPhone. Zoom provides a lot of information about Waiting Room on their website https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115000332726-Waiting-Room

    Some of the best information and advice I've seen recently comes from the ADL: How to Prevent Zoombombing https://www.adl.org/blog/how-to-prevent-zoombombing
  5. As the ADL article recommends, it's useful to have at least two co-hosts. One can be responsible for the content of the meeting while the other monitors chat, waiting room, muting and unmuting participants, turning on and off video, etc. All of these things can influence the quality of the meeting. For example, turning off video can help improve sound quality when there are bandwidth issues. Muting attendees who are not speaking avoids disruptions from dogs barking or other intrusions. Unwanted guests may have to be removed. It's much easier to handle these issues when you're not also trying to lead a discussion or give a presentation.

No comments: