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Synchronous Teaching Using Zoom

Synchronous Teaching with Zoom

The purpose of this page is to facilitate faculty members in their use of Zoom and Zoom Rooms in synchronous class sessions. While it has been generalized for all use-cases and levels of expertise, there may be additional instructional needs that go beyond this document. Please know that LITS is dedicated to supporting, partnering with, and guiding faculty members in integrating any specific uses of technology in Zoom synchronous class sessions based on faculty needs and expertise.

The Big Picture - Overarching Considerations

General Technology

  1. Have a course facilitator: 

    1. Use a CA/TA for synchronous courses to manage the technology, facilitate the chat, and assist with classroom management as needed.

  2. Practice with the technology: 

    1. Connect with your course facilitator prior to each class session.

    2. Check that your microphone and webcam are working prior to the beginning of your synchronous session.

  3. Video etiquette: 

    1. Encourage students to stay engaged yet be aware of fatigue with video conferencing. 

    2. If possible, encourage or require that students (if joining through Zoom) keep their video on during interactive portions of the synchronous session, and explain why (promotes a stronger sense of community). 

    3. Advise all participants to keep their mics muted except when talking or when directed to keep them open. 

  4. Follow security recommendations for Zoom calls:

    1. (Highly recommended) Only post-meeting ID in Canvas courses or through email (not in public).

    2. (Highly recommended) Put a password on your meeting.

    3. (Highly recommended unless students need to share presentations, etc.) Change screen sharing to “Host-Only.”

    4. Disable “File Transfer.” If you want to share files, you may do so in your Canvas classroom.

    5. Disable “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin.” 

General Pedagogical/Androgogical Practices


  1. Think in terms of adapting your course into a new delivery medium. It is more than simply adding or using technology to teach.

    1. Instead of merely transitioning your in-class lecturing model to online, it may be beneficial to your students to adopt a “flipped classroom” model. In this model, you would pre-record your lectures and post them in Canvas for your students to view ahead of synchronous class sessions. Then, when the class meets together over Zoom they spend the face-to-face time in discussion and Q&A time.

  2. Long teaching sessions in class take their toll on students and it is harder when on teleconferencing. Organize your class sessions like a “traditional” teaching block of 45-75 minutes. 

    1. Alternate information delivery in one teaching block, with a discussion block or small group discussion block. Make the discussion have a goal and designate a group leader for each group.

    2. Consider using Breakout Rooms in Zoom to facilitate group discussions.

    3. Integrate your Zoom activities with your Canvas classroom by having them submit group discussion work to an assignment in Canvas for participation points.

  3. Build activities into the synchronous session for your students. For example, after discussing a topic, provide case studies, and give them time to apply what they have learned. Or, have them watch a recorded lecture and “teach” their peers an assigned section of the topic. This ensures that they stay engaged throughout the synchronous session.

  4. Take advantage of screen sharing (if your content allows for it). 

  5. Consider work that can be done off-screen and have students prepare in advance to meet during synchronous sessions. 

  6. If possible, provide students with an agenda for the synchronous session so that they are aware of your plans or any scheduled breaks during the session.

  7. Upload any class materials that you will be using in your Canvas course ahead of time so that students can reference and/or add notes during class.

  8. Use the chat function in Zoom: 

    1. Invite students to use the chat function to ask questions / make comments

    2. If using a TA, the TA can monitor the chat; if there is no TA, a different student each session can be the chat monitor (students can be empowered to decide when a question/comment is immediately relevant or when it can wait until later)

    3. Be aware that when a student is giving a presentation and sharing their screen, it can be difficult for them to see the chat and the other people on the zoom call. Having another student or TA help monitor these things for the student presenter reduces stress and enhances the sense of community pulling together