Guidelines for Zoom

Zoom is a modern web-based enterprise video communication platform that can be used to create virtual learning and meeting environments.

It takes commitment from all participants in a Zoom session — instructors and students — to develop and maintain a positive learning environment. Everyone is responsible to create a safe and inclusive environment when using Zoom and is expected to behave in a manner that is professional and consistent with the UCalgary Code of Conduct. Following these guidelines will help ensure a positive learning environment is created and maintained.

For Staff

Before Using Zoom

  • For resources on using Zoom, visit the Zoom eLearn site to learn more about the functionality of this platform.
  • If you are recording synchronous sessions, students need to be notified. Zoom recordings are to be used to support student learning only and should not be shared or used for any other purpose. Refer to the operating standard for media recordings in learning environments for more information.
  • Zoom must not be used for recording of any session which includes restricted information (Level 4 data), such as personal health information.
  • Establish learning environment expectations for Zoom with your students. Zoom etiquette can be shared in a course outline, within D2L and on the first day of class. See the Zoom section for students for ideas on Zoom etiquette and Zoom wellbeing practices.
  • Setting up an engaging learning environment takes practice, as does managing challenging behaviour in Zoom. Visit the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning’s website: Setting up positive learning environments in Zoom.

Setting up Zoom Sessions

There are a number of recommendations below on how to use Zoom effectively in teaching and learning to increase the safety and security of the learning environment.

  • Set up a password for all Zoom sessions. Starting May 6, 2020, password requirements for Zoom will be the default setting in Zoom. (See Scheduling a Meeting for instructions)
  • Enable the “mute upon entry” for your classroom participants
  • Control the chat function and disable private chats. Chats are retained if a session is recorded, and may be accessible under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • If possible, set up a co-host to help during Zoom sessions. This can be a graduate teaching assistant, peer mentor or other responsible student that can assist you to host the session. Co-hosts can help manage the chat function, set up break out rooms, and help manage the learning environment. See here for ideas on setting up a session co-host.
  • If practical, you can enable the “Waiting Room” feature – one of the most secure ways to allow only those invited to the session to attend. This is not recommended for large classes given the time commitment to let participants into a session.
  • The default screen-sharing option for educational accounts is “Host Only” – this allows only instructors to share their screen, unless they change it. If you want others to share their screen content, you can invite them during the session to do so, or via settings beforehand. See here for information on screen sharing.

Even with the best protections some malicious activity may occur. If a security incident should occur during your session please contact IT Support Center at 403.220.5555 or itsupport@ucalgary.ca.

Examples could be the following:

  • Zoom bombing, which is the practice of unauthorized individuals entering a zoom meeting for the purpose of creating disruptions or perpetrating other malicious activity
  • Students sharing the session password or link publicly
  • Inappropriate activity by legitimate participants in the session

For Students

When entering a Zoom session, you play a role in helping create an effective, safe and respectful learning environment. Please be mindful of how your behaviour in Zoom may affect others. To help ensure Zoom sessions are private, do not share the zoom link or password with others, or on any social media platforms. Zoom links and passwords are only intended for students registered in the course. Zoom recordings and materials presented in Zoom, including any teaching materials, must not be shared, distributed or published without the instructor’s permission.

Getting the Most out of Zoom Classes

  • Close other programs on your device, that are not pertinent to the class.
  • Make sure you have adequate headphones that allow you to speak and hear the instructor.
  • Attend Zoom sessions from a quiet place. Set up a Zoom background if there is activity going on behind you.
  • Keep your microphone on mute unless it is your turn to speak.
  • If enabled by the instructor, use the chat function to ask questions and participate during a session.
  • Watch for Zoom fatigue: multiple classes in Zoom can be fatiguing given the demanding visual cues our brains try to process. The following tips can help manage Zoom fatigue:
    • Choose “Speaker View” so you can focus your attention on one speaker
    • If possible, attend Zoom classes in a quiet environment with minimal distractions
    • Take breaks from looking at the screen to give your eyes a rest, focus on taking notes, or at a focal point away from your screen while you listen.
    • If possible, take breaks from screens between Zoom sessions and practice Zoom wellbeing.

It is recommended that you follow these guidelines when attending Zoom sessions, but even with the best protections inappropriate activity may occur. If an incident occurs during your session that affects your learning or ability to focus or participate, talk to your course instructor. Should you suspect your class has been disrupted by individuals outside of the class, or a security incident has occurred you can report incidences to IT Security. Contact the IT Support Center at 403.220.5555 or itsupport@ucalgary.ca.

Examples of disruptive activity could include the following:

  • Zoom bombing, which is the practice of unauthorized individuals entering a zoom meeting for the purpose of creating disruptions or perpetrating other malicious activity
  • Students sharing the session password or link publicly
  • Inappropriate activity by legitimate participants in the session

Examples of disruptive activity could include the following:

  • Zoom bombing, which is the practice of unauthorized individuals entering a zoom meeting for the purpose of creating disruptions or perpetrating other malicious activity
  • Students sharing the session password or link publicly
  • Inappropriate activity by legitimate participants in the session

Identification of Individuals using Zoom

We are aware that some individuals are changing their display names in Zoom, which makes it difficult for instructors to ascertain genuine members of the class, to deal with inappropriate behaviour as well as judging contributions for assessment. In addition, it has been reported that some names could be construed as offensive.

The use of videoconferencing such as Zoom as tools to connect with one another in teaching and learning activities and meetings as part of the business of the University of Calgary relies on participants to act ethically, honestly and with integrity; and in accordance with the principles of fairness, good faith, and respect (as per the Code of Conduct). The vast majority of our community do so, but we have a very small minority of cases where this is not the case and is negatively affecting the learning experience or meetings. Participants are required to use names officially associated with their UCID (legal or preferred names listed in the student centre) when engaging in these activities. Instructors/moderators can remove those whose names do not appear on class rosters or meeting invites. Non-compliance may be investigated under relevant University of Calgary conduct policies. If participants have difficulties complying with this requirement, they should email the organizer of the class/meeting explaining why, so the organizer may consider whether to grant an exception, and on what terms.