Zoom is a synchronous (live) web conferencing tool that is fantastic for fostering meaningful instructor-student and student-student interactions. It is being used by many faculty to assist them with a smooth transition to temporary remote teaching and learning.
However, in this time of disruption, there has been an increased likelihood that you may have uninvited attendees show up in your meetings and deliberately try to derail it. During the COVID-19 period, educators are reporting incidents of “Zoom-bombing” or “Zoom trolls.” The following six tips are provided to help you continue with your synchronous instruction in Zoom without the burden of uninvited attendees.
Many educators have used synchronous tools like Zoom for years without experiencing this issue. Once our period of disruption has passed, you can loosen up the reigns on your meeting settings.
This is a very stressful time for students too. While you should take precautions to ensure your Zoom meetings are attended only by your students, be careful that your students don’t interpret your actions as a sign of your distrust in them. Be open with them about what has been happening and let them know that you’ll be taking extra precautions to create a safe, welcoming environment for them.
This tip should be all you need to do! Zoom-bombing happens when a meeting link has been shared publicly. Avoid posting your links in a public place like on a website or even sharing them in an email. There are ways to make that link easily available to your students, but not so easily available to other people.
You are strongly advised to share your link to the Zoom session in your password protected course (Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.) so it is only accessed by students enrolled in your class.
Most likely, your Zoom In-Meeting settings at the account level are set to allow all participants to share. Giving students the opportunity to share their work is a powerful feature of Zoom. It is best to leave this setting enabled at the account level and make fine-tuned adjustments within meetings when it is not appropriate for others to share.
Below is a screenshot of the Zoom meeting settings at the account level. To check your account settings, go to twu.zoom.us, sign in, choose Settings on the left, and then select In-Meeting (Basic) and scroll to Screen sharing.
To avoid having unwanted voices speak at inappropriate times, follow these steps once you have started the meeting:
If you have Annotation enabled in your In-Meeting (Basic) settings at the account level, that means attendees will be able to annotate on your shared screen at any time.
To check your account level settings:
Log in at twu.zoom.us
On the left, choose Settings
Select In-Meeting Basic
Scroll to Annotation. If Annotation is enabled, that means attendees can annotate on your shared screen.
While this feature can be great for collaborative activities, you can easily deactivate the feature but only once you have begun to share your screen. Follow these steps:
If you wish to encourage students to annotate your shared screen, simply re-enable the feature by following the same steps.
If a disruptive, uninvited attendee appears in your meeting, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. Focus on managing the situation, as opposed to engaging with the individual. Follow these suggestions: