Zoom provides video conferencing with real-time messaging and content. It provides various tools to interact with participants in a meeting as well as some capturing options.

Things to know

  • Privacy and security is important when using a video conferencing tool.  Please review the Privacy and Security recommendations on this page before using Zoom.
  • Zoom can be more bandwidth and computer intensive than a student may have access to at home. Consider how you will provie alternate instruction if a student couldn’t join in a Zoom meeting.
  • Zoom can be used in browser or in standalone applications.
  • Only the host needs an account to hold a Zoom meeting. People attending a meeting don’t need an account.
  • With a free account, you can:
    • Host a group meeting for up to 40 minutes
    • Invite up to 100 participants
    • Host 1 on 1 meetings with no time limit
    • Utilize group collaboration features such as screen sharing and chat
  • If a free account does not meet a faculty member’s needs, please contact IT Support Services for options available.
  • Testing, testing, testing! Before you use Zoom in the classroom, try out all the different features you think you might use to get familiar.
  • For tips on improving the quality of the video you send over Zoom, see our Filming Recommendations page.

Getting Started

Free Zoom Account

To sign up for a free Zoom account go to the signup page.

UMW Managed Zoom Accounts

If you find the free account does not meet your needs, please contact IT Support Services for options available.

Hosting a Meeting and Inviting Students

Once you have created an account, hosting a meeting is as easy as selecting “Host a Meeting” from the browser or “New Meeting” from the desktop application.

There are multiple way to invite a student or students to a meeting. The Zoom support documentation goes through all the ways that you might invite people to join you in a meeting.

Standalone Applications, Plugins, and Mobile App

Zoom has a variety of standalone applications available for download including desktop apps, software plugins, and an app for Apple or Android.


While most modern video/webcams, microphones, and browsers work with Zoom, it is important to test out your setup before any meeting. You can find suggestions and more information about system requirements when using Zoom on their website. You can also find out more information about testing your audio, video, and screen-sharing on the Zoom website.

Using Zoom for Virtual Office Hours

Zoom is a great option for meeting with students one-on-one for office hours or advising. You can:

  • Utilize the scheduling function of Zoom to send individual invites to students to meet you at a specific day/time.
  • During your usual office hours, log in with your personal meeting ID to have students drop in to meet with you.

Using Zoom for Synchronous Lecture

Zoom can serve as a platform for live synchronous remote lectures. If you want to go this route, here are some suggestions:

  • During your usual class time use your personal meeting ID to have students meet you in a consistent meeting space.
  • If you need to host a meeting longer than 40 minutes, plan a break! If you end the meeting at or before the 40 minute mark, take a short break, and then restart the meeting, you can go for another 40 minutes without having to buy a paid account.
  • Utilize screen sharing to share any material on the screen with students.
  • Use the file sharing capabilities to share relevant materials on the fly.
  • Utilize the annotation features in screen sharing to annotate and highlight material.
  • Use the whiteboard feature in screen sharing.
  • Record your lecture for later use or for those unable to attend.
    • Note: Zoom does not provide automatic closed captioning. If you plan on sharing your recording, you can generate auto-captions by uploading the video to the following services:

Zoom Privacy and IT Security Recommendations

With the increasingly widespread use of Zoom, we’re seeing different privacy and IT security issues that you need to be aware of.  Of note, a current rush of “Zoom bombing” – uninvited participants dropping into Zoom meetings to share inappropriate or distracting audio, video, or images. To prevent this and other privacy and IT security issues, please follow these recommendations and safety tips when using Zoom (whether a free, shared, or UMW-owned account). 

  • Avoid sharing your meeting link publicly (on social media or a public website). Share the link in a closed environment like Canvas or direct email. 
  • Get familiar with the “Security” button options available in the Zoom tool tray when acting as host. You should consider some of the following:
    • Change your screen sharing settings to only allow host to share. NoteIf you are using a UMW-owned Zoom account, we have edited the settings to make this the default. You will need to change the settings during your meeting if you want to allow other participants to share their screen. 
    • Consider turning on the Waiting Room feature. This will require the host to approve every participant before entry into the meeting. Keep in mind that if a participant is disconnected, you will need to re-approve them for entry, so this option requires keeping an eye on your Zoom notifications during the meeting. 
    • Alternatively, consider locking your meeting once all attendees are present. Keep in mind that if a participant loses connection, they will not be able to reenter unless you unlock the meeting. 
  • Keep the camera on your computer covered and microphone turned off when not in use.
  • Don’t use the same password for your Zoom account that you use for other systems.

For more information, we recommend these two articles:
From the Zoom blog: Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: 
Harden Your Zoom Settings to Protect Your Privacy and Avoid Trolls