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Collaborate Ultra and Zoom Guidelines: For Instructors

Guidelines for a Successful Web Conference

This page will walk you through planning and moderating a successful Collaborate Ultra or Zoom web conference in your course. Review these guidelines before your meeting and consider sharing our Collaborate Ultra and Zoom Guidelines for Students page with your class.

Before Your Meeting

Planning

Determine the purpose of your web conference and plan your session accordingly. Will this be a lecture to your students? Will this be a discussion in which your students are expected to propel the conversation? Will you be guiding the discussion or only commenting when needed?

If you're lecturing, ask students to keep their microphones muted and their video off, and direct them to interact in the Chat. Establish a way for users to ask questions or communicate with you during your lecture.

If you're meeting for a discussion, remember to moderate the chat and encourage users to speak on the microphone. Plan ways to bring up new topics or engage your students when there is a lull in conversation.

Technology

Choose a device to utilize when accessing your web conference. A smartphone or tablet might be convenient, but the quality of your WiFi connection might determine how well it works for a web conference. If your smartphone's microphone is better than your laptop's, your smartphone might be a better option. Laptops allow you to use external microphones and webcams, which are more flexible, but also a bit more complicated to configure properly.

Please reach out to the Technology Help Desk if you need recommendations or assistance with your hardware.

Setup

Choose a location to setup your equipment for web conferencing. If you're using a webcam, try to position yourself so your face is lit by natural light. Avoid being back-lit by a window or bright light source, as this will make your webcam image difficult for other users to see clearly.

Also consider ambient sounds around your location. A quiet office or bedroom can work well to reduce background noise. If you're outside or located near a busy street, make sure traffic noise isn't audible to your students.

Finally, make sure your Internet access is stable. If you have the ability to connect via Ethernet, doing so will provide a more stable connection than WiFi. If you utilize WiFi, make sure your setup location is as close as possible to your router or WiFi access point.

Browser Choice

For web meetings, try using different browsers to find the one that works best for you. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox should both work well.

If you're on a mobile device, please do not log into a Collaborate Ultra or Zoom web conference using the Canvas Teacher app. Instead, log into Canvas using your device's default browser app and then join your Collaborate Ultra room there. There's also a free Zoom app available for mobile devices.

Web conferencing can be resource intensive and it's a good idea to minimize applications running in the background during your web conference. If you have the ability to disable system notifications during your web conference, that can prevent distractions or unintended sounds while your microphone is enabled.

Testing

Always test out your hardware and web conferencing software in advance of your meeting. Make sure you can:

  • Access your web conferencing session
  • Enable your microphone and webcam

The goal of this testing is to confirm you know how to access your meeting promptly, your device's hardware configuration allows you to fully participate when you do, and that your local Internet connection is stable enough to handle the meeting. If you need to troubleshoot any aspect of your web conferencing setup, please reach out to the Technology Help Desk or review the documentation pages linked below.

If either your audio or video doesn't work, restart your device, then configure your sound and video settings to fix the issue. The following documentation pages explain how to setup your audio and video settings for Collaborate Ultra and Zoom.

During Your Meeting

Your Microphone

Mute your microphone when you're not speaking. This is best-practice for attending any web conference as it prevents whomever is speaking from having to speak over background noise from other attendees' microphones. At the beginning of class, remind your students to do the same.

Be cognizant of ambient noise in your room. Other individuals might be audible on your microphone, as will loud noises outside of your room, like passing traffic.

Your Webcam

Enable your video as often as possible. This builds presence in your course and makes it easier to connect in a meaningful way over a web conference.

Second, be aware of what's showing in your video. Consider what's behind you, including other people or objects in your room.

Meeting Etiquette

If you're using Collaborate Ultra, consider using the "Raise Your Hand" feature to indicate you'd like to speak. This is especially important in large groups, like a full classroom.

Use the chat feature to supplement your conversation, share links, and answer student questions. Remember to read the chat throughout the meeting and interact with your other users. Consider reacting to chat replies on the microphone as that's the most engaging way to meet via web conference.