Zoom, which allows you to create a videoconference with up to 300 participants at a time, is one of the most effective tools which you can use to communicate—whether synchronously or, through its "record meeting" feature, asynchronously—with your students, teaching staff, and colleagues more generally. (It can also be a superb way for students to keep in touch with each other; your students' Harvard-issued Zoom accounts come with all of the same capabilities to host meetings, share screens and files, etc. as does yours. You may want to recommend that students form their own Zoom study groups, which they could coordinate by timezone.) While teaching by Zoom involves certain limitations (not least of which is the fact that it requires your students to have fairly robust internet access), it also unlocks a number of interesting possibilities (e.g. the ability to do boardwork and annotate slides in real time).

Getting Started in Zoom

Academic Technology for the FAS has a page full of resources on teaching via Zoom, including sign ups for remote trainings and advice about how to execute particular teaching moves through the toll (e.g. sharing slides).

Boardwork and Document Cameras

Two face-to-face teaching moves which might seem difficult to replicate via Zoom are (1) boardwork (i.e. chalk- or whiteboarding out the solutions to problems in real time), and (2) show and tell (i.e. allowing students to observe and inspect an object at close range). While they are not perfect replacements, there are ways that Zoom does allow for at least some approximation of both of these experiences: by tethering a phone, tablet, and/or document camera to your main desktop.

  • A tethered tablet (particularly if you also have a stylus) allows you to work problems by hand on the screen, saving your work for later upload to Canvas.
  • A tethered document camera (which could be a proper document camera, or a smartphone with its camera app selected) allwos you to share objects as well as documents and manipulate them for remote observers.

We demonstrate how to execute both of these solutions on our Boardwork page.

Managing Class Recordings

Once you end a Zoom session that has been recorded in the cloud, you have a few easy options for organizing links to the recordings through your Canvas site.

Option 1: Publishing Links at Zoom 

Pros: Fewest steps 

  1. Click on Zoom in the sidebar at your Canvas site, which will take you to the Zoom web page tied to your course (in Safari you might be prompted to open Zoom in a new window) 
  2. Click on the Cloud Recordings tab (the tab farthest to the right) 
  3. Slide the toggle under Publish to the right for any class recordings you want students to have access to 
  4. That’s it! Any recordings that have been published are now visible to students in the Cloud Recordings tab when they select the Zoom button within the Canvas site for your course. 

Option 2: Organizing Links in Canvas

Pros: Keeps links within your course’s Canvas site 
Cons: Requires a couple of additional steps 

  1. When your class recording has been processed, you should get an email that has a URL you can use to share the recording with students
  2. These links can be organized in your Canvas site, e.g., as external URLs in a module or you can embed them as hotlinks in a page within a module