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Teaching with Zoom

Because Zoom is a new tool for many instructors, it is important to take some time to become familiar with the software's functionality, and understand how to effectively manage a Zoom class. On this page, we offer some guidance on how to teach with Zoom. You will also find basic protocols for handling issues related to security, privacy and recording with Zoom.

To get started with Zoom, please visit Zoom at York for tutorial videos. Information Security at York has provided privacy and security guidance for using Zoom responsibly in your classes. Technical questions can be quickly answered by visiting the Zoom Support website. For those interested in Zoom-related training, please register for a training session with eServices.

How to visually master your video-conferencing meetings

In this webinar, Canadian cinematographer and documentary filmmaker, Zoe Dirse helps instructors develop and refine their on-camera appearances. This webinar is useful for colleagues who will be using videoconferencing or video-recording as part of their online/remote teaching. It includes tips and tricks for mastering cinematographic elements, such as camera angles, image size, lighting and choice of background, among other factors.

Managing a Zoom Class

  • For your first class, set aside some time to introduce your students to Zoom and ensure that they are able to connect their audio and video.
  • Provide a class agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered and the activities they will engage in.
  • Discuss online etiquette and student expectations in the first virtual lesson and periodically re-visit this discussion throughout the term if needed.
  • You can utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document feature to let your students engage with you. You can also use this feature to collaboratively work through a problem or text.
  • Take time to promote live questionscomments, and reactions from your class. Give the students a chance to test the non-verbal participation features so they feel comfortable using them.
  • Divide the class into smaller groups for discussion, conversation (language-learning) or group work. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature by pre-assigning or auto-assigning students into groups. As the host of a meeting, you can visit each of the breakout rooms to assist students and/or moderate their discussions.
  • Have students share their screen to present.

To engage your students, consider using some of the following features during your Zoom class:

Protecting student privacy

Some students may not want to enable their video and/or audio during Zoom classes for a variety of reasons. They may lack the necessary technological resources (e.g., the Internet bandwidth to enable stable video-streaming), or they may not have access to a quiet learning space. Students may also have other privacy-related concerns. Please do not make it mandatory for students to appear on video in your Zoom classes. If you would like to build connections in your small class through videoconferencing, and some students are unable to appear on video, please encourage these students to let you know immediately, so that alternate forms of participation can be considered. For further details, please review the LA&PS course policy on Zoom meetings (PDF).


To address some of your security-related concerns, we break down the ways in which York's license with Zoom offers instructors a layer of protection.

Meeting through Zoom

All audio, video, screen-sharing and text content during a Zoom meeting will be encrypted in transit between your device and Zoom’s US servers. York’s license with Zoom ensures that end-to-end encryption will be applied to data-in-transit. This should prevent unauthorized third parties from intercepting the content of your Zoom meeting. In addition to encryption, York also has limited data routing from Canadian and US data centres, which should add another layer of protection.

Please remember to secure your Zoom classes and meetings. For more information, please consult this guide on how to prevent 'Zoom Bombing' in your classroom (PDF).

Storing your Zoom recordings

When instructors choose to record their Zoom classes, they have a choice about where those recordings will be stored. Instructors can choose to record to the Zoom Cloud, which is housed on US servers. Recording to the Zoom Cloud can enable certain features. You will need to record to the Cloud if you would like to enable the automatic audio transcription of your classes. The resulting audio transcripts can then be embedded as closed captions in your Zoom recordings.

Alternatively, instructors can choose to locally record to their own computers. They can then upload the recording directly to their eClass course, or to their OneDrive (NB: all instructors have access to a OneDrive, especially if they have migrated to Outlook and Office 365, and their OneDrive has a storage capacity of 5 terabytes). To manually change your recording settings through the Zoom toolbar during a meeting, please hit the Record button.

Zoom program interface with record menu open

Standard operating procedures for recording synchronously-delivered lectures, seminars, and tutorials

To ensure that all students will have access to lecture material, especially if they are unable to attend class (e.g., due to time zone differences, personal or family circumstances, unstable Internet connection, etc.), instructors are encouraged to record their synchronously-delivered lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Instructors have the discretion to not record portions of a lecture, tutorial or seminar (e.g., during nuanced discussions of controversial topics). If you will be deliberately turning off your recording at any point during your lecture, seminar or tutorial, please explain to students why the covering of specific material should not be filmed, either by you or by students. Please do not use unrecorded material as the basis for high-stakes assessments.

Here are LA&PS' standard operating procedures for all media recordings made by instructors for educational purposes:

  • A media recording of an instructor (i.e., course director, TA or academic staff member) delivering a lesson does not require student consent if the recording device (i.e., camera and/or microphone) is focused only on the instructor, and students are not identifiable in the recording.
  • Notice should be provided to students when a media recording will occur in a learning space, in the event that a student’s image or voice is inadvertently captured. Notice is most effectively provided through multiple means of communication, including through the course outline, emails to students before the start of classes, during the first lecture, and verbally before any media recording takes place. The notice will explain to students that the recording is used for lesson capture only, and that it will not be used for any other purposes.
  • If it is likely that many student images and/or voices will be captured, the instructor should ask students to consent to the capture of their image/voice prior to recording. Alternatively, the instructor should review and edit the media recording before posting and sharing it with the class.
  • If media recordings include student images and/or voices (e.g., recordings of student presentations or discussion), they should only be used for educational purposes. A specified date for the deletion of recordings should be provided to students. For example, in courses without a final exam, such media recordings should be deleted one week after the end of classes. In courses with a final exam, such media recordings should be deleted one day after the end of term.
  • For reasons related to copyright and privacy protection, instructors should always post all media recordings to a Passport-York protected platform, such as eClass.