Learning Tools

Zoom Updates Address Low Bandwidth for Teachers

Zoom has introduced several new features designed specifically for educators.

For teachers or instructors who are working with low bandwidth, the "stop incoming video" function allows them to stop incoming video feeds of others in the meeting, replacing the videos with students' profile images. The feature only affects the educator's view and it won't turn off his or her camera. Students will continue seeing the teacher's video and anything else being shared. The company said the feature would also be useful for students "prone to seizures," allowing them to take quick visual breaks. It's enabled in Zoom's video preferences menu and activated in the in-meeting "view" menu.

Zoom's poll capability will shortly have some new functionality:

  • Polls will have more variety, allowing for images in questions, ranked response questions and questions with matching answers, short and long text responses and fill-in-the-blank.
  • Polls can be turned into quizzes by selecting the right response to each question. Educators can also choose to show students how many answers they got right after they're done with the quiz.
  • Alternative hosts will be able to edit polls. Previously, that ability was limited to the meeting host; now it can be handed off to "alternative hosts," such as teaching assistants or substitute teachers, allowing them to change questions on the fly.

The application's newly updated LTI Pro app, which integrates videoconference into the learning management system, will shortly allow meeting hosts to invite guests — people who are outside of the school's account — to a session and enable educators to pre-assign students to breakout rooms directly from within the LMS.

Teachers and faculty can already create "galleries" — seating charts akin to the ones they maintain for their physical classrooms — arranged in alphabetical order or prioritized based on other factors, such as students who will need for help. Beginning in November, they'll be able to save their gallery view and load it for recurring meetings with the same meeting ID. For educators who need multiple galleries, they will have to use a unique meeting ID for each class.

Administrators are also getting some new powers. A bulk delete, unlink or deactivate will allow Zoom administrators to clean up account lists at the end of the year and remove those students who are no longer enrolled.

They'll also be able to review individual students' Zoom attendance record with an "advanced participant search." People can be looked up by name and Zoom will report on which dates they joined and when they entered and left the meeting.

For more information, visit the Zoom blog.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.