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How-to Videos and Instructions

Scheduling Class Digitally

Scheduling Class Digitally

Who can edit meeting details?

Those who have scheduling privileges can edit meeting details. Please see the documentation, here, for information on how to assign scheduling privileges to those other than the host.

Can my Faculty Assistant schedule my class meetings?

Yes. FAs can be provided Scheduling Privilege in Zoom, which will allow them to schedule classes in Canvas. Please see the following documentation, here.


Zoom Screen Views During Class Sessions

Zoom Screen Views During Class Sessions

Can I sort the order in which students appear on the Zoom page?

How to Customize the Video Order

When viewing your participants in Zoom’s Gallery View, the Host may want to customize the order in which participants appear in the grid.

Note: the order must be set for every Zoom call. Zoom will not remember the custom order between Zoom sessions.

  1. Click on any participant’s video image and drag it to a new location in the grid.
  2. To make sure that all of your participants see the SAME order that you set as the Host.
  3. Click on “View” then click on Follow Host’s Video Order. This will force all participants to display your custom video order. Participant will not be able to change the order when this is enabled.

I have a large class—over 50 students. Will I be able to see all my students simultaneously?

No. You will not be able to see all of your students at once as you would in a typical physical classroom. The maximum display is 49 participants per page. You are able to scroll to additional participants. Learn more about how to change the views of participants. If you have two monitors, your students may spill into your second monitor.

I want to change what I am sharing with the students. Do I have to stop sharing what I am currently sharing to start sharing something new?

If an instructor wants to change what they are sharing they can click on “new share” and the new screen will be shared instantly. The instructor does not need to click “stop share” first. Learn more about sharing.

I’m using PowerPoint during my classes. However, I can only see a small group of students on a column in the right hand side of my screen. I’d really like to see as many students as possible. What can I do?

Unfortunately, the “side by side view” (when your PowerPoint is on one side and your students on the other) is available only to participants. If you have one monitor, you cannot see more students. If you have two monitors, however, you can enable the dual monitors option and have the participants in gallery view on their own screen. If possible, try to test the dual monitors option before class.

How can I change my Zoom background?

You can change your Zoom background. HLS offers suggested backgrounds for use during class.

Hosting: Controlling Zoom Functionality During Class Sessions

Hosting: Controlling Zoom Functionality During Class Sessions

Note: To control Zoom at the group level you need to be a host. Learn more about hosts below.

What are the differences between a host, co-host and alternative host? 

There are two different kinds of hosting options in Zoom:

  • Host: This is the teacher. The host has full permissions to manage the Zoom meeting and attendees (the students). The host can do things like stop and start the webinar, mute panelists, stop panelists’ video, remove attendees from the webinar, and more.
  • Co-hostsThis option is useful for courses with co-teachers, faculty assistants, administrative support. It allows you to share hosting privileges with another user in a meeting. This can be useful to allow another user to manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as muting participants or starting/stopping the recording. Note: Co-hosts are assigned during a meeting and cannot start a meeting.
  • Alternative Host: Shares the same controls as co-hosts, but can also start the meeting. Hosts can assign alternative hosts when they schedule a meeting.

I only want the students to see me when I am speaking during a Zoom class meeting. How can I do this?

Use the spotlight video function in Zoom. Spotlight video puts a participant as the primary active speaker for all participants. All participants will only see this speaker as the active speaker. Learn how to turn on (and off) the Zoom spotlight function.

HOw do i manually make someone co-host during a meeting?

You can do this by going to manage participants -> their name -> more -> make host/cohost.

How does the host allow participants to share their screens?

Before the Meeting: Hosts can grant participants Screenshare permissions prior to class via the master settings at and sign in with your Harvard Key -> go to Settings -> In Meeting (Basic) -> under Screen Sharing choose “All Participants” under “Who Can Share?”

During the Meeting: Click the arrow next to “Share Screen” and choose “Advanced Sharing Options.” (Only the host can see this option). As the host, you can control:

  • How many participants can share at the same time (one or multiple)
  • Who can share (only host or all participants)
  • Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing (only host or all participants)

The host can also stop screen sharing at any time.

Before Students Come to Class – Preparing Your Digital Classroom

Before Students Come to Class – Preparing Your Digital Classroom

Can I test my internet connection before a Zoom meeting?

Yes, go to this page to test your internet connection. Your internet connection itself can also be tested, here.

I have a scheduled guest. What do I need to do?

Guests may be invited by using the invitation link in your scheduled Zoom meeting. You may copy the link from your scheduled Zoom meeting. Please distribute links only to the appropriate people (registered students, guests, etc.). HLS course policies around guests remain in place. If guests are sharing presentations or materials they can do so by sharing their screen like any other participant.

Can I take attendance in Zoom?

Yes, you can take attendance. Please see this documentation on taking and exporting attendance.

I would like to teach using dual monitors. How can I do this?

You can enable the dual screen mode in Zoom. (Once you have enabled these settings  in your Zoom client account the settings should save for the pre-scheduled Canvas Zoom meetings.) Note: enabling the dual monitor feature in Zoom only informs Zoom that it is using two monitors, it does not communicate this information with other platforms and programs such as MSFT PowerPoint. Therefore, if using dual monitors and wanting to share documents such as a PowerPoint Presentation, the settings of PowerPoint need to be adjusted to ensure that the desired result is achieved when sharing documents (in this example PowerPoint) in Zoom while using dual monitors. Here is a reminder about how to share your screen.

Always remember to test your settings before class!

How can I change my notification settings in Zoom?

Go to, sign in with your Harvard Key. Go to settings, email notifications, and turn off the notification “When attendees join meeting before host”. The faculty can customize receiving other notifications in settings as well (in

I am having trouble uploading assignments in Canvas. What can I do?

Try clearing your cookies and cache in your browser. Here are the directions for Chrome and Firefox. For other browsers Google, “how do I clear my cookies & cache in [name of browser]?”

How do I ensure that students who need accommodation with the Zoom format receive the appropriate support?

Students in need of accommodation or assistance with accommodations should continue to work with Student Support Services by emailing or calling 617-495-1880.

Interacting in the Digital Classroom

Interacting in the Digital Classroom

Can I see the order in which students raised their hands if I am using the Raise Hand feature?

Yes, students are displayed in your participant list in the order that they raised their hands. Students that raised their hand first are displayed at the top. Zooms recent update also applies to the actual video thumbnails in Gallery View. If a student raises their hand while you are in Gallery View, their video will populate at the top-left corner of your viewing grid. All subsequent students that raise their hands will populate to the right of the first student who raised their hand. As student questions are answered and students lower their hands, their video will move back to their original position.

What about chatting via messaging during class?

Zoom has several options which include turning off the chat completely, chatting directly and only with the host, everyone publicly, everyone publicly and privately. You can manage the chat settings:

  • While in a meeting, click Chat in the meeting controls.
  • Click More to display in-meeting chat settings.
  • You can access the following options:
  • Save chat: Save all chat messages in a TXT file.
  • Allow attendees to chat with: Control who participants can chat with.
    • No one: Disables in-meeting chat.
    • Host only: Only the host can send messages to everyone. Participants can still send private messages to the host.
    • Everyone publicly: Participants can only send public messages. Public messages are visible to all participants. Participants can still send private messages to the host.
    • Everyone publicly and privately: Participants can send public or private messages. Public messages are visible to all participants. Private messages are sent to a specific participant.

How do I disable the chat function?

Yes, you can stop students from chatting by changing your Profile Settings in the web portal by going through HarvardKey. Choose whether you want to prevent all chatting or just private chatting. The Chat option will no longer appear in the Meeting Controls. To do this:

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click the Chat and Private Chat toggles to disable in-meeting chat.
  • Click Save Changes

You can re-enable this at any time by going back through the web portal to change your settings.


Tools for Teaching in the Digital Classroom

Tools for Teaching in the Digital Classroom

Note: Zoom allows convenient screen sharing which gives the instructor flexibility to use tools such as PowerPoint, whiteboard function, etc. Additionally, students can be broken up into small groups using the Breakout Room feature. The recommended best practice is ALWAYS to test any technology or sharing option before class to troubleshoot ahead of time.

How do I share my screen?

I often use a laser pointer when I teach to highlight diagrams, process steps etc. Can I do this in Zoom?

Yes, you can mimic a laser pointer function in Zoom.

How can I present using pre-prepared materials such as PowerPoint and still have students see my face on the screen as I present?

Zoom provides the option “Single Monitor with Slide Show in a Window” for students to view two windows simultaneously with one window showing faculty speaking and the other window showing the shared materials. You can click through slides or scroll through materials as you would normally. Students can also use Side-by-Side mode to view your picture and the presentation simultaneously on a split screen which allows students to make either the video or the presentation larger or smaller depending on preference. Follow best practice and test this setting before class.

Can I use the PowerPoint presenter view in Zoom?

Yes, but only if you have two monitors. Zoom calls this “Dual Monitors with Slide Show and Presenters Views.” In this view, students will see your slides on one screen but only you will see your presentation with notes on the other screen. Recommended best practice is to print out your presenter view slides before class.

I typically use the physical blackboard when I teach. What are my alternatives?

If you usually do “board work” as part of a class session, you have a number of options.

  • Use the Whiteboard feature (this often works best on a tablet computer rather than a trackpad).
  • Try the basic Annotation Tools (text box, free form draw/pen, shapes, and highlighter) to guide students or explain a concept.
  • Create a PowerPoint slide or other simple backdrop file on which you can type notes, and share those notes using Screen Sharing. Note that one advantage of this and other approaches here is that the boards can persist and be distributed to the students after class.
  • Create a “shared board” — perhaps managed jointly with teaching fellows — using Google Drive.
  • With the device that you’re using to access Zoom, point the camera at a pad of paper and use Screen Sharing to transmit the image as part of a remote blackboard-style lecture.
  • Prerecord the illustration as a video, then play it during class.

Also the Bok Center has put together a video on how to use Zoom and an iPad and/or overhead camera.

How can I take a poll in Zoom?

You can use the polling function in Zoom but note only the original meeting host can edit or add polls during a meeting. If the host or co-host role is transferred to another user, that user will only be able to launch polls already created. Also the host must be using a desktop/laptop to manage polling.

I would like to use the webinar function but it seems unavailable. Why?

Harvard Webinar licenses are available by submitting a request to ITS. Note: The Webinar license is treated like renting a book from the library. ITS can provide access to the license, but only for the desired times of use. Therefore, after the Webinar has concluded, ITS will remove the license and if needed again, the process would need to be repeated.

I want to record a lecture in advance and then post to my Canvas course site either for pre or post viewing. How can I do this? (added 3/24)

You can record in advance by:

Note: HLS does not have a Panopto license.

Can I use Zoom on multiple devices?

You can be signed in to Zoom on one computer, one tablet, and one phone at a time. If you sign into an additional device while logged into another device of the same type, you will be logged out automatically on the first device. 

Zoom does not permit sharing accounts with multiple individuals per our Terms of Service.

Outside of Class: Office Hours, Class Projects etc.

Outside of Class: Office Hours, Class Projects etc.

How do I set up office hours in Zoom?

Set up a Zoom meeting in Canvas called “Office Hours”. When you schedule this meeting in Canvas, select Allow Waiting Room (in the same area where you allow participants to enter meeting before you). This will allow you to admit students into the room one at a time which is the online equivalent to students waiting outside your office. This process allows any student from any Canvas course that you teach to attend and allows the faculty member to stay in one room. Learn more about setting up and using the waiting room feature. The Scheduler feature in Canvas can also be utilized to schedule individual student meet ups.

We suggest that faculty set Office Hours up themselves so that they have host privileges and so that they can directly edit the Office Hours meeting.

Troubleshooting with Zoom

Troubleshooting with Zoom

What if something goes wrong?

It might but it will work out! Here are tips about common Zoom problems:

  • I can’t see.
  • I can’t hear.
  • There’s background noise or feedback.
  • A student is lagging in the video view.
    • If video seems to be causing latency issues, it is best practice to turn of video, switching to audio only. It is also beneficial to close all unnecessary applications.

A student joined using a Zoom mobile app for IOS or Android but are having trouble with audio.

How do I find my meeting ID? (added 3/20)

Your meeting ID is the 9-digit number in your Zoom link. It looks like this: this “Click here to join Zoom Meeting:182499650”

In this example the meeting ID is 182-499-650

 What do I do if my computer audio doesn’t work? What do I do if I can’t log into my class online? (added 3/20)

Before your class, make note of your meeting ID. If your computer audio doesn’t work or you cannot join online, you can join by telephone (use any number in the below list to dial in). After you dial into the meeting you will be prompted to enter your Meeting ID that you received from your host.

My connection seems slow or doesn’t work very well. What can I do?

If possible, try to connect hardwire rather than wirelessly.

What happens if I have a Zoom outage and/or technical issues when I start teaching?

Implement a basic plan with your students and your co-hosts or TFs (if you have them) about what to do in case of an outage.

  • For students:
  1. Try to rejoin Zoom several times.
  2. Concurrently, send a Canvas class announcement letting students know you are trying to restart the class and have them wait 15 minutes.
  3. If by the end of 15 minutes you cannot restart the meeting, class is cancelled.
  4. Send a follow-up Canvas class announcement with instructions about making up the session.
  5. Optional: Set up a discussion board in Canvas for all to participate in, in the event of a zoom outage, to discuss next steps
  • For TA’s and/or co-hosts:
  1. Share cell phone numbers in advance of your class session so that you have a way to communicate immediately during a Zoom issue.

Some of my students were unable to join my Zoom meeting and reported that the links/dial-in number took them to a different room. Why did this happen? (added 3/31)

Zoom has experienced a glitch that impacted a small number of our users, referred to as the “split meeting issue.” Users attempting to join a meeting were booted into a second room without the host. This was a Zoom system level issue and had no relation to your meeting settings.

Zoom has identified the root cause of this issue and has implemented a fix; Zoom continues to monitor this issue to ensure it does not happen again. Please feel free to reach out with further questions and notify us if you experience this issue going forward at  Service Portal – Service Portal ( 

Why are some students reporting they need a password to access class recordings? (added 4/13)

There was an unexpected update made by Zoom which impacted classes recorded before noon on Monday, 4/13. Follow these steps to update your morning recordings to remove the unintended password requirement:

  • Log into
  • In the left navigation, select Recordings.
  • Find: Today’s Class Recording.
  • Click on Share.
  • If the button next to Password Protect is blue, click on the button until it is gray. This disables the password and allows the students to access the recording in Canvas without a password.

Still Need Zoom Help?

Still Need Zoom Help?

I still need help. What should I do?