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How-to Videos and Instructions

Scheduling Class Digitally

Scheduling Class Digitally

Is Canvas robust enough to support all these classes? (added 3/20)

Setting up Zoom meetings in Canvas doesn’t actually lean on Canvas resources — it just leverages the platform to make sure that the only people who turn up for your classes are your students, that there’s some automated scheduling for the students to know in which Zoom room to find their classes as they move from one to another in a busy day, and an easy and seamless way to get your class recordings to your students. The company that runs Canvas has been adding infrastructure for the last two weeks to bolster continuity. Here is a statement from Canvas about its COVID-19 resource planning.

Do I have to schedule my classes in Canvas? (added 3/20)

Yes, it is highly recommended that all Zoom meetings be created in Canvas. Because Zoom is integrated with Canvas, the class meeting will automatically be updated in all student Canvas Calendars. Moreover, faculty must start their Zoom class meetings from within Canvas to protect student privacy.

Can I schedule my classes for any time I want?

No, your online class must be held at the same scheduled time as your class was on the physical HLS campus. All class start times and end times will continue to be on Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4). However, the assigned Zoom link is live 24 hours a day. Therefore, additional meetings, such as “Coffee with the Professor” can be scheduled for anytime.

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.

Should I schedule my classes to start and extend a few minutes before my class’ official start and end times?

You can set a Zoom meeting to start any time you want. However, the meeting does not start until the host signs in. A Zoom session ends instantly at the scheduled end time so you probably want to extend the class meeting time by 15 minutes. This will allow students to ask questions, “mill about”.  However, just as on the physical HLS campus students may have classes scheduled back-to-back.

Can I schedule multiple class meetings at once?

Yes. When you set up your Zoom meeting in Canvas, you can set recurring meetings. See our slide presentation for instructions. Scheduling meetings in Zoom is very similar to scheduling appointments in Outlook.

How do I notify my students about my online class sessions?

Scheduling Zoom meetings in Canvas will automatically update student calendars with the meeting information on the day/time of the class meeting. Although automatically sent to the calendar, students will not receive a “formal” notification. Therefore, if wanting to inform students that the classes have been scheduled, please feel free to send an email to your students acknowledging the updates to their calendars.

Do I have to go into Canvas to hold my class session in Zoom? (added 3/20)

Faculty must start their Zoom class meetings from within Canvas to protect student privacy. Logging into Zoom via your SSO and entering the meeting via Canvas ensures that one has access to the paid features of the HLS Zoom account. For example, Polling is a paid option that will only be available to the host if they enter the meeting via Canvas while logged into their HLS account via SSO. Also, a recorded class started in Canvas can only be streamed not downloaded by students who were unable to attend the actual Zoom class To access your Zoom meeting on your Canvas page, click “view calendar” on the right hand side of your course homepage.

How can I be assured that my students are receiving all class notifications regarding Zoom?

A universal message has gone out to all students instructing them how to change their Canvas settings to receive all notifications. They were also reminded that this a necessary step for their successful transition to online learning.

I scheduled a meeting (class) in Zoom. How do I invite the class? Or a guest? (added 3/30)

Your scheduled meeting will appear on your main Zoom screen (one with four icons that say “New Meeting,” “Join,” “Schedule,” and “Share Screen) on the right. Click on the three dots to the right of your name. A dialogue box appears, choose the option “Copy Invitation” To invite:


Zoom Screen Views During Class Sessions

Zoom Screen Views During Class Sessions

What if I don’t want to see myself on the screen?

You can hide yourself! Your students can still see you.

In Zoom, how will I “see” my students?

There are different viewing options. You can choose the gallery view (checkerboard) or the speaker view (speaker enlarged). Find this control in the upper right corner of your Zoom screen. Learn more about displaying participants in Zoom.

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

Yes, with the most current update, student video thumbnails can now be manually moved around the screen while in Gallery View. Those that are moved will stay in position until moved again. The new feature also brings those that Raise Hands to the first position (top-left) moving all others, even those that have been selected to be in position, to the right. If other students raise their hands, they will populate to the right of the first student that raised their hand and will appear in the order which they raised their hand. After the student lowers their hand, their video thumbnail will be moved back to their original position and those that were specifically moved into position will report back to the place where they were positioned.

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.

What are the students seeing on the Zoom page especially if I have a large class?

Students control their screen preference settings. These are:

  • Gallery View: See a “checkerboard view” of classmates on your screen.
  • Speaker View: See a big view of the speaker and smaller pictures of your classmates either horizontally or vertically across the screen depending their settings.
  • For more information about the different views in Zoom please visit the Zoom Support page.
  • Note: Learn more information about different Zoom views by looking at this useful slideshow created by the Division of Continuing Information.

Can participants change other participants’ settings?

No. A participant can only set their own preferences. Only the instructor can change some of the settings of the other participants.

Can I split one screen when I share my screen? I’d like my students to see the materials I am presenting and I want to be able to see myself as I speak OR see my students’ profile pictures. (added 3/24)

Yes, this will allow faculty to let students to see the shared screen on the left and the students’ profiles in the right. Some instructors may prefer using this function. It enables instructors to present materials (such as PowerPoint) to students in a shared screen on the left while still seeing their students or themselves speaking on the right. How the instructor sees the right screen depends on their viewing preferences (Gallery or Speaker views).

How do I “pause” screen sharing? What do students see when I “pause” screen sharing? (added 3/25)

The “Pause Share” button is to the immediate right of the “New Share” button on the Zoom controls at the bottom of the Zoom window. The “Pause Share” button leaves the shared screen or document as it was when you pressed the pause button. Changes made to the shared screen or document will appear on other people’s screens when you stop pausing screen sharing. For example, you are sharing a PowerPoint presentation with your class but decide that you want to skip to the last page without flipping through the presentation while sharing your screen with the class. (Your presentation is hundreds of pages long.) Put Zoom in “Pause Share” and then go to the page of the presentation that you want to share and then press “pause share.” Your students will now see the page of the PowerPoint presentation that you want them to see.

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? (added 3/25)

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? (added 3/31)

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.

Are we limited to the number of co-hosts?

You should restrict the number of people who are co-hosts for your meetings to people who are either co-teaching or offering forms of administrative support, however, there is no technical limit on the number of co-hosts in a meeting.

how do I end my class session?

To end a class session, the host needs to click on the button on the right that says, “End meeting.” After you select this option you will see the following buttons, “End meeting for all,” “Leave meeting” and “Cancel.” Choose “End meeting for all” to end the meeting completely. If you choose “leave meeting” Zoom usually assigns a random host.  We strongly advise against selecting “leave meeting” during your class session.  It is best to always select “end meeting”.

When I end a class session, does the class recording stop automatically?

Yes, the recording feature will automatically terminate upon ending the class session.

I only want the students to see me when I am speaking during a Zoom class meeting. How can I do this? (added 3/23)

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.

Zoom didn’t make my co-teacher an automatic co-host. How can I do this manually during the meeting? (added 3/23)

During the meeting you also have the ability to grant him, or anyone, host/cohost privilege. 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? (added 4/10)

In response to Zoombombing incidents, default settings on Zoom were changed so that only the host has screen sharing capabilities at the start of a Zoom session. If you want to allow students to share their screens, you can change the settings during the class session. This can also be done before the class meeting via the master settings at

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.

Can a student be made a co-host? (added 4/6)

Yes, a student can be made a co-host only after the meeting begins. This can be done through the Zoom controls ribbon with the Manage participants button (student name _> more -> make cohost). A student, however, does not need to be made a co-host to make a presentation as the “Share Screen” function can be used instead. Generally speaking, best practice is that a student not be made a co-host unless there is a very specific pedagogical need as the students will have access to a higher level of control over the meeting (e.g. such as being able to mute everyone simultaneously etc.)

Before Students Come to Class – Preparing Your Digital Classroom

Before Students Come to Class – Preparing Your Digital Classroom

What norms do I need to consider?

The HUIT developed Teach Remotely website is a great resource for best practices for online pedagogy. Additionally, here are a few basics to consider:

  • Norms: Follow the same norms that that you have already established in your physical classroom. In addition, watch and share this humorous video that DCE developed for “student do’s and don’ts in Zoom.”
  • Communicate: Have a conversation with students about norms, e.g. enter the classroom with your mic turned off. Don’t underestimate impact of this sudden disruption.
  • Screen view: Everyone changes their screen view setting to their full name, think of this as the equivalent of the student’s name card.
  • Dress appropriately: Remind students that they need to be appropriately dressed (at least from the waist up).
  • Class interactions: Explain at the beginning of class how you expect students to interact e.g. wait to be called on, unmute themselves, tell students in advance that you plan to cold call etc..
  • Chat Function: Establish norms around chatting. Faculty can control chat settings. However, some instructors find the chat function useful as a different way of encouraging interaction. Chat can also be helpful for bringing in more voices especially those who are not native English speakers.
  • Recording: The policy on recording has changed from the spring of 2020. Classes are no longer being automatically recorded. They will only be recorded for religious holidays and special requests by students to DoS.
  • Inadvertent Dropped Out of Meeting: Remind students to jot down the meeting invitation number and phone number in case they get disconnected or need to switch to audio only.

Do you have any suggestions for general best online teaching practices?

Here are a few basics to keep in mind.

  • Different mindset: Keep in mind that teaching online requires a different mindset. As you lecture you won’t be able to glance around the classroom to see people’s reactions or take questions. Think actively about how you will manage this norm.
  • Use names: When you call on people, use their name so say, “Mary, what do you think about…?” This will help create connection which is especially important during this time of social distancing.
  • Plan ahead: Remind students to take a quick tour of Zoom and test their devices.
  • Be patient and kind: Expect challenges but also be open to unexpected opportunities that may occur with this format.
  • Take a temperature check: Consider taking a few minutes at the beginning or end of class to see how students are doing generally. It is a stressful time.

Can I test my internet connection before a Zoom meeting? (added 3/23)

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

Do I want to see myself on the screen as I teach? Or do I want to hide myself so that only my students see me as I teach?

A: Deciding whether to see yourself on your screen as you teach is a personal preference. You can hide your image by going to the three dots at the right hand top corner of your picture and choose the “hide self view” option.

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.

I have students from other local universities registered in my classes. They have access to the Canvas course site. Is there anything else that I need to do to ensure that they can participate fully in the course?

Your students from other institutions are all set if they are officially enrolled cross registered students. However, if your non-Harvard students are still having trouble accessing your Zoom meeting created in Canvas they can use their personal Zoom account to join the meeting.

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? (added 3/23)

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? (added 3/27)

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

There are a lot of new details to think through in addition to teaching! What strategies can I use to lessen my load to focus on teaching?

Assign teaching assistants (or students) roles to help you host the meeting so you can focus on teaching such as:

  • Technology Troubleshooter – Help others with their technology
  • Chat Monitor – Monitor the chat window for questions or shared resources

Can I turn off the “Your meeting attendee is waiting” notification message? (added 3/24)

Yes. You can turn these off by going to Sign in with your Harvard key, go to settings, email notifications, and turn off the notification “When attendees join meeting before host”. This article has instructions on how to add a different default email client for mailto links in the following browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

I am having trouble uploading assignments in Canvas. What can I do? (added 3/30)

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? (added 4/1)

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

How should I start the beginning of each class?

Remind your students of basic Zoom etiquette:

  • Ask them to turn on their cameras (Note visiting > Settings, will allow for the option to turn on “Participant video”. This will automatically turn on student cameras as they enter the room.
  • Look at the camera in order to make eye contact when they’re talking
  • Mute their mics when they aren’t contributing see How to mute all participants at once.

How can students ask questions (raise their hands)?

Go to the participants icon on the bottom of the Zoom page and choose “raise hand.”

How do I call on a student?

You can call on a student as you would in a classroom. Students will be able to hear and see you OR you can use the “raise hand function.” Zoom recently released an update that populates student video thumbnails of those who raise their hands to the top-left position when in Gallery View. All students who raise their hand afterwards will populate to the right of the first person who raised their hand in the order which the hands were raised. As student questions are answered and students lower their hands, their video thumbnail will move back to their original position. Otherwise, consider your class format to determine the best strategy for calling on students. For large lectures it will be easier to use the raise hand feature. For seminars you may be able to manage the classroom just by audibly calling on students. Allow students to unmute themselves.

Can I cold call?


  • Large lectures: Call on a student by reviewing the participant list (which will be brought up when you view manage participants) and then choose a student by audibly saying “Susan, what do think about …?” Also here are some tips for lecturing remotely from the Bok Center.
  • Seminars: You can either use the participant list or just look at the screen in Gallery View (checkerboard) which will show you the students.

How will a student answer a question?

A student will unmute their audio and then answer as they normally would. Remind people to mute their audio once they have answered the question. Note: if a student is muted, they can hold down their Spacebar to unmute themselves to speak. Once they are done speaking and release the Spacebar, they will be automatically muted once again!

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.

Can I mute all students at once?

Yes, there is a function “Mute All” that allows the faculty to mute everyone simultaneously. However, students can still unmute their individual audio after the faculty uses the “Mute All” option.

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.
  • Share file in meeting: Send a file in the chat.
  • 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.

What about closed captioning? (added 3/23)

Please reach out to DOS directly to discuss appropriate captioning options.

A student refuses to use the video option in Zoom. What, if anything, can I do?

Students can only refuse to use the video for a legal reason (e.g. FERPA). In this case they should let their instructor know in advance of their status. Otherwise, it is HLS policy that students’ cameras be turned on. However, you may want to inquire about why a student feels uncomfortable with the video function.

If my students arrive “late” to class can they still attend? (added 3/23)

Yes, students should be able to join the class without difficulty.

What happened to the file sharing Zoom option in Chat? (added 4/7)

In response to the security issues around Zoombombing, Zoom has disabled this feature across its platform.


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.

Do I really need to wear headphones when I teach?

Yes, for a better user end experience. Earbuds are perfectly acceptable for instructors to use.

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? (added 3/23)

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.

Can I temporarily stop the video and audio transmission for a participant(s)? Or in other words is it possible to put someone “on hold” in Zoom? (added 3/23)

Yes, Zoom allows a participant(s) to be put on hold. This allows others to continue the meeting while temporarily preventing any participants who are on hold from seeing and hearing the other participants.

Breakout Rooms / Small Group Work and Discussions in Zoom

Breakout Rooms / Small Group Work and Discussions in Zoom

Can I put students in small discussion groups?

Yes, you can put students into small groups by using the Breakout Room function which also allows you to choose the small group size. You have four options:

  • Assign Manually: Assign students to specific groups during a live meeting.
  • Assign Automatically: Zoom automatically splits your students up evenly in each room.
  • Let Participant Choose Room: Zoom has recently updated Breakout Rooms with a new feature that allows students to self-select into rooms, which is a replacement for the Pre-Assigned Breakout Rooms, which have proven to be unreliable.
  • Pre-Assigning Breakout Rooms: Zoom allows for Breakout Rooms to be built and for students to be assigned to the rooms ahead of the class meeting. However, as a warning, this process is easy to accomplish in Zoom, but user variables can prevent this option from working optimally. Variables include students not entering the Zoom room via the proper account associated with their HLS email, students not entering the room via Canvas, etc. If wanting to use pre-assigned rooms, it is suggested to use the new Let Participant Choose Room option listed above!

As the host can I go in and out of the student Breakout Rooms?

Yes, you can move in and out of breakout rooms. When you enter a Breakout Room students “see” you.

Can I broadcast the same message across Breakout Rooms simultaneously?

You can broadcast a message to all groups simultaneously in Zoom (e.g. We will return to class in five minutes.).

Can I end the Breakout Room function and bring students as group back to class?

Yes, the host can close all Breakout Rooms at once. Zoom gives students a one-minute grace period to wrap up discussions.

Often I have students break into pairs from small groups. How do I do this?

It is recommended to use the new Let Participant Choose Room Breakout Room option if wanting students to be in one breakout room and then move about to smaller rooms or to move among other rooms to mix up participants.

I have pre-assigned my students to a Breakout Room but they have been sent to the wrong rooms or haven’t arrived at all. What can I do? (added 3/25)

Three possible troubleshooting strategies:

  1. Ensure that the names and emails in your CSV files are properly aligned
  2. Ensure that students are joining the Zoom meeting with their Harvard credentials. They can check this by:
    1. Logging in via a web browser, clicking on their profile.
    2. Scrolling down under settings and look for their “sign-in email” – it should be your username email address (or for former Harvard students it may their FAS email address). Beneath their email there should be text stating Linked Accounts SSO.
    3. Using the Zoom desktop client, click on your profile image (top right) – it should show your username, email address (or for former Harvard students it may their FAS email address), and “Pro”
    4. Using your mobile device (iOS) and the Zoom client, opening the app should immediately display your name, email address and “licensed”.
  3. Ensure that students have enabled Breakout Rooms for their accounts. They can check by:
    1. Going to,
    2. Signing in with their Harvard key so that they will be using their appropriate Harvard credentials for Zoom to recognize them,
    3. Going to Settings,
    4. Scrolling to “In Meeting Advanced”,
    5. Toggling on Breakout Rooms and checking the pre-assignment checkbox.

Following these steps ensures that Zoom will recognize students when they sign in and they will be automatically assigned to their breakout rooms.

I want students to arrange themselves into Breakout Rooms rather than assigning them to Breakout Rooms as the host. Can I do this?

Yes, this can be done using the Let Participant Choose Room option.

Sometime with pre-assigned Breakout Rooms I am still having issues with orphaned students. This is even after students have claimed their Harvard Zoom accounts and I’ve double-checked the CSV file. What can I do? (added 3/27)

Unfortunately, there have been some anomalies across Harvard with the Breakout Rooms. Students who leave the meeting and come back after the Breakout Rooms start get orphaned in the main meeting room. HUIT is aware of this issue.

What types of communication can the host engage in simultaneously when participants are in Breakout Rooms? 

The only simultaneous communication a host can do while everyone is in breakout rooms is via the “broadcast message to all” chat feature.

I want to record a lecture for my students to watch in advance of class. I plan on recording the lecture in Zoom. Should I record to the cloud or locally (to my desktop)?

While you can record to both, recording to the cloud will make it easier for you to do basic editing. If you record to your desktop you will need to edit the video in a separate video editing program rather than directly in Zoom.

Does the share screen function work when students are in Breakout Rooms? (added 3/31)

Yes, Breakout Room participants have full audio, video and screen share capabilities. However, note that the meeting host cannot simultaneously share their screen in all the different Breakout Rooms. If the host wants to share their screen with Breakout Room participants, the host (or co-host) must enter each Breakout Room separately.

I want my students to choose a Breakout Room based on a specific topic. For example, I want them to have options about which specific topic to discuss. Can I do that?

There isn’t an easy way to do this but it is feasible with smaller classes and involves manual Breakout Room assignment during class. Here are the steps for the workaround. Note: It involves some work!

Prior to class:

  • Create specific Breakout Rooms giving them meaningful names (e.g. based on topic).
  • Create a Google document that will serve as your sign-up sheet. The sheet needs to be populated with the Breakout Room Topics (horizontally in columns) and then students can type in their names below the appropriate column.

In Class

I want my TFs to be able to move across Breakout Rooms. Is this possible? (Or, more generally, any co-host?) (added 4/6)

Yes, with some pre-set-up. First, your TF’s (or any other co-host) must have claimed their official Harvard Zoom accounts with Harvard Key. Next, you (the host) must manually assign the Breakout Rooms. Finally, assign all your TFs (co-hosts) to one Breakout Room (think of this as a staging room). When the Breakout Room sessions begin, your co-hosts will all start in their initially assigned Breakout Room but should be able to roam freely amongst the Breakout Rooms (similar to the original host). (Note: Anyone other than a student associated with your meeting should automatically be assigned co-host status.)

A second option is to use the new Let Participant Choose Room option. This will allow for all to move about the Breakout Rooms as desired.

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

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? (updated 3/25)

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.

If students want to “Zoom meet” outside of class can they do that?

Yes, all Harvard students, faculty and staff have their own Zoom accounts. Students should use the Zoom program on their computer/mobile device and not enter Zoom through Canvas. Keep in mind that students will be in a variety of time zones if you assign group work.



Should I record my Zoom class?

No. The policy on recording has changed from the spring 2020 to fall 2020. Zoom meetings are no longer automatically recorded. Please reach out to HLS Dean of Students Office for requests to record.

How do I record my class session?

Follow the guide to recording class sessions using Canvas and Zoom.

When does a Zoom recording of a class end? (added 4/13)

Zoom recordings continue until the host (who controls recording) leaves the meeting. Hosts can also manually control recording with the record button.

How do I ensure the best recording quality of my class? (added 3/25)

If possible, always use a wired connection to ensure best overall meeting quality.

How do I publish my class session?

Follow the guide to publishing class sessions using Canvas and Zoom.

Where are the Zoom recordings saved?

Zoom recordings are automatically saved to the Harvard Zoom Cloud. The class link may be shared only through Canvas and only with your class community.  In accordance with the Law School’s policy for Class Recordings, “no person is permitted to post, distribute, or otherwise make available any recordings produced by the Harvard Law School Information Technology Services Department without the permission of the Harvard Law School Communications Office.” For the purposes of this provision, all class recordings produced using Zoom and published to Canvas will be considered produced by the HLS ITS Department.  For immediate questions email: Lisa Burns at:

I’d like to edit my class recording. How can I do this? (added 3/27)

Follow the steps below or click on this link to see the instructions with screen shots.

  1. The host can edit by following these steps:
  2. Navigate to your cloud recordings.
  3. Click on a title of your video
  4. Click the play button to open the video editor
  5. Click playback range
  6. Adjust the cursor to the point of where the video should be starting and ending.

Sometimes, there are some peculiarities with this process. If you’re logged into the portal, then you’ll also see the “scissors” in the Canvas cloud recordings. If you are logged out of the portal this functionality turns off in the Canvas Zoom cloud recording. Please note that we have discovered (at least) one glitch. Sometimes the edited lecture disappears from Canvas but it is still available in the portal. One workaround to this glitch is to download the lecture and post within your modules on Canvas.

How long until my class recording will be available to share with my students who were unable to attend the Zoom class? (added 3/20)

Your students will be able to see class recordings. However, please set expectations and remind students that due to heavy usage of Zoom, recording processing times will take longer than usual. For example, students should not expect to view a recorded class immediately after recording. It may take a few hours after the class is held for the recording to become available. Zoom is aware of this issue.

Do I need to do anything to publish my recordings to Canvas so that students can view the class recordings? (added 3/27)

Yes, you need to publish your class recordings in Canvas. Once your recordings have finished processing, you can find them under the Zoom link in Canvas, in the Cloud Recordings tab. To publish, click the gray button. When it turns blue, the class recording is available for students to view.

How long will class recordings be available to students? (added 3/27)

Links to Zoom class session recordings will be removed and videos deleted at the end of the academic term.

My class recordings are longer than the actual scheduled class time as it appears the recording starts when the first participant –not the host – enters the meeting. What can I do to minimize unnecessary recording? (added 3/27)

If you don’t want to have longer class recordings than your actual scheduled class length time you will need to change your Zoom settings so that participants can’t join the meeting before you (the host). With this change your class recording will only start when you (the host) arrive. This change, however, means that you will have to admit any students who arrived before you (the host) from the waiting room. You can admit the students as a group.

To change your settings so that recording starts only when you (the host) enter the meeting follow these steps:

  1. Change your universal settings in Zoom by going to, click onto the “Meetings” page, under the option “Join Before Host.” Make sure that the “Allow participants to join the meeting before the host arrives” is deselected (greyed out).
  2. Once the actual meeting starts, you as the host will need to click on the “Manage Participants” button in the Zoom control ribbon and then select “Admit All.”

Are chats also recorded and saved when Zoom meetings have been recorded? (added 3/23)

All public chats are also saved with the Zoom class recording. When Zoom classes are saved to the cloud Private chats between students are never saved regardless of whether saved to the cloud or locally. Chats between an individual student and the instructor are saved if recorded through the cloud but are saved if recorded locally.

If I record my class, how can I take steps to safeguard my students’ privacy?

First and foremost, if your class is approved to be recorded, let your students know that the class is going to be recorded and explain why you are recording the class and how the recordings may be used.

Also tell them their options. If they do not want to be identifiable in the recording, let them know they can turn off their webcam and they can discuss with you possibly changing their display name. If they do that, then they should tell you what their display name is and you should remember to use it when referring to them during the recording.  Another way of thinking about the display name is similar to how students use name placards in class.

In addition, explicitly state to your teaching assistants and students that they are not to share the recording links or copies of recordings with anyone outside of the class.

What will the class recording layout look like when my students watch the course recording? (added 3/27)

The recording layout follows the video layout of the host. For example, if the host is in active speaker view the recording layout will be in active speaker view. Read here for more recording layout documentation. (Please note: Per HLS Policy only faculty may record classes.)

Who is allowed to record my class?

The instructor and course staff are the only ones authorized to initiate a recording of a class. Harvard has set its Zoom settings University-wide to default to a host-only recording session. Further, you should make it clear to all your students that they are not authorized to record a class.

Do students have the ability to record a class?

No. Only the instructor can start a class recording.

Is the recorded class content downloadable?

No, currently the recorded class content can only be streamed. Downloading has been disabled for all students.

I deleted my cloud class recording by mistake. Can I recover the file? (added 3/27)

Don’t worry! It is in your trash and you should be able to recover it. Login to Zoom at On the recordings page look for the blue Trash link which also has some numbers in parentheses. Your file should be there. Undelete it by clicking on the blue Recover link. You can also review this tutorial.

Are Breakout Room sessions recorded when Zoom records a class? If so, what gets recorded? (added 3/23)

During cloud recording Zoom will record only the main room activity regardless of the host’s location. Read more about Breakout Rooms and recording here  Note: HLS policy discourages local recording due to student privacy issues.

What options do I have for creating class recordings? (added 3/27)

Manually controlling the class recording function during your class is also an option.  Keep in mind, if you need to pause the recording to select the Pause option.  Only choose End recording when you are concluding your class.”

What are best practices around recording classes with Zoom? (added 3/20)

Below are some best practices around recording classes in Zoom:

  • Do not record anything that you do not need.
  • Pause your recording when you take a class break.
  • Make sure to end recording of meetings
  • Don’t let recorded meetings run unnecessarily in in the background as this will contribute slowing down the processing queue.
  • Remember that shorter recordings take up less space and therefore process quicker.

Passwords and Zoom

Passwords and Zoom

Now that a Zoom generated password is required for class entry some of my students have had trouble accessing the class. Any troubleshooting suggestions? (added 4/9)

Have students follow these steps:

  • Log into Canvas
  • Enter the class session by going to the class page
  • Select Zoom link on the left hand side to access the class
  • Remind students that entering class via the calendar may not work as those links have not been updating consistently.

Note: Students received both global Canvas notification as well as a message sent to their in-boxes on April 9, 2020.

I have students dialing into my class. How can they access the password? (added 4/9)

The host (instructor) needs to provide the student with the password.

If a student dials into class is there a specific format for entering the password? (added 4/9)

Yes. Enter the Zoom provided password as one single number without any dashes (even if the original password contained dashes).

How do I find the password for a meeting I had scheduled previously? (added 4/9)

Follow these steps to find a meeting password: (Note: Recurring meetings have the same password for each meeting session.)

  • In Zoom go to the heading “My Meeting” found on the right side of your screen. (On the left side you will see the four icons “New Meeting,” “Join,” “Schedule,” and “Share Screen.”)
  • Click on “My Meeting.”
  • On the left you will see all your upcoming meetings that you (the host) have scheduled. Choose the specific meeting on the left for which you want the password.
  • Click on “Show Meeting Invitation.” All meeting information will appear including the password.
  • Share password or meeting invite securely through Canvas.

Note: These instructions apply to the host (the person who originally scheduled the 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

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? (added 3/20)

Email the LXT at Please include the phrase “Zoom Help” in the subject line in your email message.

I would like “live” Zoom help or help with Zoom while talking to someone in Zoom. Is there a Zoom help desk? (added 3/24/20)

Yes, there is currently a virtual Zoom helpdesk  open Monday – Friday from 9AM-5PM staffed by HLSL.