If you are of a certain age (like me) you have probably been around long enough to experience different iterations of the “ultimate teleconference system”…remember Polycom, Google Hangouts, Skype, JoinMe, Collaborate, GoToMeeting… they have all come and (somehow) gone.
Until Star Trek’s transporter becomes a reality, my more recent experience using and playing around with Zoom during the last 12 months makes me feel optimistic that Zoom is here to stay because, well, it does have “stickiness”.
Zoom is a web conference system that is extremely easy to download and to use across different devices (desktop, smartphone and tablet). The interface is simple, intuitive and since the learning curve is not steep, the first usage will leave you feeling satisfied like a “pro”. After you quickly learn the “how to” basics, you can forget about the technology itself, and focus on getting to work.
But, how do I use Zoom at CI? My top three areas of activities using Zoom
- To hold remote office hours: I use Zoom to run my online courses’ office hours and to schedule additional meeting times with my face to face students who can’t come to my early morning “brick-n-mortar” office hours.
- To record lectures: I can record a lesson (either alone or with students attending synchronously) and share it with them by just inserting a link in the CI Learn course.
- To occasionally run synchronous sessions in Online or Blended classes.
- To open my face-to-face classes to our amazing guest speakers (national and international) that otherwise would not be able to join us on campus.
- To coordinate efforts in Service Learning projects with remote Community Partners (local organizations or even those located abroad).
- To organize and supervise students’ team projects.
- To run capstone classes for which there are no formal class meetings set.
Students find Zoom very easy to use either on desktop or via their mobile devices. No more excuses such “I can’t meet at that time because I am not on campus”. It is great to see the students getting “outside the building” and have a productive session “outdoors”.
Either in students’ research projects or in my individual ones, we conduct plenty of semi-structured interviews that can be easily recorded in Zoom.
At the end of the recording, Zoom generates both an audio (mp3) and a video file (mp4). These files can be stored locally on our hard drive or on the cloud and share easily with the students either via email or via CI Learn. The audio file has proven to be very handy to create transcripts and the video is very helpful when we need to go back and analyze interviewees’ body and face reactions.
3. Working, collaborating and building community with colleagues
From one-on-one meetings to our Teaching & Learning Innovations meetings to VoiceThread Gatherings to 100+ webinars … Zoom has given us the flexibility to collaborate and learn with distant colleagues (right, @? ;->) .
“I’ve used many synchronous video conferencing tools over the years. Zoom is the first one that is easy to use, is reliable, and it even adds some fun to the workday!”
Anonymous – CI user
Zoom incorporates some powerful features:
- annotation and co-annotation
- break-out rooms
- text messaging (group or individual)
- screen share documents, photos and videos (even from your mobile device)
- raise hands
- instant or scheduled meetings
- keyboard and mouse control (wait till you experience this one!)
- recording (local or cloud)
- personalized rooms such as https://csuci.zoom.us/my/mariaballesteros
Solutions like Zoom are changing the way we work, collaborate and connect. If I have become an informal advocate of Zoom it is because of how “human” communication via Zoom feels.
Wouldn’t you like your students to gain a good understanding of the possibilities early on?
Are you curious about Zoom? Please join us on our Zoom Think Tank this Friday, September 16th at the FIT studio (Solano Hall 1201) or via ZOOM (of course!). You can also learn more in this great Zoom resource page created by Bill Ochs and Michael McGarry HERE.
Maria Ballesteros-Sola firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Professor & Online/Blended Community- Faculty Lead
* As your average (!) user I can’t comment on the challenges of Zoom’s implementation, integration, roll-out, license negotiating, communications, etc.… my views are just my views.
Disclaimer: Neither I (nor any of my relatives) work for Zoom and I haven’t received any monetary or in-kind incentive to encourage me to write this post; well, except a nice @ re-tweet from Zoom’s CEO last week! #thankyou @ #leadersthatlisten