Read on for user guidance on Zoom and Google Meet (the two most commonly used videoconferencing platforms at Champlain), or if you’ve already decided what platform to use, jump to our advice on using videoconferencing for synchronous classes, or our video on getting ready for each class meeting at the bottom of this page.
Please note that as of academic year 2021-2022, Champlain no longer provides Pro-level Zoom accounts to faculty. You can still use the Zoom account associated with your Champlain email, but it will be subject to restrictions on the number of attendees and length of the meeting. Champlain provides Enterprise-level Google Meet to all faculty, and we strongly recommend using that platform. If you believe you have a valid reason to receive a Pro Zoom account, contact your Dean.
Google Meet is the standard videoconferencing platform at Champlain College due to its integration with your Champlain account.
Check out these resources:
- The CLT’s tutorial on running a remote session in Meet
- Google’s resources for learning to use Meet
- Explanation of Meet’s interactive features like breakout rooms, polling, Q&A, and the Jamboard integration
- Enhancing your sessions using videoconference chat features (guide by Liz Allen-Pennebaker)
InSpace, a platform created at Champlain, allows participants to interact in a virtual space, and provides many of the same features as Google Meet. You can learn more about it in our introduction to InSpace.
Champlain faculty have limited access to Zoom. You can create a free account, which limits calls to 40 minutes. (If you previously had a full-featured account with your Champlain email address, it has been downgraded to the free version unless you have made special arrangements.)
Here’s an excellent Zoom tutorial, including how to run breakout groups in your session:
The CLT also provides guidance on using Zoom with other tools provided by Champlain:
- Getting started with Zoom at Champlain
- Creating recurring Zoom meeting invites in students’ Champlain Google Calendars
- Making recorded Zoom sessions available in Panopto and Canvas
Advice for Getting Started
If you are relatively new to using Zoom or Meet for teaching, it’s a good idea to practice ahead of time. Here are some tips.
Make an Informed Decision about which Platform You’ll Use
Both Zoom and Meet have common videoconferencing interactive features like screensharing, breakout rooms, polling, hand-raising, and Q&A management, as well as logistical tools like muting, turning the camera on and off, and removing troublesome participants. In addition, each has some unique features.
Meet allows you to:
- easily create recurring meetings directly from Google Calendar (streamlining the process of inviting your students)
- use the service without having a separate account
- turn on automatic real-time closed captions (students can choose this individually)
- create a Jamboard (a collaborative whiteboard/brainstorming space) within the Meet
Zoom allows you to:
- customize settings for participants in advance of the meeting (for example, blocking participants from speaking in a webinar)
- have students answer yes and no questions easily
- message individuals privately in the chat function
Both platforms work well with Panopto. Both have mobile device apps for iOS and Android.
Seek Training Resources in Advance
Practice Every Platform You Plan to Use, and Don’t Spend Time on Others
- Make a decision soon about what platform you will use to teach
- Experiment with that one extensively, using the tips below
- While it’s good to at least peek into other platforms if you haven’t already, don’t spend too much time on them. For example, if you plan to use Zoom and you’ve never set up a Meet, it’s a good idea to do that once or bookmark Google’s instructions in case there is a Zoom outage, but don’t spend a lot of time on it.
Practice with a Group
Group practice is especially important if you are teaching with a new platform.
- Get together a group of colleagues and/or family members and practice starting a call, sharing your screen, creating and managing breakout groups, and changing your view of the call
- If you are planning to use multiple cameras, such as a doc cam and a camera on you, experiment with that with your audience
- If you are videoconferencing from a classroom on campus (for example, to accommodate a quarantined student or welcome a guest speaker), practice a call with your group from the classroom
Practice with Every Device You Might Use
If you think you might use a mobile device for labs or outdoor classes, or you might improvise a doc cam with your phone, practice those in advance (you can find guidance on using a doc cam or an improvised phone “doc cam” with Zoom in this article and this video). Practice joining the call from multiple devices at the same time.
Practice in Advance
Explore training resources and experiment with the basics before classes start. If you are planning to incorporate more complicated or advanced features later, practice those at least a week in advance of using them in class so you have time to seek peer help, tech support from the technology provider, or assistance from ChampSupport in advance. Please be aware that ChampSupport and the CLT may have support backlogs at the beginning of the fall semester.
Getting Ready for Class Each Day
Check out our video “checklist” for preparing to run a videoconference class!