University of Wisconsin–Madison

How to use Zoom effectively?

Zoom offers different interfaces that meetings can be held from such as Canvas, Web, and Desktop. It is important to choose the right interface so that the features such as break-out rooms, polling, and recording work optimally. More information about each option can be found at: Zoom Interfaces: When to use Canvas, Web, and Desktop clients

Zoom can be used for various forms of interacting with students, such as during office hours, lectures, and discussions. The Zoom interface offers a wide range of customizability, such as waiting rooms, breakout rooms, and presentation modes before entering the meeting.  It is important to make sure that the settings that are selected for your meeting are tailored to what you need. The Zoom Checklist can help make sure that nothing is forgotten.

Zoom Features

  • Zoom offers a variety of features to help facilitate instruction. Some key components of Zoom are:
    • Breakout rooms: Breakout rooms can be manually, randomly assigned, or selected by the students. To have students select their own breakout rooms, the desktop client must be used. 
    • Recordings/lecture capture: Recordings will be stored on your computer and/or in the Zoom cloud. Recordings in the Zoom cloud last for 150 days. 
    • Presentation Modes: Individual users can toggle between Speaker View and Gallery View. Speaker View shows only the webcam of the host or the person speaking. Gallery View shows all (up to 50) participants in the meeting. 
  • For more information regarding Zoom and its educational features watch Zoom Meetings for Education. Some key takeaways from this lecture include:
    • The polling feature is embedded within zoom meetings. Polls can also be saved as templates for future use.
    •  Security: can prevent students from entering class Zoom session or office hour. This feature puts students in a waiting room until the instructor allows them to enter. The security tab can also allow you to choose what privileges you allow students to have such as chat and screen sharing.
    • A few best practices to help ensure a productive and smooth class include, starting class early with a welcome slide, including nonverbal reactions for quick feedback, and selecting the proper speaker/audio device.

For additional help on how to best utilize Zoom and all of its features please contact Teaching and Learning at,