Weekly Teaching Note
Jan 22 2014
Sometimes, You Really Need to Meet Face-to-Face

“I used Zoom for a live lecture with 43 students and it was fantastic. They loved that they didn’t have to come in with the snow. One was actually on a bus with wifi!!” – Zehra Ahmed, School of Health Professions

Yesterday’s snowstorm, which caused the the New York campuses to close on the first day of the spring semester, makes it an opportune time to introduce Zoom HD videoconferencing. I’ve written about it before, and would like to share with you some of the ways that faculty and staff at NYIT have been using this tool.

First, a little background on what Zoom is, and why you might want to consider trying it out with your students:

  1. Zoom allows you to videoconference with up to 25 people at a time. Participants can join the meeting from a desktop computer (PC or Mac), a mobile device (Android or iOS), a phone, or from one of our distance learning rooms. You can toggle between a ‘speaker view’ and a ‘gallery view’ that enables you to see all 25 participants at once.

  2. Zoom allows you to share your computer screen, and annotate it during the meeting. For example, an architecture professor could ask a student to share her designs with the class, and could annotate the drawings as part of a critique. An engineering professor might display a circuit diagram, and use the virtual pointer to draw the students’ attention to a specific part of the image.

  3. You can record the meeting, and place the recording online for the benefit of students who can’t be there in real-time. Alternatively, you can record a quick demonstration, or a review of a problem set, and put it online as a tutorial.

  4. The only person who needs an account is the person who hosts the meeting. Everyone else simply clicks on a link that you email to them. As the meeting host, you can look back at the list of people who attended the meeting — good for taking attendance at a virtual class session.

Here are some of the ways our faculty and staff have been putting this tool to use:

  • Cheryl Hall, in Physical Therapy, uses Zoom with the students she is supervising on their clinical rotations. The students can all have a discussion of what happens at the different clinical sites, so it enriches their experience.
  • “Based on my attendance records, the majority of my students will miss at least one class during a semester. With Zoom over the past few weeks, one student ZOOMed into class to participate for an hour during our group discussion time, it was her turn to lead, and one e-mailed me today asking if she could do the same. A third student is using the tool to record a screencast for her students in school. Zoom is a hit with me!” – Jim Martinez, School of Education
  • Mindy Haar uses Zoom with her online graduate Community Nutrition class, to enable students to make live presentations. With students from time zones ranging between Germany and California, Mindy was still able to schedule times when everyone could be there. “I sent out a Doodle invite with eight different possible times and I chose the top two that would cover everyone.” Students each made a 10–15 minute presentation to the class, and they were able to discuss the material together. “Every student so far felt that this was a good addition to the class. They all felt totally comfortable and loved interacting and asking each other questions. I also assured them that I’m just getting comfortable with this software as well so we’re all learning together. I think the students respected that I was very upfront about being a beginner with this so that while they were worried about presenting, I was worried about making the meeting work. They shared my delight at the end in feeling like we made this happen together!”
  • The Fine Arts department has been using Zoom to have faculty meetings across both New York campuses. Similarly, the Interior Design department has been using Zoom to communicate between New York and Abu Dhabi campuses.
  • The Advising and Enrichment Center has been using Zoom to advise students who cannot easily get to campus at a particular time.
  • Global Academic Programs uses Zoom on a daily basis to communicate with faculty and staff at all our campuses. Communications and Marketing has been holding staff meetings via Zoom, and Human Resources has been using Zoom to share information about benefits.

Everyone with an NYIT email address has a basic account, which has the full feature set but limits meetings to 40 minutes. The Center for Teaching and Learning can set you up with a Pro license if you’d like to have longer meetings - just contact Fran Glazer at fglazer@nyit.edu.


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