From discussion boards in Blackboard to group work, journaling, web conferences, and collaborative group projects, we have many strategies to engage our students and keep our classroom communities connected.

As announced on Monday, March 16, 2020, ITS has secured a UIS site license for Zoom, which means that all faculty, staff, and students will have access to this web conferencing platform. Zoom is a robust web conferencing platform for instructors and staff to engage with students and one another.

Zoom is integrated with Blackboard. Faculty can create, schedule, and launch Zoom sessions from within Blackboard, and students can easily join those sessions. Here is a quick video showing how to add the Zoom integration into your Blackboard courses.

Synchronous class meetings for remote teaching should be held during normal on campus meeting times.

Zoom as a Classroom Tool

Zoom can be an excellent platform for delivering lectures, holding class discussions, supporting group work and class debates, and enabling student presentations.

Zoom Usability for Students with Slow or Intermittent Internet Access

Zoom is designed to work on multiple platforms (Mac and Windows, plus mobile devices). Zoom also compresses audio and video feeds to make them work on slower internet connections. Below are some strategies for providing support for students with slow, unreliable, or intermittent internet access, or other circumstances that prevent joining a synchronous session held during normal class meeting times. Being flexible and forgiving will be key to helping all our students continuing their learning.

  1. Remind students that they can call in to listen and participate.
    If they don’t have internet access, they are not excluded from class. Each Zoom meeting will have a phone number and meeting ID that allows participants to call in.
  2. Upload all PowerPoint slides, shared resources, and websites to Blackboard.
    This can be helpful for students who are calling in. They can download and/or print resources before the synchronous meeting time.
  3. Record the session and post it to Kaltura or YouTube.
    When the recording is uploaded, post it to your Blackboard course to provide alternative viewing modes for students who cannot meet at the normal, scheduled class time. Learn about Zoom recordings and uploading to Kaltura.
  4. Provide a “muddiest point” discussion forum for the synchronous session.
    The Muddiest Point is a simple classroom assessment technique to help assess where students are having difficulties. Ask each student to post a quick response to the question: “What was the muddiest point in [synchronous meeting, lecture, discussion, assignment, etc.]?” You might replace “muddiest” with “most unclear” or “most confusing.” This technique also allows students who view the recording later to participate with the rest of the class. Learn more about Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs).

Zoom Accessibility Considerations

If you have a student with accommodations in your course, the UIS Office of Disability Services will continue working with the student and all their instructors. Zoom can support live captioning, if required.

Links in this post:

All COLRS Remote Teaching Tips:

Zoom at UIS:

Zoom Live captioning:

Classroom Assessment Techniques:

Uploading media files to Kaltura:

Create Discussion Forums in Blackboard: