Attending Classes with Zoom

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that is used in business and distance learning. Equipment you will need to attend your professor’s online classes:
  • Device with a good Internet connection (Note: Chromebooks have issues with Breakout Rooms, a Zoom feature that some professors may use. The workaround for students that have Chromebooks is to make the main room a breakout room and keep students who have Chromebooks in the main room)
  • Headphones or earbuds (optional)

  • Microphone (usually built in to your computer)

  • Web camera (usually built in to your computer; use smartphone as an alternative)

Before the Term Begins:

Download Zoom and install it. 

In order for students in China to use Zoom, they must go to to download a special Zoom app. Unfortunatly, due to location, for students it is not as simple as clicking on a meeting link from his or her professor. They will need to take the following steps:

  • Install the app from
  • A few minutes prior to the meeting time, they will need to start the Zoom China app and enter the meeting ID into the app. (The meeting ID is a nine (9) digit number, which is usually at the end of the Zoom meeting Join URL (i.e.,
  • Note: Students do occasionally run into connectivity issues playing back Zoom recordings hosted in the Zoom Cloud. We recommend you implement the workflow to have Zoom recordings automatically be saved to your directory in Ensemble. You can then share the link to the recording directly through the Ensemble integration with theSpring. (Contact for assistance.)

Join a Meeting Test Room to make sure your video and audio work.

  • Notice your lighting when you are in the Test Room—you’ll want the light to be in front of you instead of behind you. 

  • Check the angle of your camera. Is it better higher or lower? It is better to work out how you want to look on video before class than during (it is distracting for others).

  • Make sure you have a quiet room available to attend class—public places don’t work well.

  • If you experience any difficulty joining this test room, review the System requirements for desktop/laptop devices or System requirements for mobile devices to ensure that your device meets these guidelines.

Skidmore’s classes will be set up so that you may join with audio from either a phone or computer audio (VOIP). If your audio isn’t working well with your computer audio (VOIP), you can always change the audio to phone once you have joined the class. Make sure to bring a phone to class just in case you have to switch audio. If your wifi at home isn’t good, try sitting outside of a place like your public library.

During Class:

Join the class meeting from the link provided by your professor on the course site in theSpring. Show up at least 10 minutes early for the first class to allow time for working out technical difficulties.
  • Password Protected Meetings: If faculty have a password associated with the meeting (which is recommended) students will be prompted for the password, which students should be able to find in Nexus.
  • Waiting Room Enabled: If faculty have enabled a Waiting Room, you will encounter a message that states Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon. It is important that you arrive to your class on time, as if you arrive late, the faculty member might not notice you are in the waiting room immediately (as they will be busy instructing the class). If you are going to be late, send your faculty member a courtesy email plenty of time before class starts so s/he will know to look for you in the waiting room at a specific time.
  • Only Authenticated Users Can Join: If faculty require only authenticated users can enter the Zoom session, you will be prompted to sign-in to the Zoom Client you downloaded (see first bullet under “Before Term Begins”). When signing into the Zoom Client, choose [Sign in with SSO]. When prompted for the “company domain”, type in “skidmore” and then select [Continue]. You will be brought to the Skidmore College single sign-on page, where you should enter your Skidmore College username and password. Once you have authenticated, then go back and click on the Zoom [Join] URL.

Switch the view to the Gallery View so that you can see everyone (up to 49 people) in your class at once. Once you are in Zoom, click Gallery View in the upper right corner. Decide if and what you are comfortable sharing in your own video projection. Ideally, find a quiet spot with few distractions. If you’d like to make use of a virtual background, review the system requirements and experiment ahead of time. Review the Zoom attendee control options and understand how to share your screen during a class session. During screen sharing, whether your screen share or another classmate or instructor, you may need to use the annotation tools.

Your professor may use Breakout Rooms during your Zoom class. Learn more about what to expect and how to join (it is very easy). 

Find out how to ask questions. Your faculty may prefer that you email questions before class, use in meeting Zoom chat, and/or use nonverbal feedback to raise your hand where you can unmute your microphone and speak.
 You also have the ability to change the skin tone of your reactions.

Close distracting tabs and apps. Humans are not as good at multitasking as they think!

Make a positive digital impression:

  • Treat all class participants in a Zoom session with respect (not just in Zoom but in email or in any other online communication).

  • Always use your professors’ proper title: Professor. Unless specifically invited, don’t refer to instructors by first name. Some will be OK with being called “Bob” and others will expect to be “Professor Smith”.

  • Remember that all college-level communication should have correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Avoid slang and texting abbreviations (e.g., such as “u” instead of “you”).

  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING.

  • Avoid the use of emoticons, as not everyone knows how to interpret them.

  • Keep verbal discussion, chat, and materials shared within a Zoom session appropriate and focused on the course topic.

Show up ready to learn:

  • Make eye contact with the camera instead of looking at your own video—remember, the camera is the class!

  • Mute your mic when you aren’t talking—otherwise, the background noise of your home can be really disruptive.

  • Speak in a conversational tone—no need to raise your voice. 

  • Be fully present. Because of the video, everyone will notice if you are checking your phone or doing something online in another tab.

  • Bring a sense of adventure and patience!

You may want to save the chat at the end of the meeting, before the session is closed. This could be a useful resource to refer back to later.


LEDS is located in Lucy Scribner Library 222


Monday to Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm