New Features in Zoom for Fall 2020

Person sits at a table with mask, headphones and a laptop

Recent updates of the Zoom Desktop Client added several new features that are likely to improve your online teaching and your students’ online learning experience. Update to the newest version today (see our YouTube video for instructions) and ask your students to do the same in order to take advantage of these new features.

Update 1: Ability to allow students to self-select breakout rooms

You can now allow students to self-select a room to enter and move between breakout rooms during a meeting. To use this feature, both you and your students must have the most recent version of the Zoom Desktop Client.

Advantages

  • After selecting “Let participants choose room” when creating your breakout rooms during a meeting, you can name your breakout rooms by topic or by pre-assigned student group name and allow students to join the one they wish. This could be a great alternative to pre-assigned breakout rooms.
  • By enabling “Allow participants to choose room” in the breakout room options menu, students can move between rooms freely regardless of how the rooms were created. This allows students to join multiple topical conversations during one breakout room session. 

For more details, see this webpage on Breakout Room How-Tos.

Update 2: Ability to rearrange video thumbnails in gallery view

In gallery view, simply drag and drop video thumbnails to the arrangement you prefer. Once you change the order, it will remain even if someone new starts speaking or enters into the meeting. You can apply this only to your gallery, or as host, to the gallery view of your students.

Advantages 

  • Creates a virtual seating chart. If applied to everyone’s view, this can help with “going around the room” because everyone sees the same order.

For more details, see this page on Video Layouts and Views in Zoom.

Update 3: Ability to “pin” multiple videos

You or your students (if you grant permission) can now “pin” up to nine meeting participants, overriding the active speaker view for the pinner’s experience only.

Advantages 

  • Pinning a video avoids the distraction when a brief comment or audio distraction changes the active speaker on screen. Participants with sign language interpreters can pin both their interpreter and the instructor.

For more details, see this page on Video Layouts and Views in Zoom.

Update 4: Ability to “spotlight” multiple videos

You can now “spotlight” up to nine meeting participants, overriding the active speaker view for all participants.

Advantages

  • Create a custom video view for everyone. For instance, you can spotlight a guest speaker, panel, or group of student presenters.

For more details, see this page on Video Layouts and Views in Zoom.

Interested in learning more about how to teach effectively in Zoom?

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