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Zoom Beyond the Basics

About This Document

This document is intended for those who are familiar with the basics of using Zoom and running Zoom meetings and is interested in finding out about more advanced ways of using Zoom, including features which may have been developed since sides starting using Zoom at the start of the lockdown.

Note the Morris Federation has published a document on “Coronavirus Covid-19 – Online Practices” which provides some general advice on using online meeting tools. This document, however, provides Zoom-specific guidance.

What We Assume Zoom Meeting Hosts Know

Many sides will have started using Zoom meetings during the first lockdown and so should know the basics of hosting a meeting including:

  • How to set up a meeting and share details of how to join the meeting with others
  • How to send messages in Zoom, either to all participants or to individuals
  • How to share a screen, such as using a presentation or a photo sharing app
  • The differences between using a dedicated Zoom app and the web-based app (use of the former is recommended)
  • How the user interface may differ across different computer platforms (MS Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux) and mobile devices (iOS and Android phones and table devices)

If, however, you are new to Zoom or would welcome a refresher, the Zoom website provides a useful set of Getting Started With Zoom.

Hosting A Zoom Meeting

Meeting Address and Configuration Options

You will probably know how to create a Zoom meeting and share address details. But did you know that:

  • You can create a number of meetings for various purposes (you don’t have to use your personal meeting address for all meetings).
  • You can choose the password for a meeting so it is memorable, rather than accepting a default numerical string.
  • You can configure various meeting options such as whether participants can join a meeting even if the host is not available (which can be useful in providing flexibility if the host is unavailable); whether participants join directly or have to be admitted to a waiting room; whether participants microphones and cameras are switched on automatically when they join and whether participants’ microphones are muted when they join.
  • You can add contacts using the Contacts option in Zoom which can make it easier for them to join meetings (you click on the ^ option next to Participants during a meeting and invite them). Note they will have to accept your contact invitation.
Figure 1: Summary of the author’s regular Zoom meetings

You should also be aware that an obscure numerical password may be a sensible option if you do know know the participants and other default options may be desirable in particular circumstances.

Note it is recommended that you use a different address (Zoom meeting ID) for different types of meetings as this will allow you to select different options for the different groups. For example you may wish to use different settings for a general side meeting to those for a smaller meeting of your side’s officers (who you may wish to more easily share applications) and a meeting of musicians may have different audio settings – and all of these may be different from the options you use for family or friends meetings.

If the meeting organiser clicks on the Meetings menu item in the Zoom client, details of all regular meetings should be shown, as illustrated in Figure 1 (note the meeting ID has been removed from the screenshot). This illustrates how different Zoom addresses have been set up for three distinct groups.

The above options have (probably) be the case since use of Zoom became popular at the start of the pandemic. Initially, default settings may have been used, or settings chosen to minimise disruptions caused by novice Zoom users. However now that many sides will have gained experiences in hosting Zoom meetings it may be timely to rethink the settings used for meetings.

The Zoom Configuration Web Interface

The above options can be configured using a Zoom client. However other options have to be configured using the Zoom web interface. The owner of a meeting should be able to login to the Zoom web interface to access a wide range of options, as shown below.

Figure 2: Zoom Web Interface (many other options can be configured)

Figure 2 shows how the screen sharing settings have been changed so that all participants can share their screen by default. Note normally only the Zoom meeting administrator (Host) can share screens by default, and this is sensible to avoid screens being shared accidentally or inappropriately. However for a small group of trusted participants it may be useful to change the default.


Figure 3: New Reactions menu

In January 2021 Zoom announced that a number of new ‘reactions’ were available. These can be made available to meetings by selecting the Meeting reactions option in the Zoom web interface.

The new interface is shown in Figure 2. The Slower and Faster icons may be particularly useful in a morris dance or music context, as well as for general educational purposes (“Would you like to try that new figure faster or slower?” or “Shall we change the tempo of the music?“)

Zoom Breakout Rooms

As described in “All You Need to Know About Using Zoom Breakout Rooms” Zoom administrators can now provide the option to create ‘breakout rooms.

Figure 4: Breakout Rooms

You could use this, for example, to allow musicians and dancers to take part in their own discussions.

Making the Most of Your PC

The Setting Menu

Next to the Start (or Stop) Video icon (normally at the bottom left of your Zoom application is an up arrow (^) which can be used to access the Video settings (as well as other settings) as shown below.

Figure 5: Video settings (and other settings)

You may have to scroll down to see the full range of options, including the maximum number of participants which can be shown (note the maximum of 49 is only available on high resolution screens).

Installing Zoom Apps

Another new(ish) feature of Zoom is the ability to install Zoom apps. An example of an app – the Virtual Backgrounds app – is shown in Figure 6. This enables participants to chose a background from a wide range of high quality images (although, sadly, their are currently no morris dance images).

Figure 6: The Virtual Backgrounds app

Please note that the Virtual Backgrounds app is different from the Virtual Background option which is available from the Zoom client by clicking on the ^ button next to the Start (or Stop) Video icon. The latter option provides access to a small number of backgrounds (and a useful Blur filter) as well as allowing you to upload your own images, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: The Virtual Backgrounds option in the Settings menu

Immersive View

Another new(ish) feature of Zoom is the ability to change the gallery display of the participants in a meetings using the Immersive View option as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Immersive View

It is possible to select from a number of different immersive views, ranging from those designed for two participants (as shown above) to up to 25 participants.

Note that Wyld Morris held its AGM in December 2021 and used an Immersive View as shown below.

Figure 9: Immersive View used at Wyld Morris’s AGM

The immersive view proved popular and enabled officers (in the front row) and musicians to be grouped together, with speakers moved to the front when they gave their report.

Privacy, Security and ‘Robustness’ Implications

If you make changes to the Zoom meeting environment it is advisable to warn the participants of this. For example, if participants’ cameras was switched off, but you changed it so that cameras are switched on when they join it would be advisable to warn them of this before the meeting starts!

In addition you are advised to try out any new features before using them in a important context. For example, if you wish to make use of a Zoom Voting app for your side’s AGM you should test it so you know how it works and are able to advice your participants (who may be used different platforms from yours).

It may be advisable to set up a Test Zoom meeting address which you can use for testing new features, before using them in a more formal meeting environment.

What’s Not Covered in this Document?

This document hasn’t covered:

  • How Zoom looks on different platforms
  • Screen sharing (which is a very useful tool for sharing images and other applications from your computer).
  • Blurring the background (to hide the clutter in your background!)
  • Audio configuration options
  • Recording meetings
  • Livestreaming Zoom meetings to YouTube

How Have You Used Zoom?

We welcome feedback on this document. In addition we would like to hear from morris, sword and other traditional dance sides who have used Zoom. Would you like to contribute a case study?

Status of this Document

Document published: 5 Nov 2021
Document updated: 10 Dec 2021

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Zoom Beyond the Basics" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

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