In our class this semester, we will be using various technologies, including the Zoom video-conferencing platform. Zoom is designed to enhance our educational experience and to help us meet our course goals. However, as with any other tool, technologies like Zoom can also be misused and become a distraction or even an obstacle to reaching our shared objectives. To ensure that we make the best use of these tools, all members of our class are asked to abide by the guidelines* outlined in this document. These guidelines build on the core principles of our course and of Boston University, which include mutual respect, professionalism, and collegiality.

*If you have any concerns about the expectations outlined below, or if you would like to request accommodations due to a disability or another limitation, please contact your instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Need tech help? View student tutorials for Zoom here.

Preparing for class

  • Please log in to Zoom using your BU username and password at https://bostonu.zoom.us rather than simply clicking on your class Zoom link; if you instructor uses pre-assigned breakout rooms, they may not work effectively if you simply click on the link.
  • Please log in to Zoom at least 5 minutes before the class is scheduled to begin. This way, you can test your technology and avoid being late to class due to Internet slow-downs, software updates, etc. If you arrive to class late, you may miss important announcements and reminders, so please make every effort possible to always come to class on time.
  • If possible, please log in to Zoom using a computer or tablet, rather than a phone. Accessing Zoom on a computer will allow you full access to its functions and will enhance your experience in our class.
  • Generally, eating, smoking, and vaping are prohibited during class, so, if you need to engage in any activity other than classwork, please make sure you do so before or after.
  • Finally, please dress the way you would in a traditional, face-to-face class.

Using video and audio during class

  • Please keep your video camera on to the extent possible. It is understood that circumstances at your location may require you to briefly turn your camera off at times, but if you need to turn your camera off for an entire class or a number of classes, or if you find yourself without a working microphone or in a location where you cannot speak aloud freely, please let your instructor know in advance so they can talk about strategies to ensure your full participation.
  • In general, it’s a good idea to mute yourself when the instructor or other students are speaking, so as to reduce background noise. You can unmute yourself when it’s your turn to speak.
  • Try to have a neutral background, if possible. If your background is distracting to the class–for example, if there is a lot of movement behind you–consider using a neutral picture as your Zoom background.

Engaging with others in our class

  • Please remember that, even though we are meeting online, we are still members of the BU community and are expected to abide by the same rules of academic integrity and mutual respect as in a regular face-to-face class. As such, please treat your fellow classmates and your instructor with professionalism and collegiality.
  • When you join our class meeting, you can change your default name on Zoom to your preferred name or nickname along with your last name. This will help us all address each other in a respectful, collegial manner. Please do not use a pseudonym, to make sure that you can be easily identifiable by the instructor and by other students.
  • If you wish to ask a question or make a comment, please either raise your hand or use the Zoom “raise hand” option. You can also use the chat option if you have a question or comment that does not fit into our discussion. However, please use the chat only for course-related content and avoid discussing non-course-related topics.
  • While our class is in session, try not to use other tools or technologies so as to avoid unnecessary distractions. Please also refrain from chatting with people who are not in our class. When students engage in non-course-related communication during class, it is evident on screen and can be distracting to everyone in the class.
  • If you are placed in a break-out room by your instructor, treat the small-group discussions the same as in-class discussion and please stay on task. While it is tempting to divert from the topic, it is important to be respectful of the class and of your team-mates’ time and learning.

Online privacy considerations

  • Please do not share our course Zoom link and password with individuals who are not in our class.
  • If any portion of the class is recorded, do not share the recordings with people outside of our class.

Adapted from https://athelp.sfsu.edu/hc/en-us/articles/360044451294-Zoom-call-etiquette and