How to Participate in a Zoom Meeting

Millions of people are using Zoom, the popular video chat and teleconferencing app, to join work-from-home meetings, participate in online classes and talk to family and friends. 

During the current COVID-19 pandemic which has caused many countries to abolish physical public gatherings, Zoom has experienced a huge spike in popularity; the company said that downloads for the app rose 1,270% between February 22 and March 22.

This week on Friday 3rd April 2020 at 4pm, the ICT Teachers Association of Uganda is joining the WordPress Community Uganda for an online event to be conducted through Zoom. Many members are hearing about Zoom for the first time and are asking how they will participate. In this article, we share about what you need and how to use Zoom as a participant.

How to join a Zoom meeting:

What are the requirements?

  • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE). Minimum bandwidth is 600kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). Check your Internet bandwidth using Speedtest (Links to an external site.).
  • A webcam – one which is built-in to your computer or one that connects to your computer via USB.
  • A microphone – built-in to your computer or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth.
  • Built-in headset jack from laptop or desktop. Even if your laptop or desktop has speakers, you may plug in a headset so that the sound from the speakers does not cause an echo in the Zoom meeting. Any headset with a 3.5mm plug will plug in. 

To join a Zoom meeting, a host first has to schedule / create a meeting and share the invite URL or meeting ID. You do not need a Zoom login to join a meeting, all you need is that meeting URL or ID, eg https://us04web.zoom.us/j/756404349  (Our Friday Meeting URL, ID 756404349)

Once the host starts the meeting, participants can join unless the host enabled the option allowing participants to join before the host arrives. 

Alternatively, as we note below, you can sign up for Zoom with your contact info, and then your fellow Zoom users can use those details to ‘call’ you without an invite URL.

How to join a Zoom meeting on desktop by downloading the app

  1. Download the Zoom desktop app on your Mac or PC.
  2. Open the Zoom app.
  3. Click join a meeting.
  4. Enter the meeting ID and your name, and set audio/video permissions.
  1. Click on the meeting invite URL that the host shared via email or text. 
  2. Open the Zoom app. 
  3. Approve the request for permission to use your computer’s audio and camera.

Depending on the meeting’s set-up, you may enter the meeting right away, you may need to wait for the host to arrive first or you may be placed into a waiting room that the host controls.

How to join a Zoom meeting on mobile (iPhone, Android)

  1. Download the Zoom app for iOS or for Android on Google Play, and set it up using your contact information — which the host can use to “call” you. Then, either 
  2. Your app will ring when the host “calls” you (Accept the call)
    or
  3. Open the mobile app.
  4. Tap on “Join a Meeting.” 
  5. Enter the meeting ID and your name and set audio/video permissions.
    or
  6. Tap on the meeting invite URL that the host shared via email or text, which will open the Zoom app. The app may ask for permission to use your phone’s camera.   (Our Friday Meeting invite URL is https://us04web.zoom.us/j/756404349 , ID 756404349)

Again, depending on the meeting’s set-up, you may enter the meeting right away, you may need to wait for the host to arrive first or you may be placed into a waiting room that the host controls.

Using the “Attendee Controls”

When you join a Zoom meeting hosted by another user, you are considered an attendee. The user who scheduled the meeting or was selected as the alternative host (if the host is unable to join) will have  host controls, including muting audio, using video, sharing your screen and more.

Mute/Unmute & Audio Settings

You can mute and unmute your microphone. The host also has the ability to mute you. If you click on the arrow next to the mute button, you will have additional options for audio settings. You can change your microphone, leave the computer audio or access the audio options.

Start/Stop Video & Video Settings

You can turn your camera on or off with the Start/Stop Video button. By clicking on the arrow next to the start/stop video button, you can change webcams, access your Zoom video settings, or select a virtual background (if enabled).

 Invite other participants

Click on the invite button to invite other participants to the meeting.

  • Invite by email: This will open up the selected email application with a copy of the meeting invitation
  • Invite by Contacts: Invite users from your contacts list
  • Invite Zoom Rooms: Invite Zoom Rooms listed on your account
  • Invite by Phone: Available if the host has this option available.
  • Invite by a Room System: If the host has cloud recording connector available for this meeting.

Participants

If you click on Participants, you can see who is currently in the meeting. The participants list also gives you the option to raise your hand or rename yourself.

  • Raise Hand – notifies host and shows a prompt to simulate hand raise
  • Rename – hover over your name to change it as it is seen in the participants list and video window

Share Screen

If the host allows, you can share your screen in the meeting. The host will have the ability to stop your screen share.

Chat

Chat with individuals or everyone in the meeting. Click Chat to open up the chat window and chat with other participants or view chat messages. Select the drop down next to To: to change who you are chatting with.

Record (if host has given permission)

The host will need to give you permission to record the meeting. If you try to click on this before the host has given permission, you will receive the following message.

Note: the host is not notified that you have requested recording permission. You will need to ask them through the chat or audio to give you recording permission (available in their Manage Participants list).

Choose video layout

At the upper right of the Zoom window, you can switch between active speaker view and

gallery view. You can also switch between a shared screen and the video by clicking on a button available in this location during a screen share.

Enter/Exit Full Screen

At the top right of the Zoom window, you can enter or exit full screen mode. You can also exit full screen by clicking Esc.

Pin video

Pin video makes a user the primary speaker for you, instead of switching between the active speaker video. You can pin a video by right-clicking on the video of the person you want to pin or double click on their video window.

Co-annotate on screen share

If the host allows, you can annotate on their shared screen or share whiteboard. To do this, click on View Options at the top of your screen and choose Annotate.

How to change your Zoom background on the desktop app

  1. Download the Zoom app for Mac or Windows
  2. Open the app and sign in. 
  3. Click your profile picture, then click on Settings.
  4. In the left menu bar, click on the Virtual Background tab (if you don’t see this tab, log in to the Zoom website, go to Settings and toggle on Virtual Background).
  5. In the Virtual Background tab, select one of Zoom’s defaults or upload your own image.
  6. If you have a green screen set-up, you can select that option.
  7. To add your own image or video, click the + icon to upload from your computer.

How to change your Zoom background on the mobile app

  1. Download the Zoom app for iOS to your iPhone or iPad
  2. Open the app, sign in and join a meeting.
  3. Tap the three dots at the bottom right to open the More menu.
  4. Tap Virtual Background.
  5. Select one of Zoom’s defaults or upload your own. 

Where can I find Zoom backgrounds to upload?

If you don’t have any images of your own to upload as a Zoom background, check out ZoomMeetingBackgrounds.com which offers 30-plus free backgrounds.

Leave Meeting

You can leave the meeting at any time by clicking on the Leave Meeting option at the lower right corner of the Zoom window.

Find more Information, on the Zoom Help Center website.

Zoom User Tips

These are some following tips to help make sure you have the best experience. It is within your best interests to follow these recommendations to ensure a good quality class/interview/meeting.

  1. Obtain a high quality web camera if you are using a desktop. For laptops, if your computer is less than 3 years old, the built-in camera (if it has one) should be adequate.
  2. Obtain a computer headset. This will greatly reduce the chance for feedback and improve your voice quality for those who are communicating with you on the other side. Headsets that connect via USB are the best choice.
  3. When possible, connect to the Internet with a physical cable connection, not just Wi-Fi. This will give you much greater speed and service.
  4. A laptop or desktop is preferred over a Smartphone or tablet.
  5. Don’t be outside. Wind and background noise makes your device’s microphone adjust and your voice may sound muffled.
  6. Don’t have several programs running while using Zoom. Close all unnecessary applications during your call so all processing power can be used to maximize the quality of your Zoom session.
  7. Pay attention to your background. Too much light behind you and you appear to be only a dark figure. !lso, don’t have anything behind you that may be distracting to those who are on the other side.
  8. To counteract back lighting, make sure you have a good source of light in front of you and behind the camera that you are using with your computer.
  9. Pay attention to your attire. Don’t wear stripes or anything too bright. Solid colors are best.
  10. Avoid moving your head too much or “talking with your hands.” Video via Skype is a little different than television, and too much movement can cause the video to pixelate and degrade.

About our Upcoming Zoom Webinar

In the wake of Coronavirus, a pandemic ravaging global cities, more companies are asking employees to work from home to reduce human contact which is key for the virus’ spread. The WordPress Community Team has also strongly recommended that physical events be postponed, and instead online events be adapted.

And it’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us for a while. Many of us will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good workspace to the way you talk to your team and clients.

Charlotte has been working from home since 2009 when she arrived in Uganda and she recently shared some tips through her blog (which she manages using WordPress). She will be sharing more with our community during this webinar.

Also, during this period, many people are spending a lot of time online than before. During this period, we have noticed a high volume of spam and fake news posted in our community forums, especially WhatsApp chat groups. Many members are living in fear and boredom and keep forwarding chain spam posts ignorantly.
Cyber Security issues such as Spam, online scams and frauds, identity theft and issues related to online purchases are a serious issue in the online world. Navigating the Web while avoiding these threats can be a challenging task.

The ICT Teachers Association of Uganda has several WhatsApp groups with thousands of members. We shall be creating more awareness about cyber security and also give tips on how to handle the spam problem without necessarily removing the much desired community members from the chat groups and forums.

We shall be using Zoom Video Conferencing software for this meetup. Members are encouraged to install the zoom application on their laptops and phones before the start of the meeting.

You can install the application through this link 

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/756404349 

before joining the Meeting, ID: 756 404 349.

Members are also encouraged to watch the how-to videos on usage and features of the zoom listed on this page: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials so that they are comfortable using the technology.

Here are some more informative articles to read ahead of the meeting:

See you online! RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/Jinja-WordPress-Meetup/events/269686950/

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