With teaching staff from UTS and across the globe pivoting to emergency remote teaching, Zoom has become the tool of choice for approximating the experience of face-to-face classes.

But how have you been finding the experience of using Zoom to run your online tutorials? We asked three academics to give us their thoughts.

Moira Scerri | Operations and Supply Chain Management

Zoom teaching is great. I enjoy being ‘so close’ to everyone – being able to see them all at the same distance rather than some at the front of the room and others at the back.

Only two students do not have webcams, so we have a camera-on policy for the first 10 minutes of the session and then cameras go off unless you are speaking or in a breakout room.

Students use the chat to ask questions and communicate. This added communication tool provides those students who are a little shy with the opportunity to feel like they can ask questions without being on display. In fact, there are more questions being asked, and engagement and discussion has been vibrant.

I am planning a ‘best practice’ student collaboration session to demonstrate to students how they can make the best use of the technology when studying on their own, in their groups and in the main meeting room.

In general, apart from a couple of small technology issues, the experience has been positive and something that I will most likely continue into the future.

Alice Loda | School of International Studies and Education

I was positively impressed by my teaching and learning experience with Zoom, especially in the context of my language and culture class. I prepare my PowerPoints and learning materials before the sessions, and Zoom allows me to share my screen, type my notes live, and discuss and share student comments. It is also useful to facilitate peer-to-peer collaborative interactions. We are able to live-stream audio files and videos, and collaboratively comment upon them, co-constructing our tutorials and seminars.

I use Zoom regularly in combination with two interactive tools: Mentimeter and Padlet. I also try to maximise my use of the learning management system so that we can engage with learning materials before, during and after our online sessions. Within the Zoom environment, I find the breakout rooms particularly useful. I recommend using breakout rooms for group work during live streamed sessions to give students a self-directed learning space, to facilitate interaction and to foster a collaborative class atmosphere.

In our Zoom sessions, we alternate between plenary whole-cohort video-on discussions, collaborative pair or small group tasks, and live reading, writing and speaking activities. The commitment of my students in getting the most out of the tools and participating in the sessions has been excellent and really commendable so far.

Ece Kaya| Management Discipline Group

I am using Zoom to run live tutorials and, for the Management Research Project Capstone, to run a weekly Q&A and short lecture sessions, followed by individual support time in breakout rooms (we are teaching as a team of three).

The best part of the experience is that I can share resources with students instantly as I am on my computer. If I want to show them an example, I can easily find and share one.

I find students’ engagement nas been even better than I expected. However, it can also be difficult to run a discussion without seeing everyone’s faces when they have their videos off. It’s very similar running a face-to-face tutorial, I ask a question and students go blank!

LX Zoom resources updated

The LX.lab team have been listening to your feedback and, together with ITD, are responding to the evolving Zoom landscape. This has culminated in a totally redesigned and reorganised set of resources supporting your use of Zoom for learning and teaching at UTS. We’ve combined resources and blogs to give you a comprehensive overview of software settings, use cases and best practice.

If you need more help, don’t forget you can request support from our team of Learning Design and Technology Specialists via Service Connect.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

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