Saturday, March 7. Day -1: It Begins

Written sometime in the afternoon. Posted to MAA Connect Monday March 9, 9:40 am.

Yesterday was a whirlwind in Washington State. In-person classes were suspended at many institutions including the entire UW system for the rest of winter quarter.  Alternatives to in-class final exams are needed in one week.

Thankfully, I regularly use a Zoom meeting in my classes to increase access for my students. People can remotely attend (whether due to transportation issues, childcare issues, or illness). So at least my class is ready to become Zoom only.  I made two quick videos for my campus colleagues that are scrambling to adopt this technology. Perhaps others on this communication platform will find them useful as well. (Edited 3/11 to add third recording on timed assessments.)

Topic: Step-by-step instructions for setting up a recurring Zoom meeting for your class. This is an example of a Doceri recording uploaded to YouTube (set to private and only viewable with link)

Topic: Screen Sharing in Zoom for remote presentations
This is an example of a Zoom recording

Topic: Creating a Timed Assessment in Canvas
Another example of a Zoom recording

Finally some ProTips compiled by power-Zoom users at my institution:

  • Create a recurring meeting to keep the same MeetingID. It avoids having to communicate a new MeetingID for each session.
  • Use the setting “Mute participants upon entry” so the recording doesn’t pick up the background noise from everyone on the meeting. Teach students to unmute their mic when they are ready to speak and/or create a practice where they raise their hand or bring up the question in the chat first.
  • Set your meeting to record automatically and save in the cloud. Share the URL for the recording with class on your CMS (on the agenda if you have one) so that students who miss class can catch up and those who need to review can do so (especially non-native speakers of English).
  • If a number of people want to speak, it works best to call on each person or post a list on the screen and ask people to go in that order.
  • Let people know whether they need to turn on their video to be seen or whether they can just watch, speak, and chat. This is especially important if students are presenting.
  • Be mindful that some students may not feel comfortable visually sharing their personal space or they may not have adequate technology to do so. Zoom offers a green screen option for people to create a generic background.
  • If you have more than one device signed into the Zoom meeting in the same location (say an iPad or Surface to use as a virtual white board), only one can be connected to the meeting audio — otherwise there will be a terrible audio feedback.

There are plenty (and certainly better) resources out there. I find sometimes it is easier to begin when there is a personal connection.  As this is a timely issue and may affect more of us as time passes, I hope we will share resources and ask questions in this thread. In the long run, we should decide where on MAA Connect to continue these discussions.

Stay safe and wash your hands,


Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

3 thoughts on “Saturday, March 7. Day -1: It Begins

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: