Using Zoom

Zoom is a leading video tele-conferencing software. It enables you to broadcast your class to participants who all join a Zoom "meeting". It basically works by creating a unique website URL for each "meeting" that you can send to participants for them to join the class from their smartphone, tablet or laptop.

πŸ’· Does it cost anything?

Maybe - it depends on what you need. There is a free plan which allows you to stream for up to 40 minutes - great for 30 min classes, not so good for anything longer. Think about how this might impact your class structure - you will want to get in the virtual class a few minutes early to greet people and hang around at the end in case people have any questions. The basic plan also does not allow you to record your classes.

The next package available is Β£11.99 per month, which has 24 hours maximum class duration rather than 40 minutes - which should remove any issues around class duration. Plenty of time to sweat! πŸ˜…

All plans allow up to 100 participants as a minimum, so for most classes that's plenty, especially if you're aiming to be interactive - it's hard to keep it personal when there are 100 moving bodies! 😡

If you want more than 100+ (people might be queuing out of the virtual door to attend your class!), check out the various packages and sign up at:

πŸ™†β€β™‚οΈ What's it like for participants?

In most cases, participants will receive a URL (web link) and all they have to do is click on that link and it will open the Zoom "Meeting". If participants join from a laptop, they can either join via their browser (no downloads required, so quick and easy) or download Zoom for desktop; if joining from mobile they'll need to download the Zoom app.

Either way, participants won't need to create their own Zoom account so most people will be able to easily join your class with the link you've provided. That said, if you're restricting access to specific people only, then participants will need to create a Zoom account with the same email address that you have for them (e.g. the email address they used to book the class) so you can add their email address to the list of approved attendees in Zoom.

One of the great benefits of Zoom over other platforms, e.g. Instagram, is that you’ll be able to see your participants - this can be done in a grid view to see multiple participants on one screen. Perfect for providing feedback!

🎲 How do I get started with Zoom?

  • Sign up and choose your plan.

  • In your Zoom account, under "Profile", you'll find your Personal Meeting ID. You have three options for how to invite participants to your class (these are instructions for using Zoom on your laptop, but it's similar for the app):

    1. Re-use this Personal Meeting ID as the main link for all of your participants to use for all your classes. This is a good approach if you have only a few classes that aren't back to back, and you aren't worried about the link being shared widely (i.e. your classes are free to attend).

    2. Another option is to create a new URL for each class ahead of time. To do this, click on "Schedule A Meeting" in the top right of the screen and fill in the required fields. At the "Meeting ID" step, select the Generate Automatically option, so that Zoom knows to create a new URL for this class. You could also password protect the class so that only those with both the URL link and password can access the class - double safe! πŸ”’. Once you've filled out the options and hit Save, on the next page under Invite Attendees you'll see the URL for this specific class that you can distribute to participants.

    3. The last option is to create a new "meeting" for the class just before the class starts. If you're confident about doing this 10 minutes before the class and can send out the URL to all participants, then it's a slightly simpler than option 2 above (although more risky if something goes wrong, as you won't have much time to figure it out before the scheduled class start time!). For this option, just click "Host A Meeting" (in the top right again), select "With Video On", and a Zoom meeting will launch.

  • Once you've done one of the options above, share the link (and password if you've set one) with your participants (see "Getting your classes out there").

  • When it's time for you to run the class, head to Zoom, and find and launch the right Meeting. If doing this from your desktop, if will probably ask you to download or launch Zoom for desktop. We recommend you do that for the best experience, but you can also run Zoom from your browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) - you'll see this option ("If you cannot download or run the application, start from your browser.") pop-up somewhere on the screen, so just hit it and away you go! 🐎

  • Select "Join Audio By Computer" - this tells Zoom to use your inbuilt laptop microphone and speakers (or any headphones / speakers you have connected to the laptop). Make sure your video is turned on and microphone is unmuted, using the options at the bottom of the page. If you went for option 3 in the list above, then click "Invite" at the bottom of the screen and you can copy the meeting URL to send out to participants.

  • You can also hit "record" (if using the Pro plan or above) if you want to capture the class for others to watch later at their leisure.

  • And most importantly:

Test it out with friends first before trying it with your class participants! You will inevitably need to tweak the settings to get it just right for you.

Tips for using Zoom

  • Don't get caught out by the default Zoom settings, which put things in US timezone - you can change this in the Zoom settings page.

  • Under the Basic (free) or Pro plan, the host (you) can only have one Zoom meeting launched at any one time. So make sure you either space out your classes so you can launch each new Zoom meeting at the right time without overlap, or know that participants for the next class might be joining at the end of the previous class.

  • If someone joins your class and you don't want them in your session for whatever reason, you can give them the boot πŸ₯Ύ by removing them in the "Participants" section of the Zoom meeting, which also prevents them from entering again until you re-start the meeting.

Last updated