Zoom Instructor Guide

Zoom logo
Zoom is a ​video/audio web-conferencing and collaboration tool that lets you meet with students in real time. ​Zoom is an alternative to Collaborate Ultra, if you need a tool to use outside of Canvas and/or one that can accommodate higher numbers of participants and the ability to see more video feeds at once.
In response to COVID-19, UBC is setting up institutional accounts for instructors to use that include more robust features than a free Zoom account.
Cost   Free
Bandwidth   High demand
Canvas Integration   Currently works outside of Canvas; integration is a work in progress
Privacy   Zoom is now FIPPA compliant and data is stored securely in Canada
Similar Tools Collaborate Ultra is also centrally supported

What can I use it for?

You can use Zoom for real-time:

  • Lectures
  • Office hours
  • Group work
  • Student presentations
  • Oral exams
  • Exam presence

The lecture sessions can be recorded to make them available after the real-time event, as long as you keep and share them securely.

You may not record student exams.

What to know about Zoom

As of July 5, 2020, UBC’s institutional Zoom account transitioned from U.S.-based hosting to Canadian-based hosting. This means no data about you or your students will be stored on servers outside of Canada, provided that your Zoom session is created and hosted by a UBC Zoom user. All data from these sessions will flow through Zoom’s Canadian data centre, regardless of whether any participants are logged in to Zoom accounts or not. UBC has also conducted its own privacy assessment to confirm Zoom does meet the university’s other requirements for a teaching and learning tool.

Note that Zoom is FIPPA compliant only if you abide by guidance from UBC Legal: You cannot require students to create free Zoom accounts, as free Zoom accounts are outside of UBC’s educational license and still hosted on U.S.-based servers. In storing and sharing lecture recordings, you must also follow UBC’s security requirements and FIPPA to keep recordings confidential and secure.

Recording remains strictly prohibited during exams.

What do I need to use Zoom?

A UBC Zoom account

You will need to request a UBC Zoom account from UBC IT.

The Zoom application

Although Zoom has a web interface for some features, you will have to install the Zoom application on your computer to run the sessions.

Audio/visual equipment

Web-conferencing uses a microphone and a webcam.


  • Using a UBC Zoom account allows you to host FIPPA-compliant sessions and gives you access to more features than a free Zoom account, like running longer sessions.
  • Using headphones with a microphone will ensure good audio quality for you and your students.

How do I use Zoom?

You first need to request a UBC Zoom account, then install the Zoom application to run sessions. UBC’s educational license with Zoom automatically covers sessions with up to 300 students in a course. If you will be using Zoom with 300 or more students, please also email the UBC IT A/V Helpdesk with your name, the course name, and the class size to enable support for more participants.

Click any bar below for instructions and tips for using Zoom.

Request a UBC Zoom account and install Zoom

  1. For instructors and staff outside the Faculty of Medicine at UBC Vancouver:
    • Email the UBC IT A/V Helpdesk at av.helpdesk@ubc.ca with:
      • Your UBC email address
      • Your Faculty/School/Department
      • If your course will have 300 or more students, you will also need to include the instructor's name, the course name, and the class size.

    For Faculty of Medicine instructors and staff at UBC Vancouver:

    For instructors and staff based at UBC Okanagan:

    • Visit the UBCO IT Helpdesk and log in with your Novell credentials.
      • Choose Enter a Ticket.
      • Choose Request Something New.
      • Choose Other and request a Zoom account.
  2. Upon approval, you'll receive an email. Click Activate Your Zoom Account in this email.
  3. You may be asked to verify your date of birth to confirm that you are at least 16 years old. This is due to Zoom's security measures for educational licenses.
  4. In the webpage that opens for activating, click Sign Up With A Password.
  5. Fill in your first and last name, create a password (please use something different than your CWL), and click Continue. You now have a UBC Zoom account.
  6. Go to zoom.us/download and click Download under "Zoom Client for Meetings".
  7. Open the Zoom installer that downloads, and follow the steps to install the application.


  • Zoom is not integrated with your UBC CWL in any way, even when you use the institutional license. This is why your Zoom password should not match your CWL.
  • If you have an existing Zoom account, you will be prompted to approve moving it into UBC's account. Contact your helpdesk if you have an concerns about doing so.
  • Students do not need an account of their own to use Zoom and should be instructed to join sessions by clicking the link you send.
  • To schedule meetings from your Outlook calendar, download the Outlook add-in from the downloads page when installing Zoom.

Schedule a real-time lecture in Zoom

You can schedule sessions through the Zoom website or the Zoom application. The process is slightly different between the two. You can do more through the Zoom website, so this option is recommended.

Schedule through the Zoom website

  1. Go to zoom.us/meeting and sign in with your Zoom account, if you are not signed in already.
    • If you don't have an account, follow the steps in the accordion section above for creating a UBC account.
  2. Click Schedule a Meeting at the top.
  3. Enter in the topic, date/time, and adjust any other settings. To increase security here, you can:
    • Click the Passcode checkbox, if it is not already selected, so that students must enter a password to join the session. Remember to distribute this with your meeting invite.
    • Click the Waiting Room checkbox. The waiting room is like a virtual hallway outside your classroom, where each student waits alone to enter.
    • Don't enable joining before the host in "Meeting Options", as this means students can enter the session before you arrive.
  4. Click Save.
    • On this page, you can optionally create question polls for your session by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking Add. Polls can also be added on-the-fly during the session.
  5. Open the Zoom application on your computer, and sign in with your Zoom account, if you are not signed in already.
  6. Click the Meetings icon at the top, if it is not already selected.
  7. Click the Copy Invitation button next to the session (this will also copy the password, if you've set one). Paste this into a message to send to students.
  8. Options for securely sharing session information with your class are detailed on the Discussions & Communications page of the Keep Teaching website.


  • If your class has more than 100 students, you may wish to disable the waiting room to save time admitting them individually. As long as you keep joining before the host disabled, students will not be able to enter the session before you.
  • You can enable a chime to play when students enter the session and disable the chime once your session has started.

Prepare for your lecture session

  • Find a private, quiet, well-lit room to avoid interruptions or distractions.
  • Wear plain and neutral-coloured clothing. Clothes with strong detailing such as plaid shirts can create distortions in the video and remove visual detail from your face.
  • Use an external microphone (one that you plug into your computer) to help improve the audio quality of your presentation. Ideally, use headphones with a built-in microphone.
  • Avoid pointing your camera directly at a light source or you will likely appear silhouetted. Instead, sit with the light shining on you directly or at an angle. Make sure there is nothing behind you that will be distracting or revealing for students to see. Or use the Zoom virtual background feature, which replaces your background with an image or video.
  • Test your audio and video beforehand. Also ask students to go to zoom.us/test ahead of time to test their connection, microphone, and camera.
  • Get someone (e.g., a teaching assistant) who can help moderate during the lecture to monitor chat questions and handle technical troubleshooting with students.


  • Review the 3-minute lecture recording tips video provided by UBC Studios.
  • Help your students feel prepared too. Share UBC's Zoom Student guide with them and ensure they understand their options for participation.
  • Share your online etiquette and expectations of students during lectures. This should include setting basic communication protocol, e.g., how students should ask and respond to questions.
  • Keep in mind some students may have bandwidth limitations. You may need to rely on less high-bandwidth tools such as screen-sharing and provide lecture materials ahead of time instead of providing them for download during lecture.

Run a real-time lecture in Zoom

  1. Open the Zoom application on your computer and sign in, if you haven't already.
    • If you don't have Zoom, follow the steps in the accordion above for creating a UBC account and installing Zoom.
  2. Click the Meetings icon at the top, if it is not selected already.
    • If you don't see any sessions, follow the steps in the accordion above for scheduling a real-time lecture.
  3. Click Start for the session. You will be prompted to join immediately or test your speaker and microphone first. When you are ready, join.
  4. During the lecture, you can share your video and audio using the menu at the bottom of the screen. You'll also find options there for:
    • Security: Click the Security icon to lock the room so no new participants can join (highly recommended after you start the lecture), turn screen sharing on for participants, and more.
    • Controlling participation: Click the Participants icon to manage participants, including removing them, renaming them, muting their microphones, and stopping their shared video.
    • Chatting: Click the Chat icon to open the text chat panel. Use the 3 horizontal dots to choose whether to write to all meeting attendees or to individuals.
    • Screen sharing: Click the Share Screen icon to share your desktop or specific windows and applications. To play a video, click the Optimize Screen Share for Video Clip checkbox on the pop-up screen that appears before sharing. This option will share your screen at a better resolution and include your computer audio.
    • Breakout rooms: Click the Breakout Rooms icon to divide/assign students to rooms for participating in smaller group discussions.
  5. If you are recording the session, an automated voice will let students know when recording begins, so they are aware that any participation will be recorded as well.
  6. To start recording, click the Record icon at the bottom of the screen. To stop, click the stop icon that will appear in the same spot.
  7. To end the session, click End at the bottom right of the screen. This button will give you options for ending the session.


  • Disconnect from the Virtual Private Network (VPN), if your lecture does not require access to other systems over the VPN. Zoom sessions do not require nor benefit from using a VPN.
  • If you experience lag time when hosting, try turning off your video momentarily, if you can.
  • Remember to unlock your meeting room (using the Security icon) if students are experiencing connection issues, as this will allow them to rejoin.
  • Look at the camera to create eye contact with your students. This helps foster a more personal connection.
  • Ask students to mute their microphones unless they are asking questions or responding. This reduces interruptions, echoes, and background noise.
  • Utilize your options for increasing interactivity:
    • Invite collaboration with the whiteboard or annotating feature for documents you show with screen sharing.
    • Ask students to respond using emoticons or text in the chat.
    • Use the polling feature (similar to iClicker) to get opinions or check student understanding of the topic.
    • Divide the class into smaller groups for discussions using breakout room (note that this feature is only available for sessions under 300 students).
  • Learn the difference between host and co-host roles during sessions, if you're not sure who can do what actions in Zoom.
  • Understand local recording in Zoom, if you plan to record your lectures.

Use breakout rooms during a real-time lecture in Zoom

Breakout rooms allow you to split your main session into up to 50 separate, smaller sessions. The meeting host can break the class into these sessions automatically or manually and can switch between them at any time. Inside these breakout rooms, all participants will be allowed to share audio, video, slides, whiteboards, and screens with just the smaller group.

Note that, since UBC instructors are not permitted lists of student email addresses, breakout groups must be done on-the-fly and not using Zoom's preassigned breakout room feature, which relies on email addresses.

  1. In your active session, click the Breakout Rooms icon at the bottom of your screen to assign students to breakout rooms.
    • Depending on the size of your screen, you may need to click More first to see this option.
  2. Select the number of rooms you would like to create (up to 50) and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
    • Automatically: Zoom will split your students up evenly into each of the rooms.
    • Manually: You will be able to choose which students you would like in each room.
  3. Click Create breakout rooms. Your breakout rooms will be created but will not start automatically.
  4. If are assigning students manually:
    • Select Assign next to the room you wish to assign students to.
    • Select the students you want to assign to that room. Once students have been assigned, the number will show in place of the assign button.
    • You can rearrange participants using the Move to and Exchange options.
  5. To manage settings for automatic or manual breakout rooms, click Options to change:
    • Moving students into breakout rooms automatically: If enabled, students will not need to click to join the room but be moved in automatically.
    • Allowing students to return to the main session: If enabled, students will be able to leave the smaller group session at any time.
    • Closing breakout rooms automatically after a time: If enabled, the breakout rooms will automatically end after the time you set.
    • Giving notification when the time is up: If enabled, you will be notified when the breakout room time is up.
    • Starting a countdown after closing breakout rooms: If enabled, students will see how much time they have left in the breakout room.
  6. When you are ready to start your breakout rooms, click Open All Rooms. All participants will be moved or prompted to move into their respective rooms.


  • Breakout rooms are versatile private spaces that may be used in other ways, such as virtual office hours, one-on-one meetings, or exam presence.
  • Anyone not assigned to a breakout room will remain in the main session when the rooms are started, including you as the host.
  • Options available to you as a host during breakout rooms include:
    • Joining any breakout room, returning to the main session, or switching to another room.
    • Closing all breakout rooms, which will show a 60-second countdown to everyone before returning them to the main session.
    • Seeing if any students have requested help in their breakout room, which they can do by clicking an ask for help option.
    • Broadcasting a message to all breakout rooms (e.g., share a question you'd like the groups to discuss).
  • Zoom support provides more detailed information on enabling breakout rooms and managing breakout rooms.

Ask poll questions during a real-time lecture in Zoom

The polling feature allows you to create multiple-choice questions (you decide whether students select one or several of the options presented) and then gather responses from your class during live lectures. You can create one or more polls ahead of time or during a session. You can also export results after the session.

Create a poll

  1. If you are creating a poll ahead of time:
    • Go to zoom.us/meeting and sign in, if you haven't already.
    • If you don't see any sessions, follow the steps in the accordion above for scheduling a real-time lecture.
    • Click the meeting you wish to add a poll to.
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page. Click Add to create a poll.
  2. If you are creating a poll during a session:
    • Click the Polling icon at the bottom of the screen.
    • Click Add a Question.
  3. Set the poll options: Enter a title, choose whether you want students to answer anonymously, and add the question and answers. You can also select if you want the question to be "single choice" (students choose one answer) or "multiple choice" (students can choose multiple answers).
  4. If you would like to add another question to this poll, click Add a Question.
  5. When you are finished, click Save.
  6. You can add more polls by repeating steps 2-5 or manage existing polls at the bottom of the page.

Launch a poll

  1. In your active session, click the Polling icon at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select the poll you would like to launch from the drop-down at the top. (This drop-down will only appear if you have more than one poll.)
  3. Click Launch Poll.
  4. Students will be prompted to answer the question and you will be able to see the results as they come in. Click End Poll to stop collecting responses.
  5. If you would like to share the results with students, click Share Results. When you are done, click Stop Sharing.


  • You can download a report of the poll results after the session. When viewing the report, note that you will either see the names students provided when they joined the session or, if the poll was anonymous, "anonymous" as the student name.
  • You are limited to a maximum of 25 polls in Zoom for a single session.

Keep your real-time lecture secure in Zoom

You may have heard of people disrupting or "bombing" Zoom sessions. To protect your lecture and increase security:

When scheduling your lecture

  1. Don't use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to host the session. Your PMI is a persistent session link associated with your account that anyone can pop in and out of at any time.
  2. Follow the recommendations in the instructions above when scheduling sessions to:
    • Add a password that students must enter to join the session.
    • Prevent students joining before the host (you).
    • Enable a waiting room for any students arriving earlier than the scheduled session time.
  3. Don't share session links or passwords through public channels, as this allows anyone with the information to attend.

During your session

  1. Lock the virtual classroom after your lecture begins.
  2. Be prepared to remove, mute, or stop video sharing for disruptive participants during the lecture. Consider getting a teaching assistant or other person to help with this moderating.

Where can I get more support with Zoom?

Technical support

If you have trouble with Zoom:

For instructors and staff outside the Faculty of Medicine at UBC Vancouver:
604 822 7956 or av.helpdesk@ubc.ca

For Faculty of Medicine instructors and staff at UBC Vancouver:
1 877 266 0666 or medit.servicedesk@ubc.ca

For instructors and staff based at UBC Okanagan:
250 807 9000 or visit the UBCO IT Helpdesk

For supporting your students:

Learn more

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