As remote learning and Zoom meetings become more prevalent, virtual meetings have the potential to become stale and unengaging. The difference between in-class and online capabilities necessitates new strategies for creating engaging online meetings. Here are some strategies from professors at other universities to help you plan Zoom meetings for the new semester.

Share a document prior to meeting — Provide students with discussion questions on a shared document (as a class or in groups) two to three days prior to the Zoom meeting. Have them contribute ideas to the document in the days prior to the meeting. During the meeting, students will be more prepared to discuss their ideas. This can also help international students, students who are uncomfortable speaking on the spot, and students who prefer to research ideas prior to discussing them.

Scaffold group meetings — Students may need help in managing group meetings to facilitate productivity. Use the suggestions in this article to provide structure for group activity meetings.

Use Zoom Tools — Try converting some of your face-to-face teaching methods using Zoom’s built-in tools such as the whiteboard, polling, and small group conversations.

Build in incentives, recognition, and frequent engagement opportunities — Students are most likely to participate in Zoom meetings when they know you expect them to show their engagement throughout the meeting. As an alternative to participation grades or extra credit points, consider offering non-grade incentives. This article provides a list of suggestions. It also discusses considerations for Zoom meeting length and meeting safety.

All decisions regarding how Zoom meetings will depend, of course, on your students, your course content, and the purpose of your meetings. Using the experiences of other instructors can help you choose the strategies that will lead to a successful and productive semester.

For more information about using Zoom, check out our eLearning Zoom page or view our training sessions page for upcoming or archived webinars on using Zoom.