Zoom Features

One of the most common questions first-time users of Zoom have is:

How do I unmute my microphone?

How do I turn on my video?

  • To unmute your mic:

PC/Mac – click the “Unmute” button in the Zoom Meeting controls displayed at the bottom left of the app. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt + A

Android/iOS – Tap on the Audio icon, displayed at the bottom left of the screen. This will open up options for joining via device audio or calling in.

  • To start your video:

PC/Mac – click the “Start Video” button in the Zoom Meeting controls at the bottom left of the app. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt V

Android/iOS – Tap on the Video icon displayed at the bottom left of the screen. This will open up options for joining video via your mobile device’s camera.


  • We often ask attendees to turn their video on and keep their microphones off unless called upon or prompted to speak in the meeting. When finished speaking, it is considered proper etiquette to turn one’s microphone off so any background noise is not broadcast to the entire meeting.
  • For meetings with 30+ attendees, we recommend having 1-2 support staff on hand to mute students who unintentionally leave their mic on. The meeting Host will need to initially grant co-host privileges to the support staff to do this. Full details on providing co-host privileges in a Zoom meeting can be found at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362603-Host-and-Co-Host-Controls-in-a-Meeting
  • When asking for feedback or participation, it is usually best to ask attendees to ‘raise their hand’ in Zoom and then invite them individually to unmute themselves to speak. To raise a hand in Zoom, students must click on the Participants tab and click the “Raise Hand” option. This will put a visual indicator of a hand next to their name in the Participants tab (and in the Gallery view), allowing the instructor to call on them one at a time. This is better than simply asking students to chime in, as many students may unmute themselves and start speaking all at once. More information about this feature can be found under the “Participants” heading on this page: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/200941109-Attendee-Controls-in-a-Meeting
  • For instructors teaching via Powerpoint, the “Share Screen” feature is handy for showing students your slides. Instructors can freely start or stop a screen share as needed. Zoom offers support for dual monitors and many more considerations.https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362153-How-Do-I-Share-My-Screen-
  • Zoom allows you to create customized polls, which you can then launch during a meeting. Instructors often use these to quiz students on key concepts and collect feedback. Polls can be created ahead of time by logging into the Zoom host account at https://www.zoom.us, navigating to the scheduled meeting and configuring poll questions/answers at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, the Zoom app allows those with Host and Co-Host privileges to create polls inside of a meeting. For detailed information on polls and how to use them, see https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/213756303-Polling-for-Meetings
  • Zoom Breakout Rooms allow you to split a Zoom meeting in up to 50 separate sessions. We often use this feature to promote group discussion (usually for 5-10 minutes) amongst students regarding key concepts and case studies being presented. Only the Host can launch and manage Breakout Rooms. Once Breakout Rooms are launched, all meeting attendees will get a prompt to join their assigned room. They’ll have a set amount of time – controlled by the Host – to talk and interact with their Breakout Room members. Once the Host closes Breakout Rooms, attendees will get a prompt warning them that the rooms are about to close. After a set amount of time, the rooms will all close and all attendees will rejoin the main meeting room.

Starting with Breakout Rooms: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206476093-Getting-Started-with-Breakout-Rooms

Managing Breakout Rooms: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206476313-Managing-Video-Breakout-Rooms

  • Finally, Zoom allows you to automatically record your meetings locally or to the cloud. Once recorded, you will have access to the .mp4 recording of the session, from start to end. This feature is especially handy for organizations that want to publish recordings later on an online video streaming service such as Youtube, Vimeo, Mediaspace, etc. Tutorials on using Automatic Recording are available at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/202921119-Automatic-Recording

Additional Information

Zoom Overview for Beginners: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697-Getting-Started

Getting Started with Zoom on Windows & Mac PCs: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362033-Getting-Started-on-Windows-and-Mac

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