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Five Reasons to Move to Zoom for Your Online Classes

Five Reasons to Move to Zoom for Your Online Classes

0 (0votes)

by Kevin Pitts, the Teaching & Learning Centre

in the March 2021 issue


Like many of you, I started off using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for my synchronous online class sessions because it was integrated nicely into Learn@Seneca and had the features I needed. Over time, I became quite comfortable and familiar with using the tool. With the recent notice that Seneca will not be renewing Blackboard Collaborate Ultra this fall, there is a reason to investigate other web-conferencing tools. Zoom is one of these.

Why move to Zoom? Let’s look at five reasons to move to Zoom for your online classes.

The reasons:

  1. Automatic Closed Captioning: Super cool! If you tell Zoom to save your recordings to the cloud, and enable the “Closed Captioning” options in your advanced Zoom settings (Figure 1), your recordings (when played back) will have the “CC” button available for users to click on to view (note: it may take a day or so to process). And, during live meetings, participants will be able to turn on (or off) live transcription via the “Live Transcript” button in the panel (Figure 2). Currently in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, to get automatic closed captioning, you need to download your recordings and then upload them to a streaming service like Microsoft Stream, and to get live transcription, you must assign someone to be a live transcriber.

    A screen capture of the Zoom advanced Closed Captioning settings
    Figure 1. Zoom Advanced Closed Captioning Settings

    A screen capture of the Zoom Live Transcript Button
    Figure 2. Zoom Live Transcript Button

  2. Set up Breakout Rooms and Polls in Advance: Awesome! In your Zoom Web interface/portal, you can pre-assign participants to breakout rooms when you schedule a meeting (Figure 3), and once a meeting is scheduled, you can pre-load poll questions (Figure 4). Currently in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, you can only set up your breakout rooms and polls during the meeting.

    A screen capture of the Zoom meeting option to enable pre-assigning of breakout rooms
    Figure 3. Zoom Meeting Option to Enable Pre-Assigning of Breakout Rooms

    A screen capture of the Zoom poll pre-loading option
    Figure 4. Zoom Poll Pre-Loading Option

  3. Show Videos Live in Session: Yes! Many of us like to have students follow-along as we show (and control) video content in real time. This is easy to do in Zoom. All you need to do is share your screen, select the video to show, select the “share sound” option (Figure 5), and then share away.

    A screen capture of the Zoom options for sharing video with sound
    Figure 5: Zoom Options for Sharing Video with Sound

  4. Gallery View: So Nice! There are many times when we want to have everyone able to see each other in our sessions. In Zoom, you can display up to 49 participants in a grid format when selecting “Gallery View.” Of course, only participants with their cameras turned on will be displayed.

  5. Detach the Chat: Handy! Has this happened to you – your chat panel disappears when sharing your screen, then someone asks a question in the chat, so you have to go back to check (or you miss it altogether)? In Zoom, you can detach (pop out) your chat panel to make it available while sharing your screen (Figure 6).

    A screen capture of the Zoom chat panel Pop Out option
    Figure 6. Zoom Chat Panel Pop Out Option

There are, of course, other reasons to switch to Zoom, like the fact that it, too, is integrated into Learn@Seneca. Ultimately, the decision to move to Zoom comes down to your needs and preferences, and those of your students. Before you decide, though, why not give Zoom a try.

For more on Zoom:



View the March 2021 issue of the Academic Newsletter.

Comments (1)


Thanks so much, Kevin. I have already started using Zoom and have found features easy and useful.

0 (0votes)