This article runs through some of the things to look for in a good Zoom connection and what to do if you have problems.
Recently NEX ran a webinar with Sammy from ConnectNZ who talked us through some of the behind the scenes features of Zoom. It was interesting to see all the information that can be accessed from the Zoom dashboard about who is connecting from where, on what devices, for how long and about the quality of the connections. You don’t need to be super geeky to understand this stuff, but a little knowledge on how things work is useful to understanding how to get the best out of your Zoom classroom experience.
The Zoom dashboard shows you at a glance what classes are running and who is there. This is useful especially as classes get up and running, or there are changes to timetables, when students can sometimes get lost. You can see if your learners are in the right class and if not they can be redirected to the correct classroom
You can look at the technical details of each lesson in real time or later look back through meeting details. This is useful information to know if you need to trouble shoot or provide technical support. You can see live information about the quality of each connection and pinpoint where the trouble might be. I’m not a very technical person but i learnt that these are the things you need to look for, and outside the following parameters there are some bandwidth issues that may need to be sorted:
- Bitrate: the higher the better. For video around 1000 is good.
- Latency: needs to be under 100, although 0 is ideal.
- Jitter: 15 and less ideal.
- Packet loss: 0%.
Zoom does a lot of management in the background and will make adjustments as needed to get the best experience depending on the bandwidth available.
Things you can do to troubleshoot:
- Having fast broadband connection helps. You can test your connection at https://www.speedtest.net/ and investigate broadband options to find the best connection you can get at your location.
- Ensure your internal network is running well, connect directly to ethernet if wifi is not reliable;
- Shut down all other applications on your computer to ensure your CPU (your computer’s processing power) is only working on your Zoom meeting and to ensure there is nothing running in the background that will be using your bandwidth. For example, if you have Google Drive installed on your computer, consider changing settings to reduce the bandwidth usage.
- Try Zoom audio only (ie. turn off the video – use chat to share links or ring and direct staff/students to the relevant part of resources in google classroom / slides / youtube.)
Download and install the Zoom client on your computer, this works much more effectively than through the browser alone. If you have to use a browser Chrome is the best one to use.
The average Zoom user doesn’t usually have direct access to the dashboard, but ask your Zoom administrator to enable this for you. Zoom admins, you can do this by creating customised admin roles with varying levels of permission.
If you are interested in using Zoom in your online classes and want an introductory workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Rachel Whalley