What is Zoom?
Zoom is one of UCL's supported web conferencing or online classroom platforms.
UCL has acquired Zoom on a 12-month license as it provides greater reliability for staff and students in China. UCL's choice of platform for live teaching will be reviewed during 2020/21 and there is no guarantee that the Zoom license will be extended beyond the ‘remote teaching’ period.
Zoom can be used for a variety of teaching and learning activities, including seminars and interactive group study, Q&A discussions, guest lectures, and tutorials. It provides a range of different functions in a live, or synchronous, learning environment. These features include:
- Audio and video conferencing;
- Presentation and whiteboard facilities;
- Application sharing;
- Text chat for student discussion and questions;
- Tools for hand-raising and reactions;
- Breakout rooms for small group activities.
It can also act as an informal course meeting space and be used with participants from outside of UCL.
The maximum number of participants for a given session (including moderators and presenters) is 300.
Should I use Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate or Teams for synchronous teaching?
There is no easy answer. The teaching platform you choose will depend on a variety of factors including teaching requirements, the course subject, and – critically – whether your live sessions include students who are based in China. To help you understand which platform is best suited for you, we have outlined the core functionality, benefits and considerations of Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom and MS Teams on the Choosing the right platform for live teaching webpage.
What about the privacy concerns with regards to using Zoom?
The Information Security Group have looked closely into the privacy and data security of Zoom. Zoom needs to be treated as an open platform with no guarantee of privacy for call participants. UCL has no verifiable knowledge of, or influence over, Zoom's worldwide infrastructure agreements with national authorities. We advise all staff to use care and discretion when sharing sensitive content or research data with participants or when discussing potentially politically sensitive matters with call participants. For further information see the Zoom FAQS document.