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Zoom Etiquette: 7 Strict Rules for Students in Virtual Meetings

Matthew Patel
Matthew Patel
Posted in Zoom Sep 6 · 8 Sep, 2022
Zoom Etiquette: 7 Strict Rules for Students in Virtual Meetings

We’re over two years into the pandemic. Even though we’re starting to experience some normalcy in life, a lot of students are still having virtual classes. 

According to Best Colleges’ 2021 Online Education Trends report, 85% of students engage in synchronous meetings through video conferencing technology. However, while virtual classes have become part of a student’s daily life, many are still unaware of basic Zoom etiquette.

Indeed, online classes aren’t as formal as virtual business meetings. However, they can be training grounds for future corporate employees. Besides, following Zoom etiquette shows that a student respects the people in the academe.

So, here are some ground rules when attending Zoom classes.

1. Wear Proper Attire

What’s great about online classes is that you can take them from anywhere. However, most of the time, students take their video calls from home. Even so, it must still be treated as “work” and not some laidback activity.

As a student, you should think of a Zoom meeting as an actual classroom. So, you should dress well. Indeed, some professors require their students to switch on their cameras while others don’t. Even if it is the latter, you should still choose to wear proper attire.

Here are some of the reasons why you should wear the appropriate outfit in your Zoom classes:

In case the meeting host requests everyone to turn on their cameras, you need to look decent for the class. What’s more, if there’s an interactive discussion, dressing well will show the lecturer that you are interested in participating.

Changing from your pajamas to an appropriate classroom outfit can also help set your mood for learning. It will be easier for you to get into the learning zone if you prepare your mindset accordingly. As a Zoom etiquette, think of how you’d dress when you’re going to an actual classroom.

2. Ask for Permission Before Recording a Zoom Class

It’s only natural for students to want to record a class or take a screenshot. If the lecturer does not deliberately email their presentations, you might want to capture the important details of the discussion. However, before you do so, you should ask for permission from the lecturer. Here are some of the reasons why:

Recording a video conference may be illegal. While there are several one-party consent states, there are areas that require recording permission from everyone in the call. One of the participants may look at the action as a violation of their privacy. As a result, they may file criminal charges against you.

It’s also rude to hear the sound of random screenshots taken throughout a virtual meeting. So, as a Zoom etiquette, just ask the lecturer for permission before taking a picture. In any case, they may even offer to send the slides after the discussion.

3. Have a Clean Background

Nothing is more distracting than seeing clutter or walking people in the background of a Zoom call. Remember that you’re not the only person in the class, and you need to think of others who want to stay focused on the discussion. So, before the virtual meeting, you need to stage the background, or at least, customize your settings. Here are some tips to follow:

Use a Wall

A plain wall would be the easiest choice for a background. Remember to expose only your wall and not the other objects in the room. However, if you have shelving against the wall, make sure that the items on it are organized. You can also add plants to give the area a more natural look.

Keep Pets and Other People Off-Screen

We understand how fun it is to see other people’s pets. However, if you have one, they may be rowdy during the class. They may bark and jump a lot, creating distractions for everyone in the virtual meeting. So, put your pets in another room. If you’re living with roommates or family, tell them beforehand that you’re participating in an online class.

4. Face the Camera

Students should remember proper camera use when learning about Zoom etiquette. In some instances, you may be called to answer a question or give a presentation. The best way to do this is to look into the camera. You should also position the device in a way that will make it easier for you to face it while you’re talking. 

Here are some of the reasons why facing the camera is good Zoom etiquette:

By looking directly into the camera, it will be easier for you to focus on the discussion and avoid distractions.

If you’re presenting a topic, other class participants will feel like you’re talking directly to them.

5. Use Your Actual Name

Before you join the Zoom class, make sure you use your actual name. The lecturer should be able to identify you easily during the session. You can still correct your name at any point of the meeting in case you forget to do so before the class. 

It’s not ideal to use the shorter form of your name or your nickname. If the lecturer is checking and recording attendance, they may be unable to identify you quickly. So, as a Zoom etiquette, remember to treat the class as a professional workplace. It’s only proper to use your actual name.

6. Practice Proper Communication

Always communicate professionally and respectfully when you’re in a Zoom class. You may be invited to critique a classmate’s presentation, comment on a sensitive topic, or take a side in a debate. In these cases, you should avoid being rude or using inappropriate language. Here are some best practices when communicating in a Zoom meeting:

Raise Your Virtual Hand

If you want to speak or you need to ask something, click the “raise hand” button on the app. It’s a Zoom etiquette to use this gesture. It is polite and it also allows the lecturer to manage the discussion, especially in bigger conferences.

Be Courteous

It may seem easy to be courteous, but in reality, it’s challenging to practice. If you wouldn’t say something out loud in a physical class, then you shouldn’t mention it during a Zoom class or in the chat box. In group settings, respect, generosity, and compassion can go a long way. Remember that your classmates are part of your professional network. So, it only makes sense that you build a positive relationship with them.

7. Prepare Yourself for Learning

Just because you’re joining a Zoom class from your bedroom, it doesn’t mean that you can be laidback. Staying focused can be challenging when you’re having classes from home. So, it’s important that you get into the session with a mindset for learning. Here are some tips to follow:

Be Punctual

It is your responsibility as a student to show up on time. Indeed, you wouldn’t draw too much attention when you’re slipping into a virtual session late. However, you’ll likely miss some important details and may even get distracted during the class. So, set up reminders to ensure that you will be able to join the class a few minutes before the start time.

Check for Technical Issues

You wouldn’t find the lecture hall on the first day of your class. The same is true when you’re having Zoom meetings. You need to ensure that every technical aspect from your end is ready. So, check your hardware, software, and internet connection. If you haven’t used Zoom before, you should join a test session to learn how to navigate the app.

Eliminate Distractions

You may be doing something else on your computer before your Zoom class. However, before it begins, close other windows and tabs that aren’t related to the discussion. You can also switch your phone to silent mode to ensure that any notifications won’t distract you.

What to Avoid During Zoom Classes

We’ve gone over all the best practices for Zoom meetings. Now, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do.

1. Keeping Your Mic on When You’re Not Speaking

When you’re not talking, it is inappropriate to leave your mic on. The ambient noise can be distracting for other people in the conference call. So, as soon as you join the session, make sure that your mic is on mute.

2. Posting the Meeting Credentials on Social Media

Social media sites may be the most convenient channels for sharing Zoom meeting IDs with your classmates. However, it is not proper Zoom etiquette to make meeting IDs and passwords public. Only students of a particular class should be able to access the online lecture.

3. Taking the Class in a Noisy Environment

You may be able to keep your mic on mute, but what happens if you’re called to contribute to a discussion? So, find a quiet place where you can take your Zoom classes. Otherwise, the noise may annoy other students and distract them from learning.

Zoom meetings are just like in-person classes. The only difference is that they’re held virtually. Even so, that shouldn’t be an excuse for any student not to follow proper Zoom meeting etiquette. 

Are there other ground rules we missed in this post? Let us know in the comments section!