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LITS Faculty Guide: 2020-2021 FIT

Teaching Online With Zoom

Zoom is the College’s preferred tool for audio and video conferencing. The College has purchased a site license. All Mount Holyoke faculty and students can initiate video and audio conference calls of unlimited duration using this tool, with a maximum of 300 participants on the call. You are able to set recurring or one-time Zoom meetings, and Zoom integrates with both Google Calendar and Moodle.

In a remote teaching situation, we suggest you use Zoom for:

  • Live class sessions via group video conference
  • One-on-one calls for office hours or other meetings
  • Student small group work - students can initiate their own group calls!

Installing Zoom

Visit the Mount Holyoke Zoom page to install Zoom.

If you are a first-time user of Zoom at Mount Holyoke, be sure to go to to get to our institution's domain on Zoom, then click Sign In, and use your Mount Holyoke email address and credentials (as you would use for email or Moodle) to sign in to Zoom. You do not need to sign up as a new user of Zoom. If you have gone to instead, you can also use the Sign In with SSO button and specify mtholyoke as our domain in Zoom, or use the Sign in with Google option, and each of those will take you to the same sign-in process.

Please note: if you have multiple Google accounts - such as a personal Gmail address, as well as your Mount Holyoke account - and you have been in the habit of using both accounts on the same computer or in the same web browser, you may need to log out of other Google accounts before trying to access, in order to log in successfully. Should you see any unexpected errors, please take a screenshot if you’re able, or write a short description of the error, and contact Mount Holyoke's Zoom Help. We will do our best to provide guidance to untangle your accounts.

We recommend you install the appropriate Zoom application on all devices you are likely to use to connect with other members of our community, including desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices as appropriate. If you have trouble downloading Zoom, please open a ticket with the Technology Help Desk.

Scheduling and Organizing Zoom Sessions

There are a couple of different ways to schedule a Zoom meeting, and you may want to start in a different place depending on your goal.

Facilitating Access and Participation

Zoom allows meeting participants to join a videoconference through a variety of methods, including smartphone applications, voice-only phones, or computers without microphones or cameras. Please be sure to enable both video and audio participation for meeting attendees. You can stress that video participation is preferred, but enabling all access options ensures that anyone experiencing a loss of Internet access or limited access to technology may have an easier time staying connected. 

Please encourage your videoconference participants (including students and/or colleagues) to download the Zoom app to the devices they intend to use for remote learning. Scheduling, joining, and participating in live class sessions, small group work, or one-on-one meetings will be easier to manage if the Zoom app is already installed. 

To access a meeting directly from the web, rather than via the Zoom app, visit Join a Meeting and enter the nine-digit number that is unique to the meeting. This number can be found in the invitation, and is at the end of the URL generated for each meeting.

Considering Security and Accessibility

Update: Zoom has recently released a series of security fixes; we strongly recommend you update the app wherever you have it installed. One of the newest additions to the meeting interface is a security panel, which aggregates a host's participant management options into a single menu:


Please continue to keep Zoom up-to-date to take advantage of this and future new features!

There's been a lot of news recently about Zoom and security. While LITS is confident at this time that it remains the most scalable and user-friendly videoconferencing solution, we recommend you both review the security tips on our main web site and keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Restrict as many meetings as possible to authenticated users only. Depending on your enrollment, you may have to expand that to include Five College users; instructions for doing so are on the LITS web site page linked above.
  • Enable the Waiting Room feature for class sessions if appropriate, as well as for office hours or advising.  See this video fo a demonstration of the Waiting Room.
  • Turn off "join before host."
  • Encourage those students with significant security concerns about using webcams or installing the Zoom application to join class sessions via the audio option. 
  • If you intend to record a Zoom session, please verbally announce that to all participants, explain what you intend to do with that recording (where it will be housed, and who will be able to see it), and allow anyone who does not want their face recorded to turn off their webcams.
  • Please update the application when new versions are released, as Zoom's engineers are developing security patches on a rolling basis.

Please also keep accessibility needs in mind when scheduling Zoom sessions, especially if you are hosting synchronous classes. The College's stated preference is that you provide instruction asynchronously as much as is possible, in part to improve the accessibility of all our courses and ensure an equitable and inclusive learning experience for all our students. You can read more about Zoom and accessibility on the LITS web site.

Zoom Versus Google Hangouts

In addition to supporting videoconferencing needs via Zoom, LITS staff have enabled Google Hangouts Chat and Google Hangouts Meet for all Mount Holyoke community members.

We recommending using Google Hangouts Chat to quickly connect with MHC colleagues over chat, either from within your Mt. Holyoke e-mail or as a standalone application on a smartphone. You may have to request the ability to connect with a particular individual you'd like to chat with via this model. 

Google Hangouts Meet is Google's videoconferencing tool. It works similarly to Zoom in many cases, but also includes the ability to livestream to large audiences.

Right now, LITS recommends you use Zoom for class meetings, virtual office hours, and meetings that need to have live closed captioning for accessibility. We recommend trying Google Hangouts (Chat and/or Meet) for informal 1:1 conversations, or livestreaming events that don't require audience participation.

Want to compare the differences between Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet? Check out our handy comparison chart!

Help with Zoom

Need help getting ready to use Zoom? While most users find it relatively intuitive, a variety of support options are available. These include:

  • Videos and Articles from Zoom Support
  • Live Training Webinars (including some specifically for educators)
  • LinkedIn Learning course, "Learning Zoom."
  • If the College implements a campus-wide social distancing policy during the academic year, limited live remote help will be available weekdays, as long as LITS staff are able to connect from campus or their own remote locations. More information about this support will be made available to all instructors as needed.
  • E-mail the LITS Helpdesk.
MHC Accessibility Barriers Form