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Zoom User Guide

Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows users to perform synchronous (real-time) functions including host online meetings, participate in group messaging, and share video and audio content. The software is cloud-based and works on desktop, laptop and mobile operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Linux. It is recommended that you download and regularly update the Zoom app in order to have access to the full functionality of Zoom while participating in a Zoom meeting. 


Online and hybrid classes have a few distinctive features, including the spaces in which students and instructors meet. To facilitate synchronous sessions, many instructors use Zoom’s meeting feature to:

  • Share Screen: with this feature, meeting participants can share content including, a computer desktop, open programs such as Powerpoint, Web Browsers, and Media Players, and other connected devices. Participants can also pause and/or stop sharing at any point during the meeting. While screen sharing, participants can mark-up the screen through the “annotate” menu. The share screen function also allows participants to “share computer sound” so that other participants can hear what you are sharing. 
  • Direct Message/Chat: This feature allows participants to speak with each other publicly or privately within the room. The meeting host can also decide whether participants are able to talk with everyone or talk with host only.
  • Record Class Sessions: With this feature, the host can record a meeting, including pause and stop functions. The recording will be automatically sent to Zoom after the meeting for future downloading and embedding within web pages. 
  • Conduct Group Breakout Rooms: Here you can arrange group breakout rooms. Hosts can automatically or manually assign the participants into a set number of rooms for group activities. Hosts can also assist group activity by joining their groups. When grouped participants need assistance, they can call the host into individual groups via a convenient “get help” function.
  • Adjust Program Windows: Both the host and participants can arrange video, shared screen, and chat windows to accommodate their screens.
  • Use the Zoom App: Hosts and participants also have the option to use Zoom on Apple Iphones/Ipads and Android devices via the zoom app. This has the benefit of allowing participants to access Zoom rooms from practically any location with cell service. 

Important Notes about Zoom

  • Zoom is only available at SAS.More availability details:
    • SAS:  faculty, TAs, staff, and graduate students can create Zoom meetings without creating a personal Zoom account.
  • Any student enrolled in a SAS course can participate in a Zoom meeting.
  • The Zoom-Canvas integration is not available at Penn.
  • Online meetings can include up to 50 people.

Benefits of Using Zoom

  • Allows for synchronous classes meetings.
  • Supports use on mobile devices (tablets and phones).
  • Online meetings can include up to 50 people.


To gain access to your personal Zoom account or for help with Zoom:

More about the Zoom App on your Computer

The Zoom app is the recommended way to connect to your course synchronous sessions. Users that connect to synchronous sessions via a browser (such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox) will not have access to the full suite of functionalities that are available for Zoom meeting attendees. It is also important to regularly update the Zoom app on your computer, and we recommend doing so before any synchronous session. 

Please see below for some useful links:

Connect to a Zoom Meeting By Phone

It is possible to connect to a Zoom meeting by calling in via phone. While this is not the recommended method, since there is no video capability, it can be very convenient for anyone experiencing issues with connecting via the internet.

Joining a Meeting by Phone Only

Please note: You will need to ask your teacher for this information if it was not sent along with the zoom meeting link.

The below information is from the Zoom Help Center:

  1. Dial an in-country number. If you dial a toll number, your carrier rates will apply. You can find the numbers on your meeting invitation or a full list of international dial-in numbers at https://zoom.us/zoomconference.
  2. You will be prompted to enter the meeting ID - the nine (9) or ten (10) digit ID provided to you by the host, followed by #.
  3. If the meeting has not already started and join before host is not enabled, you will be prompted to enter the host key to start the meeting, or to press # to wait if you are participant.
  4. You will be prompted to enter your unique participant ID. This only applies if you have joined on the computer or mobile device or are a panelist in a webinar. Press #to skip.

If you join by computer or mobile device later, you can enter the Participant ID to bind your phone and device session together and show your video when you speak on the phone. To enter your participant ID once you are in the meeting, enter #Participant ID# on your phone.

Phone controls for participants

The following commands can be entered via DTMF tones using your phone's dial pad while in a Zoom meeting:

  • *6 - Toggle mute/unmute
  • *9 - Toggle raise/lower hand


*Taken with permission from infocanvas.upenn.edu