Top 10 Tips for Good Zoom Hygiene and Etiquette in Education

During the COVID-19 pandemic, educators need tips for good online classes.

Posted Mar 20, 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in frantic scrambling efforts to alter our lifestyles in ways that most people have never thought seriously about before. One of these dramatic changes is for educators of all types and levels (from primary school to high school to colleges and universities everywhere) to move their courses and instructional activities from in-person to online formats. While some instructors have already become familiar with and have impressive skills using online instruction, probably the vast majority of educators have not. 

Much has been written and discussed about how educators have quickly moved to online platforms, like Zoom. Yet, many are not aware of some of the behavioral and psychological challenges associated with using this technology for classroom instruction.

After consulting with my colleagues, I would like to offer a list of top 10 good Zoom hygiene and etiquette tips for instructors and students alike to try and make the most of this experience. It is my hope that these tips might prove helpful to novice Zoom users and that they may assist in creating online classroom environments that will be rewarding and productive for all. Please note that these tips are just my suggestions with input from colleagues, and there may be many other educators out there who might wish to add additional tips as well. 

 Used with permission from Wikimedia
Source: Used with permission from Wikimedia

Top 10 Good Zoom Hygiene and Etiquette Tips 

Since we are all transitioning to online teaching and learning during the global COVID-19 pandemic, I thought that it might be helpful to list just a few points to maximize good Zoom hygiene and etiquette. After all, with so many students in Zoom-assisted classes, all it takes is one unmuted mic at an inopportune moment, and you can have a Zooming disaster on your hands. So, please be mindful and follow these top 10 Zoom hygiene and etiquette tips.

1. Be sure to mute your mic (lower-left corner of your screen) as soon as you sign on and whenever you are not speaking. This is important and perhaps the most critical tip on this list to avoid background noise and distractions for others.

2. Consider muting your video (also on the lower left of the screen) if you are eating, scratching, talking with someone else in the room, or anything else that might be distracting to others.

3. Close unneeded applications on your computer to keep the video optimally functioning.

4. You might want to use a headset with an external mic for best hearing and speaking capabilities.

5. When you are speaking, let others know that you are finished by saying one of these sign-offs: “That’s all.” “I’m done.” “Thank you.” So that everyone knows you have finished your comments.

6. If you want to speak, physically raise your hand or use the “raise hand” feature that is available at the bottom center of your screen.

7. You can ask questions and make comments silently if desired using the “Chat” feature (also on the bottom and center of your screen).

8. Be mindful of your background lighting. If you are sitting in front of a window, you may be completely darkened by the light coming through the window. Your overhead light also might need to be turned off or dimmed as well.

9. Be sure that there is nothing visually distracting (e.g., cars or people going by) in the background too.

10. Remember to sign out or “leave the meeting” when the session is finished.

Bonus item! Do not forget that clothing is not optional!

Thanks, Zoomers, for attending to these top 10 tips that will hopefully make the online classroom experience better for all!

So what do you think? 

Copyright 2020, Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP