About Zoom Account Types
There has been a lot of confusion around different types of Zoom accounts. This should help clarify things:
Zoom Basic Accounts - This is the type of account you and your teachers are almost certainly using.
Normally, Zoom has a 40 minute time limit on meetings of 3 or more participants, but this is currently lifted for school users
Recording can only be done to the host's computer, not to the cloud
Zoom for Education Accounts - Unless your school PURCHASES Zoom for Education, this is not the option you're using. Zoom for Education is different than Zoom Basic in the following ways:
Allows central administration of account and settings
All features of the Zoom Business account, such as increased participant limits, single sign on, cloud recording, etc.
Zoom for Education has a cost of roughly $90 per host per year (minimum 10). We use Zoom for Education at the Cristo Rey Network national office.
Students do not need a Zoom account to join a zoom meeting. They should join meetings as guests, without creating a Zoom account. Students under the age of 18 are forbidden from creating Zoom accounts, as per Zoom's terms of service.
"Zoombombing" and Other Concerns
Protecting Against Zoombombing
There's no shortage of information on this, but we'll make it quick. Zoom provides guidance for securing virtual meetings here.
Here are the most simple options:
Lock your virtual classroom
When you are ready to start the zoom session and students are in the meeting, you can lock the meeting from your manage participants section.
Use the Waiting Room Feature (link)
The waiting room allows you to keep participants from joining a meeting until you select to add them. Or you can send people BACK to the waiting room.
This can be set up on any individual meeting OR on your personal meeting room.
⚠️ Meeting Passwords are insufficient on their own
Meeting passwords are best used in conjunction with the settings above. Students could maliciously post the meeting password to a Zoombombing forum or group. Without a waiting room or a locked room, a password that is shared out to others offers little / no protection.
Privacy and FERPA
The two education privacy regulations that most directly apply are COPPA and FERPA:
COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) applies to students younger than 13, and is not an issue for Cristo Rey schools
We have more detailed guidance on FERPA here. There are no FERPA certification programs, and FERPA compliance is a shared responsibility between schools and vendors. Zoom provides guidance on its FERPA compliance, and there do not appear to be any clear concerns.
Students and Zoom Accounts
Students should not sign up for individual zoom accounts. They should join meetings as guests. Or, if you have purchased Zoom for Education, they can be given accounts, added by the school, on the school's Zoom profile.
Zoom's Terms of Service prohibit account creation by individuals under 18 years old.
Should we use still use Zoom?
With all these concerns, is it worth using Zoom or should we move to something else?
Ultimately, this is up to your school. Zoom is a standout in this market because it "just works", and that's worth a lot. And Zoom does a great job having features that are useful, but not complicated to use. That said, if you are a GSuite school, or an Office 365 school, you have other options that are reliable and address many of the issues above.
One thing that is certain though - your faculty and staff should ALL use the same platform. You should not have some teachers using one option and others using another. Managing privacy, recordings, support, etc. across many different options is not only too cumbersome for IT, it is more burdensome for students AND it provides a higher risk profile for concerns or complaints.
If you are a GSuite school, Google Meet is freely available, and is a good and reasonably private option since all students will have Google accounts.
If you are a GSuite school, Google Meet is probably what you should be using. Google has dramatically stepped up its efforts to respond to issues and enhance the service over the past two weeks.
Microsoft Teams for Education
For Office 365 schools, you have Microsoft Teams available to you. The product is less streamlined than Zoom and Google Meet because it's an integrated part of the larger team chat application. That said, it works pretty well, especially on Windows computers.
Our guidance is that all class meetings should be recorded if possible. There are two reasons:
This allows teachers to post the lesson to an LMS for students who were unable to attend or need to review later
This provides a complete record of the meeting, in the case of any concerns or complaints
Recording a Zoom Meeting
With Zoom basic accounts, meeting organizers can record to their computers. There are two ways to do this:
Set Recording When the Meeting is Scheduled
This option allows you to have the meeting automatically record to your computer. The recording begins as soon as the host joins / starts the meeting.
Turn on Recording After the Meeting has Started
This is pretty simple but easy to forget. There's a button on the zoom meeting to start recording.
You can find your recordings in the Zoom desktop app under "Meetings" - Recorded
How to Store the Recordings
Obviously storage is a big issue with this many recordings.
If the recording is to be shared with the entire class, obviously it should be posted to the LMS. If there is an option for the LMS to host it, great. If not, you'll have to find a place to store it as described below
Set up a folder on your cloud storage provider (see below) for all teachers to drop content into. You can adjust settings for teachers to each have their own folder, or a departmental folder, but IT or school administration should be able to still access those recordings if needed
Once videos have been uploaded, they can be deleted
⚠️ Make sure videos have a standard naming scheme that includes the teacher's name or email address and the date of the session
Cloud Storage Providers
Obviously if you're using GSuite or Office 365, you have Google Drive or OneDrive available to you and you should use that. For both services, additional storage is cheap and readily available. You can provision it from the IT console of each service.
However, IF you are unable to set up a space for teachers to store their video recordings, please let Mark Bazin know. We have unlimited storage space on our Dropbox For Business plan, and we can provide a location to store videos for the next few months if needed.
Uploading is another issue. Given that Internet speeds are so tricky right now, the best option is to get things uploading in the evening. Let it run overnight and everything should have uploaded by morning. Back when Internet was dial-up, this is what we all used to do for downloads and it works just as well now.