Setting up ZOOM videoconferencing

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ZOOM is a videoconferencing system used by St. Margaret’s and the Diocese of San Diego. It allows people who can’t be physically present for a meeting to communicate by video, or my voice only, if preferred. It does require some setup, but once that’s done, it’s really easy to use. ZOOM will run on your computer, your tablet, or your phone, with or without video.

The most critical piece of using ZOOM is setting it up on your preferred device(s) BEFORE a planned meeting, and testing it ahead of time. If you do, success is almost assured. If you don’t, failure is almost assured. Here’s how to get set up:

OPTION 1: You can participate by voice (phone, no video) only, if you prefer. You don’t need a ZOOM account or any advance preparation. When a ZOOM meeting is scheduled, the meeting organizer will send you an email that includes a telephone number for you to call and a Meeting ID for you to enter. This is the simplest way to participate, but you won’t have video.

OPTION 2: You can participate by video conference. You MUST set this up in advance, and test it.

IMPORTANT 1: If at all possible, use headphones or earbuds. Doing that instead of having your phone/tablet/PC speaker running DRAMATICALLY improves the quality of the sound for everyone else. In fact, while you can get away with not using headphones on a computer, it’s virtually impossible for the call to function if you call in from a phone or tablet and are using the phone/tablet speakers. In that case, you MUST use headphones or earbuds.

IMPORTANT 2: Set up your ZOOM account, test your PC/tablet/phone, and be ready WELL BEFORE your first ZOOM meeting. Setup only happens once. After that, it’s simple to join any ZOOM meeting. Note: Even if you intend to use your phone or tablet for video conferencing, it’s much easier to set up your account and get yourself going first on a computer. To set up an account:

Browse to https://ZOOM.us/. In the upper right, find the “Sign Up, It’s Free” button and click it. Follow the prompts to make a user account for yourself. Make a note of the email and password you specify when you create your account. You don’t need a paid account, and you don’t need a “ZOOM Room” or any other options. If you’re comfortable answering all the detailed questions they’ll ask, go ahead. If not, just accept the defaults, and you’ll be fine.

If you really want to get ahead of the game, once you’ve set up your account, browse to https://ZOOM.us/download and download and install the ZOOM Client for Meetings. It’s a small application that makes it easy to start or join a meeting.

If you intend to use your phone or tablet for video conferencing, download and install the ZOOM Cloud Meetings app, and use the same email and password you used to set up the account to get the app up and running. Once you’re set up, if you haven’t already used ZOOM, contact the meeting organizer WELL AHEAD of the scheduled meeting, and schedule a quick test to make sure everything is running correctly.

To join a ZOOM video conference, click the link in the email meeting invitation you receive from the meeting organizer.

That’s it!