Four “shocking yet useful” things you may not know about Zoom

Schools Using Zoom for Classes

Guest blogger: Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania

Zoom has officially taken over our classrooms, and 98% of our social interactions. To anyone who purchased stock in Zoom pre-COVID-19,  I applaud you.

By now, you likely have a pretty decent understanding of how Zoom works and the basic do’s and don’ts  — i.e. do mute yourself when you’re not speaking;  don’t leave your video on during your bathroom break.

But alas, there’s always more to learn, so here are four shocking and/or useful Zoom facts.

1. Attendee Attention Tracking

Raise your hand if you knew that meeting hosts (aka your supervisor or professor) have a sneaky little feature called Attendee Attention Tracking – I certainly didn’t.

Basically, the feature enables hosts to see when participants spend 30 seconds or longer on another window. So, if you’ve been ‘stealthily’ perusing Facebook during class, your professor probably knows.

2. Quick Unmute

There’s really nothing worse than scrambling to click the little microphone button in the corner of the screen to unmute yourself during your virtual cold call. To make your life easier, simply hold the spacebar on your computer’s keyboard to unmute yourself – just remember to put yourself back on mute once you’re finished.

3. Virtual Backgrounds

Some of us are lucky enough to have home offices or clean white walls, others of us have studio apartments and piles of laundry. If you’re too lazy to clean, conscious of your privacy, or simply just want to have a little fun, you should consider trying out Zoom’s virtual backgrounds. Some law schools have even uploaded their own backgrounds to make you feel right at home.

4. Beauty Filter

You may not be looking your absolute best while in quarantine – and who can really blame you – but Zoom has you covered should you want to at least appear put together for your classmates. By using the ‘Touch up my Appearance’ feature, your video will display with a soft-focus, which is supposedly meant to cover imperfections. Admittedly, I’ve never used it, so I’m not sure of the logistics behind getting it up and running, but there is a Zoom support page about it.

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