HD video now enabled in Zoom for 1:1 meetings

This is a quick one for your Tuesday Remote Tools Update.

HD video is now available in 1-on-1 Zoom meetings. Huzzah! Now you can see your classmates and coworkers in better, crisper quality.

Note: This only applies to 1-on-1 meetings for the time being. To preserve bandwidth in light of the COVID-19 situation, Zoom is restricting full and standard HD.

Please be sure to use the desktop application in order to take advantage of HD during your Zoom meetings.

Further reading: more of the nuts and bolts about HD video and prerequisites on Zoom’s support blog.

Streaming your meetings to Facebook Live

Sometimes, you need to get information and content to a large audience. Webex Events and Zoom Webinars are available for big groups, but there are only so many licenses available for use at a time. So, what do you do?

In Webex and Zoom, you have the capability to stream your meetings to Facebook Live. This will give you a little more leeway to have as many viewers as you want. There are some differences, however. Please see the following support articles for more information on streaming events to your University-affiliated Facebook page.

Important note: It is highly recommended that if you need to stream your meeting or event to Facebook Live, you should use a verified and official institutional Facebook page.

Current issue: Calling in to Zoom Webinars is disabled for attendees

Attendee calling in to Zoom Webinars doesn’t work properly at the moment, so they have disabled that function.

In the meantime, attendees may connect to Webinar audio through the Zoom desktop client, web client, or mobile app. Panelists are unaffected; this is only for attendees.

You can read more about this on Zoom’s status page.

They say they are hoping to turn on this capability again in the next few weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Quick tip: Check for updates!

As with any technology, it’s important to make sure your video conferencing apps are up to date. Not only does this increase your security posture (a good thing!), but it ensures you receive all of the cool new features that are rolled out by companies like Zoom, Cisco, and Google.

Make sure your application is never more than a month out of date!

Select the links below to visit the respective support sites for information on how to update your desktop applications.

As always, visit our dashboard at MiamiOH.edu/ITStatus for up-to-date status information on your favorite Miami applications.

Webex updates: August 2020

A few new things came down the pipeline for Webex last month. Here’s a quick rundown:

Security enhancements

Cisco updated the encryption on the back end of Webex to create a more secure environment. This provides increased protection for meetings.

Virtual backgrounds

Your favorite feature in Zoom is now available in Webex, too!

Music mode

Play music during your event or meeting! Cisco says it best:

You can now play music during your meeting and transmit the richness of melodies to all participants. This is especially important when delivering a virtual concert or music lessons over Webex. To enable this feature, simply press Ctrl+Shift+M to turn on Music Mode or click on “audio” on the menu bar and check “music mode.” Sit back, relax and enjoy!

–Connie Tang, Cisco Webex blog

Setting preferences

Some defaults have changed. For instance, grid mode is now the default view during meetings (in IT Services, we like to call these Hollywood Squares or the Brady Bunch view). You can still change your view to focus on who is actively speaking, if that is your preference.

Read about all these updates and more on the Cisco Webex blog site.

A person sitting at a table with a laptop. The person is wearing a watch and their hands are poised over the keyboard.

Zoom security: Keep uninvited guests out of your meetings

It has become apparent over the last seven months that video conferencing tools like Zoom and Webex have become as much a part of our daily lives as sleeping and eating. We have also discovered that they require some safety measures, similar to locking your doors when you leave your house.

Many of the same security recommendations apply to Zoom as you are used to for other online applications. In order to keep uninvited guests from disrupting class gatherings and meetings, we have gathered some tips to keep in mind for Zooming safely and responsibly.

Read more in IT News.

Zoom tip: Use custom virtual backgrounds

One of the cool features of Zoom meetings (and, as of the September updates, Webex Meetings) is the ability to use your own virtual background. Instead of the office, living room, bedroom, or kitchen where you find yourself conducting business and classwork, you can set it so that other participants see you sitting on a beach or in the woods.

Miami-branded custom virtual backgrounds are also available. These are automatically uploaded to your Miami-affiliated Zoom account, but they can also be found on the alumni website.

Read more about uploading, using, and customizing your own virtual background at the Zoom support site.

Security Defaults in Zoom to Change

As you are probably aware, this summer Miami added Zoom to our group of collaboration tools. It was added to go along with Webex and Google Meet. As a result, we wanted to make sure everyone has a good understanding of the security defaults that are in place. To learn more about the security defaults associated with Webex, please visit the IT News article.

New security measures

After reviewing our current security settings, Miami will be instituting several global changes for Zoom to better align with industry best practices. We are making this change in advance of Zoom’s forcing this in the near future. These updates will go into effect on Monday, August 31, at 7:00 am and are outlined below.

All Zoom meetings will require a passcode. Passcodes are created automatically by Zoom and sent to all registered participants via email and the calendar invitation. If an invited Miami user is signed into Zoom they will NOT need to manually enter the passcode. Only non-Miami invited guests will need to enter it.

Current security settings

There are some security features that have already been enabled.

  1. Zoom sessions in Canvas. Sessions/meetings that have been scheduled through Canvas already have the password requirement built in, so they will not have to be recreated after the security updates have been initiated.
  2. Restrict unauthorized users for personal rooms. Your Zoom Personal Room is your own static virtual conference space that you can use for meetings at any time. Attendees that are signed into Zoom will be allowed into unlocked personal rooms and attendees who have not logged in must wait in the lobby until the host manually admits them. The host sees a list of who is waiting and can choose who to admit.

What to do with existing meetings

The new global changes will only affect meetings scheduled after 7:00 am on Monday, August 31. If you have sessions that have already been scheduled, IT Services and eLearning Miami strongly recommend that after the changes are made on August xx, you cancel the scheduled sessions and recreate them to take advantage of the updated security protocols.

The exception to this are sessions that have been scheduled through Canvas. These meetings/classes already have the passcode requirement built in.

We believe these changes should not cause too much of a disruption and are necessary to enhance the safety and security of all Miami Zoom users, specifically to curtail video conferencing attacks. For more information about using Zoom at Miami, please visit MiamiOH.edu/Zoom.

Webex update: Breakout sessions!

You already know that you can do breakout sessions in Zoom. Webex is following suit with its latest release! According to the Webex help site:

Breakout sessions are smaller groups that are split off from the main Webex meeting. They allow a subset of meeting participants to collaborate and share ideas over audio and video. Use breakout sessions for workshops, classrooms, or for when you need a moment to talk privately with a few participants, outside of the main meeting.

This is part of the updates coming to Webex in September. There will be even more upgrades as well, including larger audio/video preview panels, more controls within the panel of the call itself, and additional virtual background images.

Check out all the cool new or improved features.

Raise your hand if you’re here! Taking attendance in Zoom

Here are some quick tips for taking attendance in a Zoom meeting.

  1. Click Reports and then choose Usage. Zoom: Reports.
  2. Check that the date range at the top includes the session for which you want to take attendance. Then click on the Participants link for the session.
  3. Review the report.
  4. Click Export.
  5. An Excel file will download to your computer.

A quick note: You have to be in the web browser at MiamiOH.zoom.us in order to take attendance in Zoom this way.