CTL Blog

Inclusive Zoom Meetings: The List

June 02, 2021 | 2 Minute Read

This guest post is by Celine Greene, Senior Instructional Technologist in the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Zoom has proven time and time again how beneficial a platform it is as a form of online synchronous communication. But what can we do to make it a better form of communication? How can we manage our meetings to allow more flexibility and more choice for our participants? How can we accommodate a wider audience and reduce potential frustrations and barriers before they are encountered? We can be inclusive and proactive hosts by taking small steps in our meetings' setup and facilitation.

This post is the first in a series on "Inclusive Zoom Meetings." Here I summarize recommended guidelines to build and facilitate an inclusive Zoom meeting. Each of these steps will be expanded upon, including the rationale, as the series continues.

The Tech Before the Meeting: Meeting Settings

This section refers to the Zoom meeting settings that should be made prior to the scheduled meeting time. For assistance with verifying or changing your Zoom meeting's setup, see the Zoom Help Center. In a JHU Enterprise account, some settings will be predetermined or locked by your account type. For questions about a locked setting in a University account, see Johns Hopkins Zoom FAQ or contact zoom@jhu.edu.

  • Allow participants to join with telephone and computer audio.
  • Allow participants to rename themselves.
  • Mute all participants when they join a meeting, and do not start meetings with the participants video on.
  • Turn on closed captioning and enable live transcription.
  • Secure your meeting by opting to turn on the waiting room, require a passcode when scheduling new meetings, and don't use a Personal Meeting ID (PMI) for public meetings.

Preparation Beyond the Tech

  • Distribute an accessible agenda and supporting resources.
  • Communicate expectations.
  • Remove or reduce environmental distractions.

The Tech During the Meeting

  • Set your "in meeting" video settings to always display participant names on their videos.
  • Record the meeting so it can be shared along with an accurate transcript or captions.
  • Select the option to enable auto-transcription.
  • If non-presenters do not mute themselves, mute them when appropriate.
  • Share files through the Zoom chat panel.

Facilitating the Meeting

  • Welcome everyone and state any ground rules.
  • Address participants by their preferred names.
  • Ask that only one person speak at a time, and that anyone not speaking mute themselves.
  • Encourage, but do not require, turning on video.
  • Observe participation.
  • Be a proactive moderator.
  • Foster conversation.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Announce activities and shifts in display.
  • Present in an accessible manner.
  • Be flexible.
  • Follow up after the meeting, asking for feedback.

To Be Continued

As you can see, there's lots to consider in making a Zoom meeting inclusive. You may even want to bookmark this post so you can refer back to it until these practices become second nature! But more importantly, I encourage you to continue reading the other blog posts in this series. You will learn the rationale behind each suggestion in this list, including how putting each in practice is conducive to an inclusive online meeting.