College 101: Zoom Classroom Etiquette for College Students

Don’t make these embarrassing mistakes during your Zoom college lecture. Learn Zoom classroom etiquette and you’ll thrive learning online in college.

2020 has changed the college classroom environment significantly.

Many students, for years, have enjoyed the flexibility of choosing whether they want to take their classes in-person, online, or in a hybrid format. Nowadays, online classes are more predominant.

As a result, college students are needing to be flexible and learn how to adapt to a 100% online learning environment.

One of the major players in online learning in college is Zoom or similar video conference software like Microsoft Teams or Collaborate Ultra.

Whichever video chat software your professor or university prefers, knowing how to utilize it properly will save you from embarrassment and allow you to maintain the respect from your classmates and professor that you deserve.

In today’s blog post we are talking all about zoom class etiquette for college students. I will be sharing 8 tips that will help you make the most of your online class lectures this semester and future semesters.

a student on an online video chat with an instructor

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What are the rules of Zoom?

Similar to the in-person learning environment, there are rules that should be followed at all times as an online learner (especially if you are taking synchronous classes).

The online etiquette that is set by your professors and the university is not there to scare you, but rather, ensure everyone is playing their part to keep the learning environment welcoming and respectful.

What’s the difference between synchronous and asynchronous classes?

Synchronous classes meet online via video conference at a certain time once or twice a week like a normal in-person college lecture. As a student, you are expected to attend and participate in each virtual class meeting.

Asynchronous classes do not have a specified meeting time and you are expected to complete your assignments at your own pace and comply with any set deadlines as specified in your college syllabus.

Zoom classroom etiquette– 8 simple rules to follow when attending online lectures via Zoom:

  • Be respectful to your classmates and professor
  • Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling when using the chat box feature
  • Speak or write clearly and concisely when asking a question or making a comment
  • Dress appropriately like you were in a face-to-face class–yes, please wear clothes!
  • Assume all video and audio is being recorded, so be careful about what you say or type
  • Always keep your video camera and microphone off unless asked to use them
  • Use your real name to identify you
  • Locate yourself in a quiet, well-lit room

Zoom etiquette for college students explained

Be respectful to your classmates and professor

The classroom environment in college is a lot more diverse than in lower grades.

Whenever your class meets online for it’s weekly or twice a week online lecture, you are virtually sitting in a class with students from different countries and backgrounds.

If you are not careful with how your word things (whether it be while speaking or writing in the chat feature on Zoom) you could potentially offend someone or make them uncomfortable.

It is best to always be thoughtful and respectful with what you write or speak just like you would if asking a question or making a comment during an in-person lecture.

It is even more important that you do not use profanity or cuss while speaking or writing. Those words will certainly leave people with a bad taste in their mouth and could escalate to further disciplinary action by your professor or university.

Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling when writing in the chat box

No one has the time or energy to decipher your question that doesn’t even have the word, “you,” spelled out.

Remember, when you are taking classes online and communicating with classmates or your professor via email or video conference call, you need to write similar to if you were writing a paper for class.

That means no chatspeak like, “u,” “brb, “lol,” or “g2g.” Always write in complete sentences and double checking your spelling before hitting submit.

Speak or write clearly and concisely when asking a question or making a comment

In addition to using proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, being able to ask a question or make a comment that’s clear to your professor and classmates is essential.

Again, no one has time to read and understand a wall of text or listen to you ramble only for you to get to the point after two minutes of speaking.

Your professor has limited time to present their materials to you while still trying to keep the classroom as engaging as possible, so try your best to think through how you want to word your question or make a comment before taking action.

Also, if you are a better writer than speaker, use that to your advantage and use the chat box feature rather than try to speak your question and get all tangled up in your words. I know I am certainly better at writing than speaking, so these online class lectures are helping me thrive as an introvert.

If you have a rather extensive question, it may be best to ask it via email after class or see if your professor could stick around on the video conference call after class is over.

I know in my graduate school classes and the graduate class I am a teaching assistant for, my professors are more than happy to stay 5-10 minutes after the synchronous session to answer student questions.

Wear clothes! Dress appropriately like you were in a face-to-face class

Taking online classes in college is great because you get to do it all from the comfort of your home or dorm. But even though it’s online, you still need to dress appropriately, especially if you have an online class meeting.

And no, you don’t have to dress up like you’re going to a job interview, but put in a little more effort in than wearing a sports bra. Instead wear a t-shirt and leggings or jeans, if that’s the least you can do.

Your choice of outfit when you go to class can influence your self-perception and as a result influence your behavior. Dressing in what you would normally wear to a face-to-face class can also help you stay more focused while in your online class meeting.

Think about it, if you wore pajamas to class, either online or in-person, you would feel lazier because you automatically associate pajamas with nighttime or bedtime.

However, if you wore jeans and a casual blouse, you would feel more put together and ready to take on what lies ahead because you associate wearing jeans and a casual blouse with daytime wear and productivity. Just a little food for thought for you!

You also never know when your professor may want you to have your video camera on for the class lecture or your cat decides to walk all over your computer and accidentally turns on your webcam, so being dressed appropriately for class will help eliminate any potential embarrassment.

Assume all video and audio is being recorded, so be careful about what you say or type

Normally on video conference calls you will know that it is being recorded because the software will display an on-screen message saying that the video and chatbox is being recorded.

Your professor may also state that they are recording the lecture, so you know for sure that it is being recorded. Even if your online class lectures over Zoom are not being recorded, it is important that you still pretend like it is.

If you pretend that everything is being recorded you are more likely to be more cautious when responding to classmates or speaking to your professor.

And remember everything that you say or write on a video conference call that is recorded can be used as evidence against you if you were being inappropriate during the class lecture or there is suspicion in regards to your academic integrity.

Always keep your video camera and microphone off unless asked to use them

Doing an online class lecture is difficult on a technical level.

Some classes can have more than 30 students in them and if every student entered the Zoom lecture with their microphone and camera on, it could cause serious connectivity problems on your end and especially your professor’s end.

To save on bandwidth, or to preserve the quality of the connection of the video conference call and improve your experience and the experience of your classmates, it is best to keep your microphone and web camera off unless you are prompted to use either of them by your professor.

If you are unsure on how to turn off your camera or microphone, Zoom has a guide on how to turn off your video or microphone, which you can access by clicking here. Once you go to the article make sure to click on the device you are using for Zoom to get the instructions that belong to your device.

Use your real name to identify you

When using Zoom in college, you have to remember that you are in a semi-professional environment.

Joining a Zoom online lecture is not the same as joining in a Google Hangouts with your BFFs and using the nicknames you have for each other to identify yourselves with.

There have also been some cases where students have changed their Zoom name from their real name like, “Joe,” to “Connecting…,” which as funny and as creative as that may be, is inappropriate and disrespectful to the online learning environment.

Your professor and classmates have set aside the time in their day to be engaged and interact with one another.

Having a single classmate who doesn’t respect the time of others by entering the Zoom call with an inappropriate name or “funny” name can disrupt the online learning environment for everyone and potentially lead to disciplinary action for you if caught.

Simply, just use your real name or the name you go by in real life and keep the online class lecture G-rated.

Locate yourself in a quiet, well-lit room

Even if you are not using your microphone or web camera during your Zoom college lecture, it is just a good habit to always go to a productive space when participating in your synchronous class lecture.

That way if you are ever prompted to speak or turn on your webcam you don’t have to worry about other students or your professor seeing how messy your house is or hearing your roommates entering your college dorm.

I highly recommend going into a room where you can sit with a blank wall behind you and it is well-lit, so bring a lamp with you if needed.

I’d also recommend having earphones with a microphone attached so external noises outside of your control–like your dog barking in the background–can not be picked up as easily.

If you are in need of earphones with a microphone for your Zoom lectures, I would recommend the white ones you receive when you purchase an iPhone, they’re fantastic and commonly used by many students and professors.

If you want a Bluetooth option, I love these ones from Amazon. I use them for working out too.

I also would avoid going outside to participate in your online college lecture.

Wind can easily be picked up on your microphone and who knows how strong the internet connection is outside on your balcony versus at your desk in your college apartment. So play it safe, stay inside.

Concluding thoughts on Zoom classroom etiquette for college students

Attending online Zoom lectures in college can be just as informative and engaging as in-person class lectures. Learning and following basic Zoom classroom etiquette can help you get the most out of your online learning experience.

By following these guidelines you are also keeping the online learning environment safe and welcoming for your classmates and professor.

Related posts to online learning in college

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Thanks for reading about Zoom etiquette for students in college.

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