Updated Zoom Integration

Zoom has released an updated integration which is now available in Canvas. The new integration can be added to your course navigation just as previously following the How to Integrate Zoom help guide. Once added, your Canvas Zoom will look like the image below:

the new Canvas integration provides direct student access to Cloud Recordings


Zoom now displays your Class Meetings by default, rather than your full Meetings list. This change also affects co-Teachers and TAs in the course, who will now be able to see (and join) class meetings created by other instructors.

You can access your complete list of Zoom Meetings by clicking on “All My Zoom Meetings/Recordings” (1). You can also schedule a meeting for your class using the “Schedule a New Meeting” (2) button, just as in the previous Zoom integration.

The newly added Cloud Recording Tab (3) enables both you and your students to see a list of all cloud-recorded meetings for your course. You no longer need to email out your recording link for students to be able to find the class recordings. Finally, Zoom has added a feature for importing already-created meetings into a specific course (4). A short tutorial is available on the Import an Existing Meeting help guide.

Active Learning on Zoom

The Biggio Center has long supported faculty implementing active learning into their courses. But how does one continue active learning with the switch to remote instruction? Every semester Dr. Grinberg implements an active learning game called Reacting to the Past in her World Literature course. “It’s a role-playing game where students have assigned character roles, often historical figures, and must communicate and collaborate to push their character’s agenda forward. It has been repeatedly shown that these games promote engagement with big ideas and improve intellectual and academic skills,” explained Dr. Grinberg.

Once Auburn University transitioned to remote instruction, Dr. Grinberg began wondering how to adapt the highly interactive activity to the Zoom platform. Instead of a full-blown game, which can take several weeks to organize, her class adopted a mini game which only required a week’s worth of work – one session about the background and another session for the actual game.

Using Miguel de Cervantes’s “The Two Damsels”, the students had to put together a mock trial for their Reacting to the Past assignment. Students had to prosecute and/or defend Marco Antonio, an “almost polygamous” young knight who leaves his “wife and betrothed” behind. “Students love this activity in the face-to-face environment. They say it’s the most interactive thing we do all semester and is a different way to study the text while still allowing them to fully grasp the concept.”

Dr. Grinberg asked students to choose their character and grouped them in Canvas so they could receive specific instructions for their preparation. Students were then tasked with a writing assignment in accordance with their character (the main characters prepared their opening statements, the witnesses wrote depositions, the lawyers and their assistants wrote a series of questions, etc.) and uploaded the document to Canvas a day before the trial.

“Up to this point, the activities would be somewhat similar to what I requested past students to do. This time though, we met in our virtual classroom and I asked the students to change their name to their character’s name.” As the Game Master, Dr. Grinberg used the chatroom to send private messages to the players, reminding them of specific passages or the importance of calling certain witnesses to the stand.

After the attorneys and main characters presented their claims and defenses, the class used the breakout rooms to prepare their closing arguments. The closing statements were followed by a vote, using the chat reactions “yes” or “no” feature.

Dr. Grinberg reflected on the feedback her students provided after the activity saying, “The students said they welcomed the break from the ‘reading and reviewing’ format we had been following since we started working through Zoom.” Many students remarked that it must be a lively activity in the classroom environment, but they did “okay for our conditions”. “Indeed “our conditions” were not optimal, but it was a good way of making all participants think a little deeper. We all learned a lot and the students provided me with some wonderful ideas I can apply next semester.”

Dr. Yordy

Dr. Yordy started noticing an interesting trend during her Zoom lectures with her nursing students – lots of cats and dogs in the background. “I thought it would be fun to have my dog, Daisy, “host” a Zoom session and invited my students to join with their pets as well. It was a great way to relieve stress and take our minds off the current situation.”

Dr. Yordy’s research focuses on the health and wellness associated with the human-animal bond as it relates to students in the K-12 and higher education settings. Daisy is part of the CAREing Paws program established in the School of Nursing 10+ years ago and Dr. Yordy serves as her handler.

“When we were on-campus, students were always visiting the dogs so I felt they might be missing that interaction. Having the dogs on campus has been great because it allows students to interact with faculty without pressure. Students will often come by to play with the dogs (in the office next to mine) and then ask me something like ‘Dr. Yordy, can you talk to me about the patho of…’ Their visit to my office seemed informal, but really, they needed answers and were worried to come by.”

Just like they do outside her office, eventually the students got sidetracked on the Zoom call and the dogs fell asleep. Dr. Yordy had an open discussion with her students about class stress, bad at-home haircuts, and living back home with their parents.

“We know the human-animal bond is a real thing. There’s been lots of studies and the research out there continues to grow. Some benefits of this bond include health and well-being, companionship, walking/exercise, and mental wellness.”

The nursing program is one of Auburn’s most rigorous. Nursing classes are a segway into a career where you will be saving lives. The importance of class content can be stressful because it affects others and not just the students. In addition to the hard coursework, students also participate in clinicals in various hospital settings working hand-in-hand with professional nurses and physicians. “So much pressure is put on nursing students because whatever they are doing in the classroom they have to quickly apply to real-world scenarios,” Dr. Yordy noted.

Because of the simulations and clinicals often employed in coursework, nursing is an area with unique challenges related to switching to remote instruction. However, the School of Nursing’s simulation team was quick and developed and recorded virtual simulations to help fill the void of clinical time.

“Nursing is a field that must be quick to combat any kind of change. We know that things can change in an instant and it was amazing to see how quickly we adapted to the switch to remote instruction.”

Anne Gorden

When Auburn University announced a new alternate operations model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anne Gorden had to quickly find another way for her PhD students to defend their dissertations.

“We knew we would use Zoom, but we still had a number of challenges to overcome. We started by touching base with the Graduate School and other institutions and doing some research to identify common problems with this approach.”

After their initial research and planning, things started falling into place. Dr. Gorden served as the Zoom host and appointed the student defending as co-host. This allowed the student to share materials during their presentation which they did using PowerPoint and a Wacom tablet. Dr. Gorden also implemented a waiting room so that the host could approve everyone coming in to watch the defense.

“I met with my student before their defense to practice and ease their anxiety about using this new medium. I suggested presenting on a solid-colored background and using a Wacom tablet since many chemistry principles are easier to explain when you draw them. My student is now being contacted by other PhD candidates to get pointers.”

On defense day, Dr. Gorden reminded everyone to turn off their video (committee members kept their video on), mute their audio, and not use the chat feature unless they were having technical issues. The student then gave their presentation while Dr. Gorden monitored the chat in case technical issues came up. After the presentation, the host unmuted everyone so they could applaud.

Following the presentation, the committee moved into a breakout room to discuss while other viewers stayed in the main room to chat with the student. Following the committee meeting, the committee returned to the main room, asked others to sign off, and began the Q&A portion. During the Q&A, the host locked the room to keep people from coming in and out.

“This unconventional process was a little anxiety provoking at first for the student and me, but like with a lot of things, you get used to it and do it.”

Securing Your Remote Teaching

Higher education and K-12 have moved to remote instruction. This means new threats from bad actors hoping to take advantage of these possibly new and unfamiliar technologies. To help protect you and your students, we’ve compiled a few general suggestions you can implement now in your remote course. We’ve also included information on the new increased security in Zoom, which now enabled host-only sharing and waiting rooms by default.

Secure Your Zoom Calls

Zoom has recently tightened security by enabling three new features: the Security panel for meeting hosts and Waiting Room and Cloud Recording Passwords for participants.

Now by default in a meeting, only the Host is able to share their screen. You may change this setting at any time in the meeting by clicking "Security" and then clicking "Enable Waiting Room" to remove the check mark. Once the check is removed, the waiting room is no longer active.

If you prefer to return to the previous default setting, you can change this from your Zoom account directly on the Zoom Settings Page adjust your participant screen share.


Cloud Recording Password Restriction

Cloud Recordings can now optionally be protected by a randomly-generated password. By default this is disabled, but you may turn on this setting in your Zoom account to add a password to each Zoom recording.

From the Auburn Zoom website choose "Settings" (1) to be taken to the settings page. From the top of the page, click the Recording (2) tab and scroll down on the page until you see the "Require password to access shared cloud recordings" (3) option. Click the button to the right of this option to turn the slider from gray (off) to blue (on), this will ensure your future recordings will be password protected.


Waiting Rooms and User Authentication

Meetings created in Zoom will have "waiting room" enabled by default. You can change this setting, highlighted in orange, while scheduling your meeting. You also have the option, highlighted in blue, to allow only authenticated users to join. This will require participants to login using their Auburn credentials, and will prevent any non-Auburn participants from joining. You may change this option in the drop-down menu from "Auburn University" to "Sign in to Zoom" if you would like to allow non-Auburn participants.

During your meeting, to admit participants, choose "Manage Participants"

You can admit individuals, deny admission, or admit all. Verify the individuals and choose "admit" to allow them to join your meeting.


Restricting Screen Sharing

By default, Zoom will now restrict meetings to only allow the host to share their screen. If you would like students to present materials, you can adjust this setting during the meeting.

Click "Security" to open the menu, then click "Share Screen", a check mark will appear, and participants will now be able to share their screens.

Muting and Removing Participants

To avoid disruptions during parts of your Zoom call, you can optionally Mute All Participants and prevent them from unmuting their microphones. This will prevent accidental disruptions until the participants are unmuted.

If an individual is being disruptive, has accidentally left a microphone open, or is otherwise creating issues with the call, you can optionally mute that person. Muting will silence their microphone - or take it a step further for disruptive students by using "move to waiting room" or "remove" to drop them from the call entirely. More information is available at the Manage Participants Guide

Locking the Meeting

Once a Zoom meeting has launched, and your students have joined, you can prevent disruptions to the meeting by locking the session. Please note this will prevent any new participants from joining, even if they have the meeting password.

To lock the meeting, click "Security", then click "Lock the Meeting" - a check mark will appear indicating the meeting is now locked.

Protect Your Computer

We have always needed to ensure that our computers are secured, but now this has become even more important. Key ways to secure your computers and the information we need to protect (e.g., student records) include multi-factor authentication using DUO, updating our computers and software applications to protect against hackers, and remaining alert of suspicious emails and other digital communications.

Double Check Duo

You will want to make sure you have your Duo authentication enabled and set to your current phone number or mobile device. You can find out more about updating your Duo settings at duo.auburn.edu.  

Make Sure You Have Anti-Virus Software

Make sure your computer is running an up-to-date anti-virus software. For your work computer, you will want to contact your department IT provider, they will ensure that your machine has all required university security software. For home computers, a to verify your anti-virus software.  

Update Your Web Browser

Update your web browser to the latest version. Updating your browser ensures you are protected against new exploits and security vulnerabilities. We recommend using Firefox or Chrome for best compatibility and security.

Check for System Updates

Beware of Phishing and Cybersecurity Threats

Review the Phishing Awareness guidelines from OIT. Be on the lookout for emails from non-Auburn addresses, suspicious requests, and fake password reset emails. More helpful tips on protecting your computer online are available at the the OIT Cybersecurity Page.

Integrate Panopto with Canvas


If you are using Panopto with Canvas, we recommend enabling the Panopto integration and using the class folder to upload your videos. By integrating Panopto with Canvas and putting your videos into a course folder, you will put your video content behind the Canvas login. If you would like your students to turn in work using Panopto, you can create a Class Folder for student uploads.

Use Remote Proctoring for Exams

Proctoring Exams

With courses moving to remote instruction, how can we offer our exams remotely while still ensuring a fair and secure testing environment? An option is to make use of remote proctoring. During the remote instruction period, the cost of two platforms, HonorLock and ProctorU, is being covered by the university. Any instructor can utilize HonorLock and ProctorU proctoring to ensure exam security.


Connect to the VPN

If you will need to connect remotely to your on-campus computer, or access certain applications in Banner, you may need to securely connect to the Auburn network using the VPN.

Help for getting started and installing the Cisco VPN client is available at the OIT VPN help page. Your department IT, as well as the IT Service Desk, are available if you need any assistance.

Vanessa dos Reis Falcao

Dr. Falcao’s spring break looked a little different this year. She spent her last two days of break learning to use Zoom and Panopto and researching the advantages and disadvantages between asynchronous and synchronous lecture in preparation to switch to remote instruction for her large lecture general and organic chemistry classes.

“I chose live lecture to help my students keep a schedule and stay organized right now. Live delivery also allows students to ask questions in real time.”

While she kept the live delivery component of her lectures, she tweaked her iClicker questions from in-class participation points to quizzes done outside of class instead. Her Learning Assistants (LA’s) now hold virtual office hours and create videos using Panopto to explain the answers to her students.

“Through this process I’ve learned that it’s a lot of work to do an online class, but I’m convinced I want to do it again. Once we’re back to campus, I want to try “flipping my classroom” and record lectures and put them online and use class time to do problems.”

Rodrigo Sardinas

Dr. Sardinas was primed for remote instruction from the get-go. A faculty member in the department of computer science, Dr. Sardinas already utilized Canvas’ remotely accessible features. “All of my classes are 100% in Canvas, so the transition hasn’t been that bad. The only thing that has changed is not going to class anymore.”

Dr. Sardinas teaches an intro to cloud computing and programming languages class. He started using Zoom to deliver lectures with the goal of trying to emulate the classroom environment as much as possible. “I still use PowerPoint for my presentations and now I use a Wacom tablet with Microsoft Whiteboard to write.”

Dr. Sardinas likes Zoom because it records everything he sees during a lecture (including the chat) and gives students the option to manually record locally on their computer since Zoom recordings can take some time to turn around right now.

“Overall my experience has been good. Class interaction has gone up. Zoom helps facilitate that because students are more willing to type things in chat. I’m going to continue using Zoom even after we’re back in the classroom. It will allow me to interact with my remote students more.”