Canvas @ Yale

Alternative Strategies While Teaching Through Zoom

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This article has strategies for making the most of teaching through Zoom that are not explicit Zoom settings, but rather ways of utilizing set-ups and other applications to enhance the usage of Zoom. As additional ideas are generated, we will update this article.

Last updated: July 13, 2022

Table of Contents

This article will address the following information:

Modify your PowerPoint Presentation Mode for Zoom

To have your PowerPoint presentation be in presenter mode, but not take over your entire screen during a zoom meeting:

  1. Open your presentation and go to the "Slide Show" tab.
  2. Click the "Set Up Slide Show" button.
  3. Modify the "Show Type" to be “Browsed by Individual (window).” 

Make a DIY Overhead Camera

This tutorial will guide you through how to set up an Overhead Camera using materials you already have. This option allows you to write like you would on a blackboard, demonstrate objects or procedures, or broadcast images or books like you would on a document camera. Keep in mind, there are many ways to achieve the same goal.

If you have questions, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Overhead Camera.”  

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Find household items to stack such as books, board games, pots and pans, shoe boxes, etc. Gather enough items to get to the right height which is roughly 12-18 inches high from your tabletop.
  • Collect the items you will want to project for your lesson such as blank paper, printed sheets, books, objects, writing utensils, etc.
    • Use a marker if you plan to write! Writing with a pen or pencil tends to be difficult to read in a video.

Step 2: Set Up the Overhead Base

  1. Create your base by stacking items for maximum balance, make sure the base is sturdy. 
    1. Set up your base to the left or right of where you would like to project your items. 
  2. When placing your smartphone on the base, tilt your camera deliberately to the side so your camera’s perspective matches. Otherwise, the video will be sideways. 
  3. Extend your smartphone from the base as far as you can. You can either place a weight on the bottom half of your smartphone or balance your smartphone on a baking rack on top of the base with a counterweight. 
    1. A baking rack allows you to extend the smartphone out further from the base. A toaster oven rack is great for this! 
  4. Adjust the set up for lighting to avoid shadows from windows or overhead lighting.  
Stack of books on a table with an arrow pointing between the top two books with a caption that says "Put phone inbetween books, camera down."

Step 3: Record / Share the Video

Select one of the two options for how you want to record / share your video with students.

Option 1: Pre-Recording

  1. Use the video recording function on your smartphone's camera and record.
    1. Storage may be an issue so make sure you have enough space and keep the videos short. 
  2. Follow the instructions on uploading your video to the Media Library for students to access and view.

Option 2: Streaming Live on Zoom

  1. Make sure the Zoom app is downloaded on your smartphone (iOS or Android). 
  2. Launch the Zoom Meeting on a computer to manage the meeting and easily operate all your zoom controls.  
  3. Turn your audio OFF on your computer (both microphone and speakers) before launching the meeting on your Smartphone camera.
    1. If Zoom picks up audio from two devices in close proximity it will generate a feedback loop. 
  4. When you are ready to share your overhead camera, join the meeting on your smartphone.
    1. Do not sign into your Yale Zoom account on your phone to avoid ending the meeting on your computer. 
  5. You may now want to switch the primary audio to be coming from your computer instead of from your phone for quality,  so also turn OFF the microphone and speaker on your phone and turn the volume all the way down as well to avoid hearing an echo when you unmute yourself from your computer.
  6. On your computer, “Spotlight” the overhead camera so it is the primary view for you, your participants, and on the recording.   
  7. If recording, start recording from your computer.
Overhead camera view of a hand writing in a notebook with a caption that says "Maybe use marker instead."

For more help with Zoom and the Media Library, please contact [email protected].

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