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Tips for making most out of 'Zoom University'

Editors at the Daily Targum using Zoom to connect. Zoom is used by professors and students to communicate with one another.  
Photo by Photo by Salma HQ | The Daily TargumEditors at the Daily Targum using Zoom to connect. Zoom is used by professors and students to communicate with one another.  

I’m sure many of you are taking your online classes on Zoom — or “Zoom University” as some say. Zoom is the video conferencing service most commonly used by students to connect with their professors and peers safely during the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Online classes on the surface may seem boring and mundane, students have come up with different ways to make their Zoom experience entertaining, amusing and comical in the comfort of their own homes. Here are the different ways you can make your Zoom experience fun and gain some valuable learning at the same time.

Create a comfortable space

Since you are now in the comfort of your own home, you have the freedom of choosing where you attend class. For most people, it’s their bedrooms. You can relax comfortably in your bed and pull up to class in pajamas without having to worry about getting ready for the day or looking presentable unless you prefer otherwise.

Another viable option is your outside porch or patio if you want some fresh air and sunlight. It is important to choose a spot where you won’t be interrupted by family members or roommates so that you can properly pay attention during class. You can also bring food. Now that “no eating” rules no longer apply, feel free to bring a snack to keep your attention and energy going.

Bring your pets

Many people, students and professors alike, have brought their pets to class, which is a pleasant experience for everyone. Your cat or dog could snuggle next to you while you’re in a lecture or discussion, making the educational experience less lonely.

As long as they’re not creating a nuisance, aside from the occasional pets and belly rubs, there’s nothing wrong with having your furry friends as your classmates. If your pets are being too loud, Zoom has the option to mute your audio so your dog won’t bark over a lecture. In these times, the inclusion of pets during class would be a delightful addition.

Change your background

If you’re bored of the blank wall of your bedroom or whatever room you’re in, students have thoroughly enjoyed the virtual background feature on Zoom. All you have to do is click the up arrow on the bottom tab next to “Stop Video” and select the “Change Virtual Background” option in the menu. You can either choose one of the default backgrounds or upload a photo of your own by clicking the plus icon across from “Choose Virtual Background.”

If a warning pops up saying your computer doesn’t support this function, click the box next to “I have a green screen” and it will allow you to add whichever background. You can enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, outer space or pretend you’re at the beach feeling the breeze on your skin and soaking up the sunlight. You can enhance the experience of tuning in to an online lecture with this simple feature and use your imagination to picture yourself anywhere you want to be.

Attending class online offers more opportunities to experiment with your surroundings and create the ideal setting. Although it may not translate to attending class in-person, it is the best current replacement. 

On Zoom, it's easy to communicate with your professors and peers with minimal complications. You can maximize comfort, hang out with your pets and use digital tools to change your background and make it more fun. 

As the generation that is most acquainted with technology and multitasking, use your skills to your advantage and make the best of it, all the while staying attentive to your professor and class procedure.