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Currently many of my students have shaky connections and I am unable to get more than one student to share their screen (or turn cameras on) simultaneously. But even if they could, there is no feature in zoom that makes this a requirement for students. Of course forcing screenshare/camera is a violation of privacy, but there could be a feature for teachers (zoom Hosts) to select one of these checkboxes for a meeting:
"[x] require all students share screen with host", (that is, only host/teacher can see screenshare feed of student)
"[x] require camera on - show teacher only" (that is, only host/teacher can see camera feed of student)
What does "require" mean? I suggest that if a student turns off the required feed (camera or screenshare, depending on which box was checked), they are automatically moved to the waiting room. This is the online equivalent of stepping outside a real classroom if you have to take an urgent call or go to the bathroom. What we are missing as teachers is this simple fact from in-person classrooms: when students are in class, the teacher can see their face and their desk (what they are working on). The only way for them to avoid that is to leave the classroom, which most teachers allow anyway (usually for bathroom breaks). This zoom feature would create the online equivalent of that: if a student turns off the feed (camera or screen, depending on which checkbox the teacher selected), they essentially make the choice to step out of the class.
The goal here seems to be invasive, but it doesn't have to be - depending on how this feature is implemented. Teachers want to be able to see more or less what the students are doing. But a student reserves the right to take a break from being watched. It is then up to the teachers' policy to allow (or not allow) students to step outside for certain amounts of time if they need a break or privacy (a teacher might set a policy of only 3 breaks per class of no more than 10m total, for example). Also, texting from the waiting room to the host/teacher would have to be enabled so that the student can say "I am ready to come back" - sort of like knocking on a classroom door.
Another critical component of implementing this feature for classes with poor internet connection would be that the screensharing/camera feed from students with low refresh rate and resolution. That is, the many camera/screenshare feeds coming in from all the students to the teacher would have to be low bandwidth.
Maybe the details of this feature request are not ideal, so I'd love to hear suggestions on how to make this work well. For me and my colleagues, this kind of feature is the number one most lacking in zoom today.
Hi @mathpotato ,
Greatly appreciate you openly sharing this feedback. To get a product or feature feedback in front of the Zoom development team, I encourage you to visit and submit on the Zoom Feedback page. This will help get your suggestions directly in front of the appropriate team.
In the meantime, we welcome this community to be a collaborative places for our users to exchange ideas and share stories on their use of current functionality. You never know, a fellow Zoom user might have a helpful workaround solution! 🤓
Hi @jamalnuman ,
Within this community forum, you can add an image to include within your discussion and/or reply. That would be how you could add a screenshot. However, please be mindful of our Zoom Community Terms and Guidelines in refraining from exposing any personally identifiable information within your image.
As for the Zoom feedback form, my team does not own that site. However, I am happy to relay that information to the relevant team for improvement on functionality 🙂.
@mathpotato I think this is a great feature request. Thank you for sharing!
Regarding your first suggestion about requiring the students to turn their video on where only the host can see it: we already have this feature. It's called "Focus Mode." You should be able to enable it in your meeting under the "More" tab in the bottom right.
Hi thanks for your reply. Focus mode is a useful feature, but it doesn't provide the online equivalent of a real classroom in the following sense: Students can switch their video off and stay in the classroom. In a physical class that would be like putting on an invisibility cloak. In real life, students have to step out of the class if they need privacy. Many teachers want an experience that is as similar as possible to a real classroom, which in this case means if a student turns their camera off, they are automatically moved into the waiting room. (I assume there would be a warning dialogue box for the student saying "You will be transferred to the waiting room, are you sure?" or something like that.)
The pedagogical approach to teaching on campus and teaching remotely are, as am sure you are already keenly aware, different.
The only answer (and it's efficacy is debatable, is to put engagement steps in the online tutorials, so for instance, at the end of a lengthy conversation you can ask for a thumbs up if your students have understood? That way you can catch those not concentrating. Or, you could use a Poll (which you can now pre-populate outside of a meeting) to identify comprehension of the topic, again, bringing you an understanding of engagement.
I think in these days and times, you are going to have to respect students' decisions not to share their working environment, and, give a level of trust to your students.