Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Focus on Students

Community Champion | Zoom Employee
Community Champion | Zoom Employee

Calling all Educators! Are you listening? Ok, good.. Today, Zoom released our much anticipated FOCUS mode. That's right, Focus mode is live! This mode will allow all students to ONLY see their teacher, while still allowing the teacher to see all students. This is ideal for exams/tests, as well as socioeconomic disparity in student’s homes. You can turn it on by logging into your web browser client, and navigating down to "in-meeting advanced" in your settings. #education #students #teaching #zoomedu

Pat La Morte
Global EDU Solutions LeadZoom Video Communications


Thanks Pat!  I am looking forward to using this with my classes.  This may encourage students to show their video (which we can't require) if they know that only the teacher can see them.


Hi Pat, I can see Focus mode has a clear advantage over breakout rooms in that the teacher still has some overview of all students. However as I understand audio communication is always with the whole group. In exam situations I think it would be better when teacher and student(s) could also have focussed audio communication. Something like the private chat. Or am I missing something?


Community Champion | Zoom Employee
Community Champion | Zoom Employee


Thank you for the message. I believe you are correct. I will run this by our product lead to either:

1. Confirm and suggest this option

2. Come back. with news that it is possible

I also am feeling it is #1.


Pat La Morte
Global EDU Solutions LeadZoom Video Communications

Hi Pat,

I would reiterate the request above regarding use for invigilated online exams via zoom.


There is great *potential* of "focus mode" for 'kinder' online invigilated exams. In our case at Macquarie University we run in house online exams becasue we have control the whole workflow for students and staff. For us at Macquarie University, there are two things that are stopping us from using focus mode in our exams - plus I have a 'wish list' item too.


If Zoom can please add some options in meeting preferences next to focus mode  - this is essentially creating what amounts to an 'exam mode' as an extension of focus mode. IMHO a large un-met demand!


1) an option "record the host's view to *the cloud*".

Why?: At the present focus mode only records an audience view (i.e all student videos in gallery are frozen in the recording). The use cloud recording to serve as an official invigilator record, that is secure in the cloud. We enable galley recording and keep under to the max number of viewable people in a zoom meeting as ensure all students and activity that is observed is captured. There is an ability to record locally the view of the invigilator (host/co-hosts), but this does not meet our security requirements and it is not just practical to have staff downloading and re-uploading huge, sensitive files. These recordings are managed under our university data privacy/management policy. Note: we are not requesting that the ability of focus mode recording is to capture the audience view, but we would like an extra option to add recording of the host's view to the cloud.


2) an option for "focus mode to extend to audio". (as per John B's request).

Why?: This is to eliminate distractions and increase privacy for students during the exam. it will allow students to still use audio to call invigilators (the host/co-hosts) for help while not disturbing other students. It allows the invigilators to call/alert a student using voice (rather than being only limited to text chat that is often missed when students are focused on their exam!). Being able to maintain monitoring of background sounds etc in the student's space is important in maintain academic integrity in the exam. i.e the invigilator must hear the student's audio stream (and see via webcam), but it is best that the students cannot hear each other's audio.


3) a 'wish list' item - add an option that provides the ability for 'dual views' of each student - webcam and screen. e.g. all students also do 'share screen' at the same time, in addition to having web cams turned on, while still in focus mode (i.e all those screen shares/webcams are only visible to hosts/co-hosts).  Why?: This provides an added layer to what invigilators (hosts) will be able to monitor during the session. At present it requires invigilators who have suspicions to get students one by one to share their screen in a breakout room (often requiring another staff member to be present as well becasue the host can't see both at once!). This process of checking disturbs the student mid exam and disturbs other students in asking a student to move the to breakout room. The aim of this feature is to allow the invigilator (host) to view student's screens without disturbing them during the exam, without needing to move to breakout rooms to view screen shares. This feature is likely less mature and probably harder to implement so can appreciate it may never happen or take a long time. The aim will be to have a dual view (webcam and screen share) of each student in the zoom meeting. Possibilities may include a) if each student's thumbnail video could have a 'swap view' icon/option to swap that student's to screen share view (instead of web cam view) - like a two sided flip card. b) If there is the ability to 'enlarge' a selected that student's video while keeping it private (i.e because using spotlight current causes it to be broadcast). c) We would still want the ability to cloud record what the invigilator sees or the ability for a cloud recording to capture both webcams and screen shares from each student - probably in a dual gallery style view. Overall a dual view or 'swappable views' on each student's thumbnail for the invigilators (hosts) to access would greatly enhance the ability for invigilators to do their job while maintaining more optimal exam conditions, privacy etc.


I am happy to chat and partner with zoom folks to pilot/test/feedback any of these features in our upcoming exam period(s). We have approx 56,000 exam sittings in each exam period across a wide range of disciplines. We started using zoom on a smaller scale last year. We found zoom a much more reliable method compared to outsourced 'proctoring' options we tried. Zoom allowed us to conduct a 'students first' 'kinder' approach to online exams - also thanks to our in house invigilators, training and integrated in-house support with IT, wellbeing, student services, exams office etc. We have the desire to greatly expand our capacity in what we call 'Zoom exams' and it would be fantastic to work with Zoom to refine it. I am sure it will also be of great interest to many universities around the world too. 🙂


best regards,


(Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.)


We use Zoom for proctoring, and we are already able to see students' shared screens while also seeing their webcam.  You just need to make sure you have enabled the option for "multiple people to share screens simultaneously".  Then you can cycle between all of the students' shared screens, while continuing to be able to monitor their webcams in gallery view.  Are you asking for something different?


I like this feature for exams or when one really needs students to pay attention, but has anyone wondered what (if any) negative effects Focus Mode could have on building community in a synchronous environment if students cannot see each other? Does anyone have any ideas or best practices for this? Has this happened with anyone in another setting where the only view was between instructor/student?

-- Scott


Can Focus Mode be updated to carry over into the Breakout Rooms?  We currently use Zoom for exam proctoring, and  we use the Main Room for check-in and then divide students into several breakout rooms for small-group proctoring (usually 3 students at a time).  Focus Mode works in the Main room, but it does not appear to carry into the Breakout Rooms.

Breakout rooms are kind of meant for communicative group activities. I'd say if you wanted to use them for individual rooms, just place students in their own breakout room.

-- Scott

For proctoring multiple courses' exams, it is not time- or cost-effective to offer one-on-one proctoring.  We also do not have enough staff to proctor only one student in each breakout room at a time.  Each proctor currently monitors 3-4 students at a time in each breakout room, with each student screen-sharing.  Focus mode would be really helpful, to ensure that students who stop screen-sharing aren't able to see other students' screens.

we also need this function. hope Focus mode is available in the breakout rooms.

because more bombers came in our open meeting to show some videos/background/profile pictures


When we use Focus Mode, we ask students to share their screens so that we can see what they are working on. It would be helpful if Zoom added the ability to see all of the screen shares in a grid similar to the video feeds and to allow the host to easily select a particular student's shared screen when needing to work with that student.

Is this an enhancement your developers would consider implementing?

Terry Kaufman

Community Champion | Zoom Employee
Community Champion | Zoom Employee

This is a great idea! Would you be willing to submit this idea for our product team to review? Pls post your feedback and ideas here! 

Yes, thank you so much!



How can our organization get to working with FOCUS.  We are a non profit organization that have many interns.  FOCUS would help with ensuring that the students are completing what is needed for their internship which is education. Each internship bring with it a contract with the institution of learning.  How can we make our zoom work for us much like an institutions zoom.