All Swarthmore faculty, staff, and students have a basic Zoom account for video web-conferencing— just go to http://swarthmore.zoom.us. Sign in with your Swarthmore College username and password. You can use Zoom to have an audio or video chat with anybody else and you can invite up 49 other people into a meeting for a total of 50 people on one call. The only limit to a basic account is that you’re limited to 40 minutes per call. (To hold a meeting longer than 40 minutes, you need a Pro account—read on!)
Over the past few years, Media Services has seen a boom in requests for support for web-based video and audio conferencing services (such as Skype, Google Hangouts, WebEx, and GoToMeeting.) While these tools are handy, we haven’t always been satisfied with their quality or ease of use.
You may be surprised how easy it is to start up a meeting. All you need to know are your participants’ email addresses. They can access a meeting from pretty much any computer or mobile device. (Obviously, they need a camera to be seen, but you can have a mix of users who have cameras and those who don’t.)
One of the big advantages of Zoom is that your participants do not need to have a Zoom account. They only need to be able to do a quick download of the software, which they’re assisted with when they receive your invitation.
Zoom is a great way to carry on and include colleagues in meetings when they’re out of the office. Some departments already use it for conducting initial rounds of interviews with job applicants. It’s also a great extension of College efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of some travel.
I’m interested! Now what do I do?
From a Mac or PC, log in into the basic Zoom account at http://swarthmore.zoom.us using your Swarthmore username and password. If you would like to start using Zoom for College business, contact Media Services (firstname.lastname@example.org). We can upgrade your basic account to a Pro account, which has no time limits on meetings. Media Services can also set you up with supplemental web cameras, headphones, and microphones.
Once you log in, click on Host a Meeting, the desktop app will auto-download. There are installers for other operating systems:
- For iOS, visit the Apple App Store and search "zoom"
- For Android, visit Google Play and search "zoom"
- For Linux, submit a request to Zoom support for access to the beta client. Provide the Linux distro(s) that you want to test with.
Appearance of the apps varies from platform to platform. For further documentation, see the appropriate support pages in the Zoom knowledge base. Zoom also posts video tutorials on their YouTube channel.