Online Meetings

Due to the current situation and government mandates on social distancing, the Chapter will meet online for the foreseeable future using Zoom, a highly regarded online software platform for virtual meetings. Many of us are likely very familiar with Zoom, especially those who are still working remotely. However for those who may be using Zoom for the first time, we're providing this guide to help you through the process. If you are familiar with Zoom please read the Etiquette section below.

Invitations & Joining a Meeting

These meetings are intended for members of the Chapter and invited guests. For security reasons, we are not making our meetings public. Joining a meeting requires a meeting ID and password which you will find in the email invitation for each meeting. If you'd like to be added to future meeting invites, please subscribe to our newsletter through our mailing list here.

Technology

You will need to install the Zoom client on your computer. If it’s not installed already, you will be prompted to do so when you click the link in the invitation. You can install the client software in advance. Download from Zoom directly.

Video

You will see the video and any shared content (the presentation, and other features) on your computer’s screen. We recommend a reasonably large screen for this, ideally no less than 13″. While it is of course possible to use Zoom on phones and tablets by downloading an app small screens are not really ideal to follow a presentation and follow the meeting discussion.

Audio and Interaction

You will need speakers or headphones attached to your computer to hear the presentation and discussion. This is audio that is transmitted to you. For audio transmitted from you, ie. to interact and ask questions, you will need a microphone/headset, or ideally a webcam.

Most laptop computers have a built in webcam, speakers and microphone. If you have a laptop, your most likely all set. All-in-one desktop computers, such as Apple’s iMac, also have a built-in webcam, speakers and microphone.

If you do not have a webcam, you can purchase one online, they start at $50 and are probably nice to have during this time anyway (you can also use them with Skype, Signal, other online meeting solutions, etc. etc.). A webcam usually has a microphone, and the entire thing is connected to your computer via USB. They’re really easy to use and setup.

If you do NOT have either of these, you can also dial in to the meeting via phone for the audio part. The dial-in number is included in the invitation.

Obviously, for the best interaction, we recommend using a webcam. When you use a webcam in our online meetings, your video will be transmitted and when you speak, others can see you. It makes the whole experience of meeting online much more personal! You can turn off your video at any time in the Zoom client.

If you have a laptop, all-in-one desktop, or an otherwise complete setup, install the Zoom client and run the audio/video tests in the software. It’s available in the Video and Audio sections of the settings (top right corner has a little gear ⚙️ symbol to open the settings).

Etiquette

To make our online meetings enjoyable for everyone who attends, we ask that you please observe these simple guidelines:

When you first join the meeting, your computer microphone will be muted. Please only turn your microphone on when you have a question. This is to prevent distractions when others speak, and to keep the Zoom client from switching focus to you when you make a sound (that means any sound…).

In the Zoom client, you can press and hold the space bar, much like the “talk” button on a walkie-talkie, to temporarily un-mute your microphone.

If you dial in via phone, please mute the mic on your telephone, unless you have a question.

Since it isn’t guaranteed that everyone can see you, it is very helpful to announce who you are when you ask a question. Just say “this is [your name], I have a question”. Not everyone's voice sounds iike John Wayne's!

There’s also a chat (typed messages) integrated into the Zoom client. It’s hard to follow a conversation though when many people chat at the same time. Please use the chat only in the context of the meeting and keep usage to a minimum, if you need help, can’t see or hear anything, or don’t have a microphone and need to ask a question.