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Instructors: I want my students to meet together easily without me - can they do this with Zoom?

Zoom is a great tool for facilitating synchronous communication with your students, especially for online courses. Though Zoom does not feature an "always on" course room, your students can still utilize their own FSU Zoom accounts to meet with one another to collaborate on group projects, form study groups, and more without your having to schedule and be present in these student meetings.

This article details how you can provide your students with easy access to their Zoom accounts, and create a discussion topic in your Canvas course to provide a space for your students to easily share their Zoom meeting links with each other. Once you have followed the directions in this article, your students will be able to meet independently with ease.

Step 1: Activate the My FSU Zoom navigation item in your course site

Enable the My FSU Zoom navigation item on your course navigation menu. Similar to the original Zoom navigation item, the My FSU Zoom item starts out as an inactive, hidden item and must be turned on within your course's Settings menu. Once you have activated the My FSU Zoom item, your students will be able to click on it in the course navigation menu and be taken to the login page for their individual FSU Zoom account.

Location of the MY FSU Zoom link in a course navigation sidebar.

Your students must click the Sign In button to access their individual FSU Zoom account. After logging in with their FSU credentials, your students can schedule meetings using their own Zoom profile.

Location of the Sign In link for the FSU ITS Zoom login portal.

Step 2: Setup a Discussion item for students to share their meeting links

Next, students need to be able to share their meeting's "join URL" with one another. The best way to do this is to create a Discussion item within your Canvas course site for students to post their join URLs.

In the discussion item's directions, we recommend including instructions for your students detailing:

Please feel free to link to some of the materials provided within this article. We also recommend checking the Allow Threaded Replies option in the discussion item's settings and leaving the other items unchecked.

The screenshot below is an example of what this discussion item will look like with students using it.

Image of discussion topic. Discussion directions: "Hi everyone! This Discussion board is intended to provide a space for you to share Zoom meeting links with one another if you wish to discuss matters related to the course and its concepts and workload. You can access your Zoom account through My FSU Zoom on the course navigation menu on the left of your screen. You can learn how to setup Meetings in your Zoom account here. Once you have a meeting setup, you can share the Meeting's URL and include it in a Discussion post so that your classmates can see it and access the Meeting. If you're sharing a meeting you created, specify a specific time to meet so that all participants will know when to join the Meeting. Please contact ODL Technical Support if you have any questions regarding how to setup a meeting or share it with your classmates. To reach ODL Technical Support: Call 850-64408004, email, or submit a support ticket. End of directions. Student's post: Hi! here's my meeting link.

Once your Zoom discussion item is set up, we recommend pinning the discussion topic to the top of your course's Discussion area to keep it easily visible in your course site.

Example of a pinned Discussion Board in the Discussions area of a course site.

Now, your students will be able to utilize it for the duration of the semester to contact each other for Zoom Meetings without the need for further instructor input. Students need only post their meeting's join URL and their classmates can then copy/paste the join URL into their browser to be able to join the meeting. Alternatively, students can post their meeting's join URL as clickable, hyperlinked text. Each student will be able to join the meeting with the browser-based, desktop, or mobile versions of Zoom by simply clicking on that join URL text.

We recommend that your students make sure they are subscribed to the Zoom discussion item so that they receive a notification each time a classmate posts to it. Students must also make sure to start their Zoom meetings at the time they have scheduled the meeting to start.

Additional Resources

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  • 10-Mar-2020