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5 features to keep students safe during online Zoom classes 

By Pallavi Kanungo,

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing apps for conducting online classes.

Zoom’s safety features include restricting members to a particular region.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made our lives uncertain, especially for students who have to constantly shift between online and offline classes. While there can be no true alternative to physical classes, online learning is very much here to stay, thanks to the emerging edtech sector and rapid technological advancement around us.  

However, in these unprecedented times, online platforms like Google Meet and Zoom helped in the continuation of education through video conferencing, where teachers and students had the opportunity to engage in interactive learning. But parents still worry about the safety options on Zoom.  

The primary safety concerns during an online Zoom class are privacy breach of students such as leak of personal information (by unethical hackers), security issues both technical and non-technical. They can also fall prey to cybercriminals and experience online bullying.   

Factoring in all these concerns, this leading virtual platform has recently introduced a few handy features that teachers can use to keep their students safe during the virtual classes. Here’s a list of 5 of them.  

Email alert for online classes 
Since privacy and security of kids is a major concern during Zoom sessions, school, administrator or the teachers can ensure that whenever the online classes are ongoing, the admin as well as the Zoom account owner of the students (for example the parents) gets email alerts. This will ensure that no third party or outsider can enter or be a part of such virtual classes. Till date, Zoom claims to have sent 100000 emails in India alone.  

Region specific inclusion 
Zoom account holders, which in this case are either school admins or the teachers, can implement the option where they can allow or restrict members based on a particular region. For instance, if a school is based in New Delhi, it’s obvious that students too belong to the same region. So, the goal is to only allow people who live in the New Delhi region and leave out the rest, unless specially granted. This will also ensure that only the students who need to attend an online class, do so.  

Waiting room  
Zoom has a unique and effective feature called the waiting room, that can be otherwise termed as a virtual staging area. This helps students who have already signed in to wait for their teachers to let them in as and when their online classes begin. This way, teachers can also make sure that the right students have joined the class. The waiting room also helps students to engage in a two-way chat with the host, while the host in turn can message the entire classroom or even a particular student.  

Reporting abuse 
Zoom has recently introduced a safety feature keeping in mind the online abuse that students might encounter during their online classes. This new feature enables students to report any abusive instances by going on the meeting information icon in the top-left corner. Moreover, the teacher or the host can also report abuse by clicking on ‘Participants’ in the meeting controls and selecting the name of the participant they would like to report, for themselves or on behalf of their students and finally tap on ‘Remove and Report.’ Thereafter, the host has to fill a form explaining his or her action. The complaints can also be made after the meeting ends. 

Removal of disruptors 
This is one of the most important and useful safety features on Zoom using which both host (teacher) and students can pause the session and remove and report any person creating unnecessary disruption. For this, one needs to click on the security icon and choose ‘Suspend Participant Activities’. Following this, Zoom will momentarily stop the video, audio, in-meeting chats, screen sharing, recording and end Breakout Rooms. After 5 minutes, the session resumes minus the disrupting participant.  

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