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Zoom video conference software now available

Illinois State faculty and staff will find it easier to work, collaborate, and share information this fall with expanded access to Zoom, a video conferencing and communication tool. Beginning immediately, faculty and staff may request access to the software which allows users to create meetings and invite students or coworkers to participate via high-quality video or audio. Zoom easily connects participants with features including:

  • Integration with ReggieNet and Outlook
  • Share screens and documents
  • Record meetings
  • Participate via computer, tablet, or phone anywhere

The Mennonite College of Nursing pioneered the use of Zoom at Illinois State beginning more than two years ago. Introducing the new virtual tool caused some apprehension initially, but its ease of use and obvious value inspired enthusiastic adoption.

“I was nervous about using it in our Ph.D. program at first, but it is simple to use and there’s not much of a learning curve,” said Associate Dean of Research at the Mennonite College of Nursing Mary Dyck.

Dyck has used the tool to successfully teach Ph.D. students in a virtual setting. She finds the richness of communication essential to her teaching.

“It’s been a great tool to synchronize students. After the first day of class I may not see them much in person,” explained Dyck. “It has been critical for discussion. I can easily see students’ faces to determine if they’re confused.”

Faculty in the College of Education have also been using Zoom for some time with great success. The positive feedback received from both colleges led to the campus-wide expansion.

“I’ve been using Zoom for quite some time now to support my online teaching and also for virtual meetings with colleagues. As an online instructor, it is great to be able to talk with a student virtually and share information from a resource or one of their papers and for them to do the same,” said Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education Amanda Quesenberry.

Faculty love the flexibility that Zoom offers when teaching in non-traditional formats. It also allows for easy collaboration and partnership with individuals and organizations where in-person meetings are not feasible. Associate Vice President for Academic Technologies Mark Walbert was thrilled to find a single well-equipped web conferencing solution. “We’ve been looking for something that could be used across campus or the country, and now we have it,” he said.

“I will use Zoom this summer as one of my distance-learning tools in a hybrid graduate course with a cohort based in Chicago and have also used Zoom for meeting with international colleagues,” said Associate Professor in Educational Administration and Foundations Lucille Eckrich.

Students and staff that have grown up in a digital age are very comfortable using similar tools to communicate in their personal lives. They have come to expect equivalent tools to be available in their teaching, learning, and work environments.

“As new tools become available, we are interested in seeing that we explore their use on campus. Our goal is to empower the campus community through digital transformation and providing dynamic methods of collaboration is part of that strategy,” said Associate Vice President of Administrative Technologies and Chief Technology Officer Charley Edamala. “We were excited to play a part in rolling out Zoom across campus.”

Faculty or staff that are interested in utilizing Zoom may request access from the Technology Support Center through My.IllinoisState.edu by selecting the Technology Support Center link on the main page. To log in to the ISU Zoom login page click: https://illinoisstate.zoom.us. For help teaching with Zoom, contact the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at CTLT@ilstu.edu.

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