In this 3-part series Dr. Alisha Ferguson and her student Emma, lead us through the different ways technology can be of great benefit to us, especially given the current circumstances.

Zooming NOW!

Zooming NOW was the first of the three courses. In this session Dr. Ferguson and her student Emma walked the viewers through the basics of Zoom, and how we can use it to help communicate in a social setting with friends and family or in a professional capacity with co-workers.

Phone and Computer Screen with question mark on them.

Dr. Ferguson and Emma started their class by introducing the idea of video conferencing. What is it? And why do it?

How to Use Zoom

Video conferencing is telecommunication in the form of a videoconference. When we use any one of a number of platforms or applications, that allow us to meet through video and audio, like we are currently doing at OLLI, it is video conferencing.

Zoom home page

There are a number of platforms or applications you can use to do this such as Skype, Facetime, Slack, Microsoft Teams…etc. So why use Zoom?

Zoom is one of the most user friendly and versatile video conferencing applications. Zoom works and is compatible with a variety of operating systems and is free to download. Zoom allows users to sign up for a free membership or paid subscription plans. All you need is a good internet connection.

The basics to using Zoom, as explained by Dr. Ferguson and Emma, begin with signing up. When you sign up/make a Zoom account you have the option of a free membership or a paid subscription plan. The paid version allows things like longer meeting times, and more people allowed in one meeting.Zoom call with Josh, Alicia, and their students

Once you have made an account you can set up a meeting. You can choose a time and date then send out an invitation in the form of a link via email to the people you want to join your meeting. This would make you the host, the creator of a Zoom meeting. If you receive an invitation for a zoom meeting but have not made an account with zoom, that is okay, you will still be able to click on the invitation/link that was sent to you and you will still be able to participate in the meeting, you will just have to download zoom if is not already downloaded onto the device you are using. The only time you will need a zoom account is if you are wanting to schedule meetings yourself.


As Dr. Ferguson and Emma mentioned, safety and security is always important to remember. Zoom is very easy to use, and just requires someone to click a link to enter a meeting, there can be a risk of anonymous strangers having access to enter your Zoom meetings.

To avoid this risk Dr. Ferguson and Emma have both advised Zoom users to take advantage of the features in Zoom that allow Hosts/Creators of a Zoom meeting to:

  • Set a password to enter meeting. This means, when someone receives a link to join a meeting, when they click the link they will be directed to a screen where they will have to enter a password (created and shared by the host) before they can enter the meeting.
  • Approval. In Zoom as a Host you can you can adjust the settings so you have to approve each person that tries to enter your meeting.
  • Lock room. Once everyone is in the meeting also known as a room, you can lock your room so that no one can try to enter.
  • Limit screen sharing. As a Host, you can limit who can share their screen. Only give screen sharing capabilities to people you trust.

In Summary

Video conferencing is becoming the preferred way of communicating, especially these days. There are many options that allow you the ability to video chat with friends, family, and co-workers. Zoom is a great option to stay in touch and continue connecting with those you are unable to see in person. We hope you have fun exploring and connecting via telecommunication.

Phone and computer screen with thumbs up on them