In the modern age of smart phones, smart devices, smart appliances, and smart cars, we are more connected to technology, news, people, and information than ever before. Students obtain information and interact differently today than in the past as learning environments and technology have evolved. Institutions and faculty are evolving in their teaching and learning methods whether learning takes place in a brick and mortar classroom or an online course, and technology plays a huge role in this evolution.

The way teachers and students connect in face-to-face classrooms shifts from reading nonverbal bodily expressions to completely relying on written dialogues.1 Developing a visual connection with your students can have a positive influence on learning outcomes. Whether you teach in a classroom, completely online, or in a hybrid environment, you can utilize modern technology to connect with your students. Learner interaction – with the course material, with the instructor, and with other learners – is also an essential Quality Matters standard.

Zoom Video Conferencing is a cloud based solution for hosting online meetings with the feel of a face-to-face encounter. Designed as an easy-to-use platform, anyone with a computer or smart device running any current operating system can connect to a Zoom meeting. Zoom is easy to use, compliant with accessibility standards, and works from anywhere with an internet connection.

As an instructor, you can use Zoom to host one-on-one meetings, host class meetings with the option of breakout rooms for group discussions, and host virtual office hours. By configuring a recurring meeting in your Zoom configuration, you can schedule your office hours and make yourself readily available to a greater number of your students. Once in a Zoom meeting, you and your students can have a high definition face-to-face conversation, collaborate on documents, draw on a white board, use simultaneous screen sharing, and more. Using Zoom’s ability to record meetings, you can also save sessions for later or share them with others.

Free access to Zoom is available for all University of Tennessee faculty and staff. All new accounts will default to a Zoom Basic account. A Zoom Basic account allows users to host unlimited meetings of 40 minutes in duration with up to 50 participants. If you need to host meetings longer than 40 minutes, you may request a Zoom Pro account through the UTK Office of Information Technology.2 For more information, contact the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning at 425-4188 or


1 Being a Supportive Presence in Online Courses: Knowing and Connecting with Students Through Writing. Diekelmann, Nancy, PhD, RN, FAAN; Mendias, Elnora P, PhD, RN, FNP, BC. Journal of Nursing Education; Thorofare44.8 (Aug 2005): 344-6.


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