Zoom: Enhanced Security Settings for Teaching

Settings for enhanced course security

  • Zoom default settings make it as easy as possible to start or join a meeting or class. That’s great for usability but may be problematic if you are running a confidential meeting. We want you to know how to run a well controlled meeting.  

  • Brown disabled in-meeting file transfer setting when we implemented Zoom. In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Because it’s not enabled, participants cannot send files or images through chat. And if you don’t want chat enabled at all, you can turn that off in your user settings (more on that below.) 

Accessing your Zoom Settings 

Log in to brown.zoom.us to modify and explore the advanced settings. Please note: it should be easy for students to access your meetings so carefully consider the student experience before changing settings. 

You may also change your settings in the desktop or mobile app. 

Settings to enhance security 

  • Play a sound when participants join or leave.   

Selecting this option ensures that a sound (chime) is played when a person has joined your meeting.  Leaving it off may allow someone to join the Zoom meeting that you’re hosting without your knowledge if you are not actively monitoring the participant window. You can also enable this during a meeting. Instructions are here. 

  • Allow the host to put attendees “on hold.”

This setting allows hosts to temporarily remove an attendee from the meeting and place them in a waiting room. The host or co-host can control this feature during the Zoom meeting via the participants panel.  The attendee on hold will see a notification saying “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.”  This feature works well for interviews and office hours. You can turn on “Allow host to put attendee on hold” option in your settings. Learn more about the “on hold” function here.

The Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops guests from joining your meeting until you’re ready for them. Waiting Room is a great way to screen who’s trying to enter your meeting and keep unwanted guests out.  However, you DON’T want to use it if you have a big class or are hosting a meeting with lots of participants. The Waiting Room feature requires additional time and effort on the part of the instructor or host to individually admit each student or participant  into the meeting room. Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control by personalizing the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room.  

Securing your class when it’s in progress

In addition to customizing your setting in advance, you can increase the security of your course or meeting by enabling the following features on the fly.

  • View your meeting participants:

When entering your meeting the participant panel is not exposed.  To manage who is coming and going, simply click on the word participant, this will open the participant panel.  To open the panel, click on the Manage Participant icon located in the menu bar at the bottom of screen.

  • Rename your meeting participants:

If a participant shows up as a phone number instead of a name, a host or co-host has the ability to change the name in the participant panel, as does the participant themselves. 

To change the name via the participant panel, hover over the line where the phone number is listed.  A blue button titled more will appear, select it to get the rename option shown below. Change the phone number to the participant’s name. 

  • Remove unwanted or disruptive participants: From the Participants menu, you can mouse over a participant’s name, and several options will appear, including Remove. Click Remove to immediately remove something from your meeting.
  • Allow removed participants to rejoin: When you do remove someone, they can’t rejoin the meeting using the same email address. But you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin, in case you remove the wrong person. 
  • Disable video: Hosts can turn a participant’s video off. This will allow hosts to block unwanted or distracting gestures on video.
  • Mute participants: Hosts can mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once. Hosts can block unwanted or distracting noise from other participants. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to keep the things quiet in large meetings.
  • Turn off annotation: You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from annotating.

  • Lock your meeting 

You can lock your meeting from the participant panel. This is ideal for Zoom hosts who repeatedly use their personal meeting ID to invite their attendees. Please note that we do not recommend using your personal meeting ID for remote classes. More info about using Zoom for remote teaching is here.  

To lock your meeting, select the “More” button found at the bottom of the participant panel window.  A new menu will open with the Lock Meeting option.  Please note, once you lock the meeting people who try to enter will be notified that the meeting is locked. As the host, you will not know who is trying to enter the room.  In some cases putting a user on hold makes more sense.  

Other Zoom features worth knowing

There are many other features that you can enable to have a more secure and controlled meeting but these may diminish the ease of use for your Zoom meeting. That’s why we put them at the bottom of this article.

  • Audio Type

Zoom default settings allow users to join a meeting using both Telephone and Computer Audio.  In some cases you may want to have your participants only use one type of audio like the phone or a 3rd party bridgeline instead.  If you change your default to allow users to only connect via telephone and combine it with the “Generate and require password for participants joining by phone” option, you have increased the security of your call.

  • Chat

By default participants can send chats that will be visible to all participants and are also able to chat privately amongst each other.  These features can be updated/turned off in your Meeting Settings  under the "In Meeting Basic" section.

  • Screen Sharing

By default, screen sharing in educational accounts (including Brown's) are set up to allow only the host  to share their screen.  Change this by going into your My Meeting Settings. In the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section you can customize who can share their screen.


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