Using Zoom in Lectures

These instructions are based on our own setup for interactive classes with up to around one hundred students. We use a Mac laptop with an external monitor to share a Keynote presentation while being able to see our presenter nodes and floating windows with Zoom participants and controls in front of us, and we use a separate iPad Pro with a pencil logged into another Zoom account connected to the same meeting to use as a whiteboard for sketching. We record the lectures showing just the slides and the lecturer. However, many of the the notes below will also help you if you use different operating systems or devices.

For successful online lectures, run them with a team of two: The lecturer (usually a professor) and the assistant (usually a PhD student / "wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter"). Test your setup at least a day in advance to iron out any issues!

Need to use Teams?

Even a year after everybody on the planet has moved to home office, Microsoft Teams on the Mac is still spectacularly bad for giving presentations with Keynote. If you have no alternative, here is a short guide for how to present using Keynote and Teams on how to at least do things like seeing your presenter notes.

Setting Up a Lecture

  1. Assistant: Use your Zoom lecture account to set up the lecture as a meeting on This makes you the  meeting Host. When the lecturer joins the call, you will make him a Co-Host.
  2. Assistant: Configure the meeting to use the Waiting Room function so students can connect while you work out any last-minute questions with the lecturer. You will let students in from the Waiting Room when the lecture really starts. 
  3. Assistant: Send the invitation link and meeting password to the lecturer and students a few days before the class. Ask lecturer to connect 15 minutes, students to connect 5 minutes early. Do not post the meeting URL on any publicly accessible web page.
  4. Assistant: Check the Zoom settings: The function 'Disable desktop/screen share for users' has to be turned off. RWTH turned it on as a default for all accounts, but this way you cannot share a whole screen in the lecture, which the lecturer will need for presentation software like Keynote running in full-screen presentation mode.
  5. Assistant: Start the meeting at least 15 minutes ahead of the lecture (30 minutes if it's your first Zoom lecture).
  6. Lecturer: Connect to the meeting via the URL. Do not use your teaching Zoom account here if you also want to use an iPad. Students can also connect now but will be connected to the Waiting Room while you work out any last-minute issues.
  7. Assistant: Make lecturer a 'Co-Host' and rename him appropriately (e.g., "Prof. Jan Borchers"). Currently renaming other people seems to be disabled. Ask lecturer to rename himself! You need to repeat this each time the lecturer joins, if he gets disconnected.
  8. Lecturer: Run your presentation on your MacBook (with presenter notes) and one external screen (showing just the current slide, like a projector). Use a neutral desktop background on the external screen; it will be visible occasionally.
  9. (Pro tip: At i10, we use a Logitech Brio camera for the lecturer because it lets you crop the image to the speaker better. We clip the camera to the larger, external screen, and use it for the presenter roles while the MacBook shows the current slide. This means that MacBook and external screens swap roles. In Keynote, this is easy to do by pressing "x" while in presentation mode.)
  10. Lecturer: Turn on 'Do not disturb' on your MacBook, iPad, and smartphone.
  11. Lecturer: Turn off the error alert sound that notifies you when you are focused on another window while trying to click trough Keynote slides. You can send sound effect audio output to a different device, like headphones, for this.
  12. Lecturer: On your iPad Pro, launch Zoom, tap Settings, and log in with your own teaching Zoom account. Then open the meeting URL from your email/browser/... to join the meeting with your iPad Pro to use as a Whiteboard in the lecture. Immediately after joining, tap "More", then "Disconnect Audio" to stop the nasty echo feedback!
  13. Assistant: Rename the iPad to "Whiteboard" in the meeting and make it a 'Co-Host' too.
  14. Lecturer: Close your macOS System Preferences before starting screen sharing.
  15. Lecturer: start screen sharing in Zoom and choose the external (secondary) screen. Make sure to activate the checkbox to optimize the screen for sharing (Choose the MacBook screen instead if using our i10 Pro setup above.)
  16. Lecturer: Start your presentation in Keynote on the Mac. Then press command-tab to switch over to Zoom, and you should see a floating window with all participants. You need to check "Allow Mission Control, Dashboard and others to use the screen" in Keynote Preferences for this to work. Move the floating participant window so it's visible without covering your presenter screen content. Click on Keynote in the Dock to go back to the fullscreen presentation, and make sure your keyboard arrows work. You can use the iPad to check locally what the students are seeing at any time.
  17. Assistant: Click on the ... in the lecturer's video and make it the Spotlight video. This assures that when the lecture is recorded in the cloud, only the lecturer's video will be visible.
  18. Assistant: Start recording the session in the cloud. Choose to record the shared screen and Spotlighted video only. Only cloud recordings let you do this, not local recordings.
  19. Assistant: When everything is ready, let the students into the Zoom room from the Waiting Room. Once the lecture started, you can disable the Waiting Room to let late students join the lecture without your approval if you like.

During the Lecture

  • Lecturer: Begin with a slide introducing Zoom videoconferencing etiquette. An example is below. Explain how to "Raise your Hand" in Zoom: Click on Participants and scroll to the bottom of the list to see the button.
  • Assistant: Click on Participants and watch for raised hands that the lecturer misses while talking. Also open the Chat window to see and answer any backchannel questions.
  • Lecturer: To use the Whiteboard, tap Share Content on your iPad, select Whiteboard from the list. It will automatically end the screen sharing on your Mac. Now start sketching with the Apple Pencil. When you're done, start screen sharing on your Mac again. Switch in and out of Keynote using command-tab without having to exit the fullscreen presentation mode.

After the Lecture

  1. Assistant: When the lecture is finished, the cloud recording is saved in your Zoom account.
  2. Download the video as the cloud space fills up fast. Upload the video to the lecture website, YouTube, and the file server (oliver).

Videoconferencing Etiquette:

Here are some tips for a smooth and comfortable videoconferencing for all participants and the lecturer: pdf.png200407-Videoconferencing-Etiquette.pdf

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