Zoom etiquette is important, but not always followed

Should there be rules for Zoom classes?


Zoom is now the new normal and has changed the face of interacting with many. However, there are no set rules on how to manage meeting settings so the majority feels respected during discussions. (Screenshot by Maya Barber)

In 2020, COVID-19 struck and created a new way of living. The world was put on lockdown, but life needed to continue. In order to participate in school or work, many people moved online. This meant a world of Zoom.

Online meetings were already a part of the business world, Facetime was normal for distant family and friends and online school existed. 

However, because most are not able to be on campus, Zoom has been the primary source of communication.

Zoom mimics a typical classroom setting. But, because the format is new for most students and instructors being so new there are no rules or practices that have been implemented for students to follow to exhibit proper etiquette.

There is no official Zoom etiquette handbook, and there is a need to implement guidelines of etiquette to make meetings smoother. 

“Zoom etiquette is important, as it demonstrates respect for all who participate,” Scott Crow, ARC’s public information officer said. “[It] makes for a better experience for everyone.”

The question is, who is responsible for setting these guidelines? Is it the instructors, the school, the district, or the student’s responsibility to set standard Zoom guidelines?

According to the Zoom website, there are seven ways to attain a great experience.

“Make sure to introduce everyone at the beginning, ensure that you have a clean, work-appropriate background, look into the camera when talking instead of looking at yourself, eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda, be aware of your audio and video settings,” said John Montogmery, a marketing content writer for Zoom.“Only invite meeting participants who need to be there and if you are the host, stick around.”

Some students realize that there should be proper etiquette used when on Zoom.

“I try my best to keep myself muted when it is not my turn to speak. I feel that it is key to online learning and helps reduce sensory overload,” Karma Goode, a student from the Language & People HomeBase said.

Goode added that Zoom etiquette has a lot to do with your culture and the environment you are in. 

Oden Taylor, a student worker for ARC, says some of the behaviors he observed while in Zoom classes have been students who have not had their clothes on, laying in bed and probably the most distracting bad habit: not muting their microphone.

According to Taylor, professors have access to controlling different options on Zoom with the students.

“It does fall back on the professor,” Taylor said. “They have the ability to mute the microphone of the student. [But] the professors probably try to avoid that to not treat them as kids.”

Taylor believes students should be just as ready to show up for a Zoom class as they are a regular class. 

“At this point, students should know what is required of them. [I] don’t think it needs to come from the district,” Taylor said. “But [professors could change] the syllabus and add a Zoom etiquette section. Different teachers are going to have different requirements.”

Everyone has a story or two of what has been witnessed on Zoom that should not be happening. With times changing it is time to make a change to the syllabus and hold students accountable just as if they were in the classroom.