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World Faiths Center for Religious Experience and Study
In our common life in KC, how can we discover our differences as gifts to make our world better?
CRES is a 501(c)(3) institute promoting understanding of all faiths through teaching, writing, and consulting.
Email: vern@cres.org  —  Box 45414, Kansas City, MO 64171-8414
ZOOM INVITATION LINK

(1) Basic Zoom (2) Options and Features
(3) Participants Panel (4) Reducing Zoom fatigue

1. BASIC ZOOM 
         0.  Zoom has many wonderful features, but you don't need to know them to get started. We'll keep things simple. 
    1. Go to your computer or other communication device equipped with video camera (and microphone) and
     2. Click on the link emailed to you or paste it in your borwser (or call the phone number if you wish to participate only with sound). The Zoom link is likely to look something like this:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/123456789 and it may or may not
be completed with something like this:  ?pwd=ABCD .
     3. If Zoom software is already on your device, go to the next step. If Zoom software is not on your device, wait while the free version automatically downloads (if you have sufficient storage capacity). If you want to download the softwear in advance, visit https://zoom.us/pricing . (More than one device with speakers on Zoom in the same room can cause sound feedback.) 
        4. You may need to respond to prompts when they appear, such as providing your name and clicking on "join with video" if you wish to be seen and move your cursor to the bottom of the screen to "unmute" if you wish to speak by clicking on the microphone icon. (These on/off options remain throughout the connection, though a host may override them.)
      5. Procedures Zoom in a group meeting may include
           a. An advance sign-up for those wishing to speak, 
                or one person calling on the next to speak, 
                or a moderator managing the sequence. 
           b. A timer on or off screen may be used to give 
                speakers equal time, or a member of the group 
                may keep time, or folks may courteously limit their
                remarks so others may speak at least once.
           c. Normally it is courtesous for everyone not speaking 
                to use "mute" to minimize extraneous sounds, 
                or the host or designate may operate 
                the mute controls for the group. 
         * Depressing the space bar (and keeping 
                it depressed) is a keyboard short-cut to unmute.
           d. You can leave the meeting at any time by moving 
                your cursor and clicking the control at the 
                bottom right of the screen.
      6. If you have any trouble, call me and I'll guide you through the process.
All of the YouTube instructional videos I've found, like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isp3qPeQ0E
are more complicated than necessary, 
but you might want to view one just to get a feel for the process. 

2. OPTIONS and FEATURES

     A. Many YouTube videos explain features of Zoom, but most are unnecessarily complicated. And just to get a feel for the process, you might want to view one such as this.
     B. Many hard-of-hearing people experience higher quality sound with a Zoom connection than over many telephones.
     C. You have many options about how the display appears (controls at top of screen appear when you move your cursor there), but these may be all you'll need for our session -- 
          1) gallery view with everyone about equal size 
               [or their names in a box] which is probably how 
               Zoom will open for you
          2) speaker view (below) which shows the active speaker 
               much larger with others in thumbnail images
          3) as with most "windows," you can display the 
               participants full-screen or you can resize
               the frame or minimize it.
      D. Only if everyone consents, a session may be recorded for those unable to participate. 
      E. Zoom has many wonderful features to explore --
          1) stop video / start video
          2) chat
          3) break-out rooms
          4) recording
          5) thumbs up / applause icon
          6) screen share
          7) security features such as the waiting room
          8) participants menu
          9) scrolling through participants if more than 25 are 
              participating in the session
 
     F. If you initiate a Zoom session, avoid using the Schedule menu. All you need to do is email the portion of the Zoom hot link before the question mark. (See #2 above.) Scheduling complicates the process and may best be avoided by non-expert users.

3. PARTICIPANTS RESPONSE PANEL
Groups can vote a shown below and offer other responses.




Addittional controls for host:




Excepts from this March 3, 2021, article by Paulina Firozi and Allyson Chiu reporting on Jeremy Bailenson's work at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

4. Why video calls can be exhausting

[1] The paper says that there’s an excessive amount of direct eye gaze as people look at other faces close-up. It’s unnatural and not what people would typically do in an in-person meeting. During a video call, everyone is often staring at the speaker and the listeners, whereas in-person, some people may glance at their notes or lean over to a colleague for a side conversation.
     “Now listeners in a Zoom call are being stared at the same way speakers get stared at in the real world,” Bailenson said, pointing to public speaking as “one of the highest sources of anxiety that there is.”

[TIP: Take notes, look into space, turn the video off for a short while.]

[2] There’s also the constant self-evaluation. Seeing our own faces and gestures several hours a day on video is stressful and taxing, Bailenson said. Imagine if someone followed you around with a mirror during the work day “and made sure that everything you’re doing, you’re staring at your own face in real-time.”
     “You wouldn’t be able to live your life that way, right?” he said. “That sounds insane.”
     He said this occurs largely because the default setting on video platforms is to show people their own image.

[TIP: Use "Speaker" view instead of gallary when you can, select "hide self-view," or minimize the video call screen.]

[3] Video chats also cut down on people’s ability to be mobile. Instead of walking and talking like you might be able to do during a phone call, video chats mostly force participants to stay in a fixed position.
     “The problem with video — because culturally it’s kind of offensive if you’re not sitting in that frame and looking in the field of view of the camera — people sit still,” Bailenson said.
     During in-person meetings, people may be more active, standing up and pacing, going to a whiteboard or doodling.

[TIP: Arrange your device so you can stand and move around your room.]

[4] On top of all that, participating in video calls may increase cognitive load, meaning more mental effort is needed.
     “In real conversation, you’re just talking. You’re gesturing. It’s the most natural thing in the world,” he said. “Now things like turn-taking have to become deliberate. You have to think about ‘When am I going to unmute myself and click that button?’ And you have to think about ‘Well, I want to make sure they see that I like the idea, I’ve got to pretend slow clap in front of the camera.’ ”
     All of those nonverbal gestures of communication — which are automatic during in-person interactions — now take extra mental effort for some people. Accessibility experts say the toll may be even higher for people with disabilities.

[TIP: If possible, leave the mute button in one setting unless courtesy requires constant changing. Stand when you want to applaud instead of using the reaction button if your group protocol permits.] 

[A final TIP: resist unnecessary Zoom sessions, make weekly calls biweekly, space regular calls, shorten a 60-minute call to 45 or 30 minutes, or group them to your convenience.]