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Zoom Hacks to Enhance Your Zoom University Experience

If you are a young college student with the computer skills of a senior citizen, this one's for you. As long as you know how to unmute yourself and turn your camera on, I wouldn’t call you a lost cause. I’m still learning new tricks every call. Here are some Zoom hacks I’ve accumulated from shifting my classes to the online platform and hosting virtual hangouts with my friends during quarantine.

Add a Fun and Appropriate Background

If you’re not comfortable showing your at-home classroom when turning your camera on, that’s completely understandable. Rutgers has provided a selection of Zoom backgrounds to use for your online classes. If you’re looking for funny backdrops for your next Zoom hangout with friends, I recommend this link, where you can find backgrounds from shows such as The Office, The Simpsons, and Parks and Recreation. To change your Zoom background, sign in to your Zoom account on the app, click on the gear icon on the top right to open Settings, and select the Virtual Background tab so you can choose one of the options provided or upload your own!

Temporarily Unmute Yourself So You Don’t Miss Your Chance to Chime In

If your class requires participation and you’ve finally found the perfect chance to contribute to the conversation, here’s an easy way to temporarily unmute yourself quickly. Instead of panicking to click the unmute button before someone else jumps in, just hold down the space bar to speak, and you will be temporarily unmuted. Get those participation points!

Touch Up Your Appearance with the Click of a Button

Zoom offers the option to “Touch up your appearance,” which essentially softens your camera’s focus and gives your face a nice glow. To enable this feature, go back into Settings, and click on Video, where you can then check off the “Touch up my appearance” box.

Switch Your Video Layout Depending on What You Want to See

This is a very easy hack to use, but I just thought I would share what I use the different views for. Active Speaker View appears to be the default setting when entering a meeting. I prefer this view when the professor is straight lecturing without a PowerPoint presentation being screenshared. I like using the Gallery View when the class is discussion-based so I can see all of my peers joining in on the conversation, as well as my professor. When the host (usually the professor) decides to share their screen and Zoom enters full-screen mode, I like to minimize the videos so I can only see the host. This is mainly because other people’s pictures end up blocking part of the screen, and I am easily distracted. You also have the ability to pin someone’s video, a feature I personally have never used, but if you’re into watching a certain someone’s screen, who am I to stop you?

Having online classes via Zoom has become the new normal for many college students worldwide, so why not utilize the platform’s best features? Feel free to use these hacks during your next class or hangout with friends and family. You’ll definitely impress your grandparents with these new skills! Sorry in advance when you have to explain that you are not actually at the beach.

Sam Fellin is a senior at Rutgers Business School majoring in accounting. She is currently the Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Rutgers. With a passion for learning as well as teaching, Sam aspires to be a future leader in business. Her interests include reality TV, fashion, and anything Disney. For the latest on Sam, follow her on Instagram: @samfellin
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