Please note: we are continuing to add to this page over time, especially answers to frequently asked questions about Zoom!

Zoom Quickstart

Quick Start Zoom Instructions

Create a Zoom account that’s linked with single sign on (SSO) to your Macalester account.

  1. Go to:
  2. Click the blue Sign in button.
  3. Macalester’s Single Sign-on (SSO) page appears. Enter your Macalester Username and Password and then click LOG IN.

Watch a short video that demonstrations the above steps (Vimeo).

Next, schedule your Zoom meeting.

Here are some things to do in advance of your first meeting using Zoom and to share with guests, who are first time Zoom users.

  1. Here’s a link to a 1-min video, which shows how to connect to a Zoom meeting (YouTube). It walks through the basic steps including where to click to enable your microphone and webcam.
  2. In addition, you can Join a test meeting prior to attending a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Installing Zoom for the first time?

Zoom Installation Guide for macOS & Windows (gdoc)

Need to show Zoom to others while in a call?

Guide to Sharing the Zoom Interface in a Call (gdoc)

Video Conferencing Etiquette

General Tips

  • Be kind to and patient with yourselves and one another, especially during technical difficulties.
  • Include Pronouns in your display name; including pronouns can assist with ensuring that we correctly refer to others while talking or texting within the chat box.
  • Check your lighting before joining a meeting; sitting in front of a bright window or in a dark room will make you hard to see!
  • Use a virtual background if you don’t want others to see your surroundings.
    • TIP: Remember your audience when choosing a background. Sitting in the Death Star is great for informal situations, but might not be the best choice for class or presentations. Communications and Marketing has created Macalester-themed backgrounds that you can use.
    • NOTE: Not all computers will support a virtual background
  • Remember that you can join through a phone call (check your Zoom invite for the phone number) if you suddenly experience audio problems.
  • Remember that you can test your audio and video prior to joining any meetings to be sure things are working correctly.
  • Update your Zoom application regularly. 
  • Communicate with family or housemates about when all of you may be in meetings during the day.

Participant Tips

  • Use a headset with a microphone if you can! It will reduce distractions for you, and it will reduce background noise for everyone in the Zoom meeting.
  • Use video! Unless your internet connection is very poor, letting your colleagues or classmates see you (and you them) will help you feel more connected.
  • Mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking. 
    • TIP: In Zoom, you can leave yourself muted and, instead, press and hold down the spacebar when you want to talk. If this isn’t working for you, you can change your push to talk preferences.
  • If permitted by the host, share your screen to present your whole desktop, or specific programs (such as PowerPoint) to the class or meeting, or share a whiteboard that you can draw on.
    • TIP: To share audio you must check the small box that says ‘at the bottom of the window before starting to share the screen.

Host Tips

  • Remember: there is no time limit on your Zoom meetings! Even if you schedule it for an hour, the meeting can go for as long as needed.
  • As host, you can mute, unmute, turn video on (through a request), and turn video off for participants.
  • You can use the security button to do things like lock your meeting so new participants can’t join, enable a waiting room, or change who can share their screen or send private chats. More information on these useful options can be found in our guide to the security button (gdoc).
  • Screen sharing is limited to the host by default; you can turn sharing on for others meeting-by-meeting.
    • TIP: If you’d like to give participants screen sharing permission when hosting your next meeting, simply click the arrow to the right of the Screen Sharing icon, select Advanced Sharing Options and select All Participants.
  • Participants can raise hands (which creates a notification for you) and use other nonverbal cues (speed up, slow down) using the participants menu. You can keep an eye on these cues in the ‘Manage Participants’ window.

Browse through Tips for Working Remotely on the ITS Blog for more quick tips on using Zoom and working remotely.

Configuring and Troubleshooting Zoom Audio/Video

How Do I Test My Computer Audio? – There are two ways to join meeting audio, joining via computer or joining via telephone. Follow the video in this section to test your audio before or after joining a meeting. If your audio isn’t working correctly:

  1. Verify that your volume is turned up and not muted.
  2. Verify that the correct microphone is selected on your computer.
  3. Try restarting both the Zoom application and your computer.

How Do I Test My Video? – You can test your video camera with Zoom before joining the meeting to ensure that the camera is working correctly.