You can use a variety of tools for online small group discussions. We have outlined solutions, rated them for the effort required, and identified key considerations.
You can use a variety of tools for online small group discussions. We have outlined solutions, rated them for the effort required, and identified key considerations.
Before selecting a tool to host your next webinar, find out what you need to consider.
Before selecting a tool to host your next webinar, find out what you need to consider.

Experts & Communities

Share ideas with other members of the University community who are interested in using technology for teaching and learning.
The CEI collaborates across the University to advance effective teaching and engaged learning.
Participate in discussions and events with faculty, students, and staff who wish to integrate video technology into their work.
Participate in discussions and events with faculty, students, and staff who wish to integrate video technology into their work.
Participate in discussions and events with faculty, students, and staff who wish to integrate video technology into their work.

Good Practices

Take a strategic approach to create a course community that helps students work together and learn from each other.
Instructors can create course sites that are both usable and accessible to the widest range of students possible by organizing their course site with a landing page, modules, and a limited menu, plus following other
Challenge Working in small groups on activities and assignments can be beneficial even for "routine" tasks, as students have the opportunity to learn from and help one another.
Instructors often use classroom discussions to promote sharing and ideas about a subject matter. Sometimes, discussions can become rote and tedious, or engage only one or a few students and the instructor.
Instructors often spend a majority of classroom time on lectures, leaving little time for other learning opportunities such as group discussion. Capturing content is one method to address this challenge.
Instructors often spend a majority of classroom time on lectures, leaving little time for other learning opportunities such as group discussion. Capturing content is one method to address this challenge.
If you plan to use online exams with Proctorio settings to assess and evaluate student learning, please be aware that the Proctorio tool may cause problems for international users.
Challenge Creating videos for courses is time intensive and the process of creating, publishing and sharing your media with students can be overwhelming.
Preparation is key to producing effective instructional videos. Get tips for preparing what you will present, as well as for being on camera. 
Challenge Whether you’re recording audio-only or recording a video, good quality audio is paramount.
Challenge When using pre-assigned breakout rooms, specific guidelines must be followed to ensure students are routed to their designated Zoom breakout rooms.
Challenge Using Zoom to meet with your students in real-time offers continuity and an opportunity to stay connected.


The Zoom for Canvas Integration allows you to start and join Zoom meetings from within Canvas. This article is for UMN faculty and staff who would like to use Zoom together with Canvas.
Compare the features of Zoom ( and Google Hangouts Meet (
There are multiple video layout options available for you as a host, co-host, and participant in Zoom. Layout Options There are 4 video layout options in Zoom:
Zoom provides several ways for meeting hosts to set up audio and for participants to join audio. As a host, use this article to inform your meeting setup.
The HCC, or Health Care Component, is a group of faculty, students, or staff who work closely with private health information and are subject to a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with Zoom to ensure HIPAA complian
As a meeting host, you can split your meeting participants into breakout rooms when scheduling the meeting. This can be useful if you already know how you want to split up your participants.
Use this feature if you want to let someone else host a meeting or webinar that you have scheduled. This may be helpful if you are out of the office or late to your meeting or webinar.
You do not need a webcam in order to join a Zoom meeting or webinar.  Without a webcam, you will not be able to transmit video.  Things you will be able to do include:
There are two Zoom account types at the University of Minnesota:  
Zoom can change the way you teach and interact with learners, by giving you the ability to hold online office hours with learners anywhere in the world on a one-time or recurring basis.
Host controls allow you as the host or co-host to control various aspects of the Zoom Meeting or Webinar, such as managing the participants. Host controls include but are not limited to:
The host key is a 6-digit PIN tied to your Zoom account. It is not meeting-specific.  You can use your host key to claim host privileges in the following circumstances:
You can use a landline or mobile phone to join or host a Zoom meeting via audio conferencing. This is useful when:
Zoom has international dial-in numbers available for an extensive and growing list of countries throughout the world.  Participants from abroad can join UMN-hosted Zoom meetings or webinars via telephone if they canno
Once you have started or joined a Zoom meeting using your iPhone or iPad, follow the steps below to connect to the meeting audio.
You can use the Zoom mobile app to share your entire screen on an iPhone or iPad (as long as you are running
Intended Audience: Students or any user from the University of Minnesota joining Zoom meetings as a Participant or Attendee.
Video It is a good idea to test your video in Zoom before a meeting or webinar.  You can do that either manually or via a test meeting.
You can use Zoom on a computer through a web browser.  This lets you use some of Zoom's features without downloading plug-ins or software.  However, the web client has limited features.  
University of Minnesota students, staff, faculty, departmental, and sponsored accounts who are not in the
This article helps you log into the UMN Zoom platform. For security purposes, Zoom logs out after 120 minutes of inactivity.
The University of Minnesota's Zoom conferencing system now includes a feature that uses automatic transcription to tur
Breakout Rooms allow you to seamlessly split your Zoom meeting into separate sessions for small group discussion, and then bring those sessions back together to resume the large group meeting.  As the meeting host, yo
The Meeting Settings page in your
As a host or co-host, you can mute all of the participants in the meeting. 
Your Profile page in your
If your camera is not showing up in the Zoom Settings, or if it is selected and not showing any video, these general tips can help.
Zoom offers optimized screen sharing of a full screen video clip.  This setting increases the frame rate of the screen share while playing the clip, so that the playback appears more smooth for remote participants.  T
Your Personal Meeting Room is the virtual meeting room that is permanently reserved for you.  You can start an instant meeting there at any time, or schedule it for future use.  
The polling feature for meetings and webinars allows you to ask multiple choice polling questions.
If you are hosting a webinar and want attendees to take a survey or be taken to a specific webpage afterward, you can specify a Post Webinar Survey URL.  Webinar participants will be prompted to take a
As a Zoom host, you can record your meeting or webinar.
If your camera is displaying upside down or sideways in Zoom on your Windows PC, you can rotate the camera in your settings until it is oriented correctly.
Becoming comfortable with Zoom's scheduling and invitation features will help you host successful meetings. This article covers:
You can allow someone else to schedule meetings and webinars on your behalf in Zoom.
Zoom offers step-by-step instructions for using Microsoft Powerpoint presentations with screen sharing in their
Follow the recommendations below to keep your Zoom Meetings secure and free from disruption.
You can set a playback range for a Zoom cloud recording that you share with other
You can use Zoom to share your desktop, window, or application with meeting attendees.
If you want other meeting attendees to see what you are working on, you can share your screen by clicking on the Share button in the Zoom toolbar.
Hosts using the Zoom Client for Meetings desktop application can allow mul
You can sign up for the following Zoom trainings through
You can start an instant meeting for screen share (no video) or an audio-only meeting from the
Synchronous class sessions, in which everyone logs in to a web conferencing system at a pre-scheduled time, are one way to create engagement and foster community in your fully online courses.
There are two options to test your video in Zoom prior to a meeting or webinar:
If you are hearing feedback or echoes in your meeting, that means there is a device in the meeting that is channeling your audio back.
Zoom is the University of Minnesota's preferred platform for virtual meetings, remote collaboration, and video conferencing. 
You can use the Call-Out feature in a Zoom meeting or Webinar to dial yourself or someone else to join the audio by telephone. Please Note:
The dual-monitor display feature allows you to see the video on one monitor and the screen share on another monitor simultaneously.  
If the video area on your Lenovo laptop looks like a grey box with a crossed-out camera icon, try these troubleshooting steps. 
You can watch recordings o
Zoom offers an extensive coll
The Zoom for Google Calendar add-on allows you to schedule and join meetings directly from a Google Calendar event.


Sound can make or break a multimedia production, whether it’s an audio slideshow, a documentary video or an interactive narrative. 
Article from Geekazine on some simple tips that help with making video conferencing of all types a more pleasant experience for everyone.
Helpful points on making a better live recording.
This video will provide a walk-through of the features of the 1:Button studio.
Content chunking, for instructional design, is the strategy of breaking up content into shorter, bite-size pieces that are more manageable and easier to remember.
Good audio is critical to your elearning success.  You might be a great instructional designer and create the most engaging courses possible.  But it all falls apart if the audio quality in your course is not ve
In a recent study, researchers identified the design factors that were most valued by participants in terms of promoting an engaging online learning experience.
The best discussions keep everyone active, either by sharing or thinking. Even those students who rarely, if ever, contribute can still participate in other ways.
This presentation will introduce a rubric-based method of auditing online courses for their maturity on three dimensions of development. 
Good audio is an essential component for a good meeting.
Building branched scenarios with your rapid elearning tools is actually pretty easy to do.  These tutorials shows you how to do so.
We recommend the following steps for those who are just getting started with Canvas at the University of Minnesota.
Chunking is a concept embedded in the world of instructional and information design.
This source is an example of a branching scenario that provides practice in cultural awareness for noncommissioned officers.
This is an example of a branching scenario that provides methods for dealing with office issues.
Simple steps for embedding YouTube videos and playlists.
This LinkedIn Learning video covers foundational concepts of lighting, such as why light is important, what kinds of lights to look for, and where to put lights relative to a subject.
Find out how to get started in video production and editing.
Google Currents brand pages offer ways for organizations to reach out to followers, fans, and customers on Google.
Short article from 9to5 Google on how the use of Google Drive app within a hangout has been removed. Now users are to use the chat box for sharing any Google Driv items.
Learn about Google Hangouts on Google's help site.
The Google Hangouts Meet Help Center can help learn how to start and join meetings and use different settings in the meeting.
Webpage with link to download Google Video Calls (Hangouts) plugin required for most browsers to enter a video call.
Short video from Ronnie Bincer about how Google (Hangouts sometimes auto-mutes participants.
Web page from Google with information on how to start a Google Video Call (Hangout), including how to set up your computer and computer browser in advance.
You can easily communicate with your family and friends through Hangouts in Gmail. You can make phone calls, have face-to-face video calls, and share photos.
Overview of how to use Google Video Calls with Google Calendar, including how to add a video call to a calendar event.
Chunking is a concept that originates from the field of cognitive psychology.
The key is to design tasks that are truly collaborative, meaning the students will benefit more from doing the activity as a group than doing it alone.
Video conferencing offers a variety benefits to the University community, including the following:
Presence is the most important best practice for an online course. Learn techniques to establish instructor presence.
This is one of the many interview style videos the Libraries have created in the Sound Stage Studio
This LinkedIn Learning course teaches you a project-based approach to the aesthetic and technical aspects of video editing.
To be effective, online curricula illustrating communication behaviors need face-to-face interaction, individual role play with feedback and discussion.
To request an appointment for Rarig Studio C, email [email protected]  
Access group work resources from this past Educause concurrent session.
Library Media Services provides comprehensive course support for the integration of media assignments into teaching and publishes related case studies.
This resource is available to all University faculty and staff. Frequently Asked Questions    
Contact us if you need assistance at [email protected]
Online discussions are a great tool to extend classroom conversations and learning by getting students to engage with class material online.
The use of discussion forums as a vehicle for learning is based on the pedagogical tenets of collaborative learning theory, which call for collaboration between participants, experimentation, and open inquiry.
The Office of eLearning provides faculty and staff support for Quality Matters,
Learn about UMN video conferencing options Email [email protected] or contact Technology Help
YouTube is a video sharing service provided by Google, and all users must abide by Google's terms of service.
Quick article from Teacher Tech (Alice Keeler) on how to choose which video has the main focus in a Google Video Call (Hangout).
This source provides samples of branching scenarios for different professions.
Tips and tricks to help you record quality videos with your smartphone.
How-to article from Google on creating an unlisted Hangout on Air to record a Google Video Call.
Student media assignments engage students in course content and provide opportunities for reflection and deeper learning. See examples from the College of Education + Human Development.
This short, 4-minute video walks you through the process of making a recording using TechSmith Relay.
The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) created this checklist to help instructors create effective online courses.
Learn how to set up a branching scenario properly, no matter what tool you decide to develop it in.
Move RecordingTo move a recording to your Content folder, follow the instructions below.
This LinkedIn Learning video shows how to use the calendar to invite others to the meeting, and activate video chat to see each other along with other features.
The Office of Information Technology’s (OIT) role for the University of Minnesota’s video conferencing environment will be to provide best practices to nurture this technology.
Operation guides are available in room as well as online for the following rooms with video conferencing capability:
We recommend all room installations at the University of Minnesota conform to our standard technology architectural model which provides encryption and standardized hardware and room controls.
Support for an in-progress video conferenceFor immediate help with a video conference that is in-progress, call (612) 626-4444 and select option 1.
A Video Event Online Support consultation session of up to an hour is available for no charge.
  To ensure the safety of our staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not offer onsite AV support for events during Fall Semester 2020. We will re-evaluate this decision for Spring Semester 2021.
The interview sections of the this video were recorded in the Sound Stage Studio
This LinkedIn Learning video will show you how to set up mixers, wireless mics, and booms, and make sure your camera is correctly set up to capture audio. 
This LinkedIn Learning video teaches the fundamentals of portrait lighting, including standard three-point lighting setups, how to light for specific subjects, and how to deal with the challenges of location sho
Video conferencing classrooms and meeting rooms are both available and in development across the University system campuses.
Compare web conferencing tools available at the University; always start with your objectives before deciding on the tool.
When should you go to the trouble of designing a branching scenario? See some examples.
Directions on how to add subtitles, closed captioning, and transcriptions to a YouTube video.
YouTube directions for adding subtitles, captioning, and transcriptions to YouTube videos.
Find how-to articles on using YouTube.
Find how-to articles on using YouTube.
Learn answers to commonly asked questions on this YouTube site.
The following are examples of how University of Minnesota groups have successfully used YouTube.
As the host, you can control who meeting or webinar participants are allowed to chat with.
Use the controls below the flowchart to enlarge it. Click on the links in the blue ovals to learn more about each option.
Before Your Meeting or Webinar Set up Registration. For public events, set up a Zoom registration page. People with a valid email will receive an email with the link to the event.

Self-Help Guides

Hold an online meeting using the Google Hangouts App.
Kaltura is a media management platform for teaching and learning purposes.
Use this self-help guide to learn about and find resources to help with the video production process. 
This self-help guide will help anyone who presents at, schedules, or supports online meetings and webinars through Zoom.  To learn more about using Zoom for online office hours or smaller meetings, check out 
Zoom, an online video conferencing system, is now available to the UMN community!  Compare Zoom to Google Hangouts 

User Stories

Why capture a guest expert lecture or presentation on video?
The benefits of student group work are well documented:
Demonstration videos help students learn because they can both see and hear the proper way to do things at every step.