May 19 2022

Zoom Announces Several New Features for Higher Ed

Educator requests have led to several updates aimed to better serve higher education institutions.

New features for Chromebook users, improved breakout rooms and chat, and enhanced polls have either arrived or are coming soon to Zoom — upgrades the company says it made at the request of teachers and administrators who have been using the platform to serve their students.

The company announced the upgrades last month, noting that it did so in order to better “support teachers who need to engage and manage students joining class remotely or submitting homework assignments.”

One addition concerns a feature Zoom is calling Anywhere Polls, which allows polling information to live in a centralized location, disentangling that data from any particular meeting. The feature is intended to make it easier for instructors to reuse polls, and the change has excited at least one higher ed Zoom user.

MORE ON ONLINE LEARNING: 3 tips for managing instructional studios in higher ed.

“We’re looking forward to the Anywhere Polls feature,” John J. “Ski” Sygielski, President and CEO of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, said in a Zoom press release. “The polling enhancements will make it simpler for large groups of students to provide feedback across the College. It will be easier than ever for instructors to replicate content for each course.”

Other notable upgrades include enhanced capabilities for Zoom users on Chromebooks using the Progressive Web Application; enhanced breakout rooms that allow the sharing of audio and video, along with an option for instructors to populate breakout rooms; a new feature allowing audio and video messages to be sent in Zoom chat; and the ability to rename participants in the waiting room.

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