3 causes of meetings without video zoom
Most of my meetings are on Zoom.
I’ve crossed that line that separates those whose primary interactions are face-to-face to now have the majority of my business conversations digitally and online.
This transition from person-to-person to Zoom was driven somewhat by choice and somewhat by circumstance.
As an advocate and internal consultant for low residency and e-learning on my campus, I push as many meetings as possible on Zoom. The reason is that I want people to familiarize themselves with the synchronous online platform that we use in our online and low residency courses.
Zoom does not replace all of my in-person meetings on campus. There is still a lot to be gained from building relationships through face-to-face relationships. Zoom online meetings, however, are both more productive (no travel time) and egalitarian (as it’s easier to break status hierarchies in online meetings than in an in-person meeting).
For exchanges with employees and partners who are not in my school, Zoom is an essential communication platform. The Zoom platform (clear audio and video, intuitive user interface, etc.) is our best tool yet to fight the tyranny of distance.
During all of these Zoom meetings, I noticed a few unexpected quirks in the transition from face-to-face to online meetings.
One development that always surprises me is how often a participant in a Zoom meeting won’t be on video. It is common for me to start a meeting with my webcam on, only to have to turn my webcam off if the person I am talking to is not on video.
Sometimes large Zoom meetings will have everyone with an active webcam, save one or two non-video attendees.
Does the same thing happen to you?
I have reflected on the frequency, causes, and significance of non-video Zoom chats. Here are three ideas on what’s going on.
N ° 1: Preference
Some people prefer not to turn on their webcams during online meetings. This behavior has nothing to do with Zoom. They will also disable webcams during Connect, WebEx, and Shindig meetings.
Sometimes a web meeting attendee doesn’t want a video due to the circumstances in which the meeting is taking place. They can work from home due to illness or sick child and don’t feel like they’re dressed professionally for a video meeting.
Other people don’t like video sessions and are much more comfortable with voice-only conversations.
N ° 2: Absence
Sometimes the people I’m trying to zoom in with have computers that don’t have webcams. This scenario occurs more often than expected.
Some of the work I do is with colleagues who work for hospitals affiliated with universities. Laptops handed out to hospital workers often lack webcams. I had thought it might be a HIPAA issue, but Zoom is HIPAA Compliant.
What seems to be happening with hospital laptops without webcams is that there is some concern about patient privacy and a lot of concern about the cost. Maybe some can provide more information?
University-affiliated hospital patients aren’t the only ones who don’t have webcam-capable laptops. To my surprise, there seems to be a sizable number of college-issued laptops (or college-bought laptops) that don’t have a webcam.
Are you one of those academics without a webcam?
# 3: failure
The third reason for Zoom meetings without video is failure. One of the attributes I love most about Zoom is that these webcam failures are rare.
With other synchronous online learning and meeting platforms that I have used (and have used all of them), webcam failure to launch was a common occurrence.
It was a rare synchronous class or meeting where each attendee operated their webcam and microphone. Sometimes the video didn’t work. Sometimes the audio wouldn’t connect. Driver conflicts and incompatible devices were common.
The zoom appears to be much more robust for operating webcams and microphones. The platform’s simple user interface to start video and audio definitely helps.
But webcam failures still occur. In my experience, the problem usually comes from external webcams. Technical problems can be amplified when the Zoom participant tries to connect their webcam through a USB hub.
For whatever reason, a non-video Zoom meeting takes place – preference, absence, or choice – the quality of that Zoom discussion will suffer.
Video adds something important to synchronous online classes and meetings. The non-verbal communication that video enables brings participants closer to the Zoom conversation.
The ability to teach using synchronous video platforms, such as Zoom, is emerging as a core skill for educators. Effective online synchronous practices are not the same as effective face-to-face teaching practices.
Pairing faculty with instructional designers to design synchronous online courses is an investment that programs and schools will make if they put quality first.
For all of us, both those who teach online and those who participate in online meetings, becoming familiar with online teaching / meeting platforms such as Zoom is an important skill.
At the very least, we should all be doing whatever it takes to make sure our webcams are working and are on during web meetings.
How much of your meetings (and classes) are now taking place online?
Are you one of those Zoom people without a webcam?