Member Minute: Keep your virtual events safe [April 3]

Welcome to EMA’s member minute where I’ll be teaching you an actionable strategy, tip, trick or hack to help you meet your enrollment goals and all that in about a minute.

Zoom has become the default video conference platform for many schools in the last few weeks but recent reports have raised valid questions about the safety and security of the platform. Let’s dig into how to make your online interactions with staff, families, and children safe.

First of all if you’re uncomfortable with Zoom or you don’t like their features there are plenty of other options available like Google Meet or Microsoft Team. In fact you might already have one of these options available to you at your school.

Regardless of which platform you choose remember there are, broadly speaking, two kinds of virtual events: 

  • Meeting - all participants can see each other, turn on their cameras, and interact more or less as peers
  • Webinar - where participants can’t see each other, can’t turn on their cameras, and can only see the presenters and ask questions in the chat)

I’m not making a recommendation about which one you should select, but what I do recommend is that you choose one of these two platforms deliberately. A meeting can feel more personal but also may expose you to some security concerns, while a webinar is a little less personal but also less open to things going sideways.

If you use a Zoom Meeting then here are a few important security options to consider:

  • Don’t post ‘join’ links publicly on your website or social media as that can open you up to random people joining your session
  • Instead turn on ‘registration required’ on public sessions, or send a meeting invite only to specific groups
  • Consider turning on the ‘waiting room’ so you can admit only people you want and the host can kick inappropriate users out to the waiting room if that’s necessary
  • Familiarize yourself with participant control features such as private chat, mute, or the ability to remove someone from a meeting before you begin
  • Finally consider turning off virtual backgrounds as there have been some reports in the press of some users abusing that feature

A virtual event is important for your enrollment strategy but a Zoom meeting might not be the best option for every school in every situation. If you’ve already done a few events on one platform and now you want to change no worries - just let your participants know there is a new way to join the meeting and they will be flexible.

That’s been your member minute - I look forward to connecting you inside EMA’s member community!

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Member Minute: Zoom Security Update [April 9]
Member Minute: Zoom Security Update [April 9]

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Member Minute: Virtual Backgrounds [March 30]
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