(or how not to drive ourselves nuts with online video conferencing!)
DCS will be using Zoom to meet during the pandemic. Here are a few tips to make our online meetings go smoothly. Please take a moment to read, to minimize disruptions when we meet.
1. If you have not used Zoom before, please attend a Zoom meeting before your first DCS session. Among other things, this will cause your computer to download the relevant app (it does this automatically when you start a Zoom meeting for the first time on a computer).
2. Most computers now have built-in cameras and microphones. You may find you can hear better, and your own voice likely will sound better, if you use headphones or ear buds with a built-in microphone, but that is not essential. If your computer does not have a camera or you prefer not to turn your camera on (even though we will miss seeing you!), Zoom will display a square with your name and/or number. You also can connect using telephone, which will allow you to hear and be heard, but not to watch or be seen (unless you are using a smart phone).
3. Plan to log on at least five minutes before a meeting is scheduled to start. Zoom has a virtual “waiting room,” from which you will be admitted to the meeting.
4. Please make sure your video image shows your name in your video box. Your displayed name can be changed by clicking on the video icon in the bottom, left-hand corner, and then select “Change Name.” Hover your mouse near the bottom if you don’t the icons. That should make them appear.
5. Usually, meeting participant’s audio will be muted when a meeting starts, so that we all can hear those presenting clearly. If the meeting does open for comments, please be careful to mute yourself if you have not been recognized to speak by the meeting presenter/host to speak to the group. If many people try to speak at once, chaos ensues! (Great for Tenors Club <grin>, but not otherwise!)
6. Zoom has a chat and participant list feature, which you can turn on by clicking the relevant icon at the bottom of your screen. (Hover your mouse near the bottom of the screen to make the icons appear if you don’t see them)). You can use these features to see who is attending, to raise your hand (virtually) if you want to speak and to share comments with other individuals or the group at large without interrupting whoever is speaking at the time. We will try to have one or more people manage the chat discussion, but cannot promise that always will be the case. NOTE that the person presenting at a meeting will not have time and may not have the ability to interact via live chat during the meeting itself.
7. Zoom offers two types of display: (i) showing all participants in a grid (which may need to be scrolled if there are many participants), similar to the old Brady Bunch TV show opening; or (ii) enlarged, emphasized display of the person speaking, with others shown in a scrollable strip of smaller images on the side. On a computer and, possibly, some tablets, you can switch the type of display using an icon on the top, right corner of the main screen. Once again, you may need to hover your mouse in that area of the screen for the icons to appear.
8. Questions about how to use Zoom should be raised well before or after a meeting. Please do not interrupt a meeting by asking questions of the speaker or group at large about Zoom features, display, etc. Otherwise, the meeting will degenerate into “how do I do this” types of questions and disrupt the substantive content of our online meetings. You can try to ask questions in the chat area, but it is far better to deal with such questions well before or after a meeting.
9. While Zoom can be used on smart phones and tablets, some features, like switching video display style, etc., may not be available or may work differently than when you use the Zoom app on a laptop or desktop computer.
10. Zoom has a feature that allows you to create a fake background, using pictures. It can be fun in small group meetings, but can be distracting and, for slower computers, mess up the video image. Please do not use this feature on our large group video meetings.
If you need any help on how to use Zoom, feel free to email one of our board members well before or after a meeting. We will be happy to help.
One of Boston area's premier community choruses, the Dedham Choral Society is widely recognized for excellent musicianship, enjoyable and challenging repertoire, and the enthusiasm and energy of its members.