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Zoom - update on student screen sharing

08 Oct 2020

Media Services in the process of licensing all students so screen sharing can be re-enabled

Dear colleagues,

Please be aware the recent update to Zoom could mean it does not work in the same way it had been doing previously in relation to screen sharing in breakout rooms. 

It’s come to light that there was an anomaly in older versions of the Zoom application which allowed students to screen share in breakout rooms, bypassing the need to make them co-hosts to do so.  As some users had been using Zoom this way, the assumption was that this was a built in feature. 

This was actually a loophole that has been identified by Zoom and closed in the most up to date version which has rolled out over the last few days. This means that for some colleagues Zoom may not work in the same way it had been doing; unless you give participants the appropriate permissions (make them co-host) they will not be able to share screens in breakout rooms.

We are aware that student screen sharing is an essential factor of many teaching sessions. To make this easier, Media Services are in the process of licensing all students for Zoom which will take a little time to complete. Once this has been completed, there is a security feature that can be switched on when scheduling sessions – only authenticated users can join. When this is enabled only participants with a University of Manchester account will be able to join a session. 

This being the case, the current restriction on screen sharing without first giving the permission to be a co-host can be lifted if you would prefer it. To request this, contact mediaservices@manchester.ac.uk. However, until all students are licensed, it is important that those scheduling and hosting sessions are vigilant with the waiting room and/or passcodes, to avoid any unauthorised guests. 

In addition, it would be wise to familiarise yourself with and take advantage of the in-meeting security features such as enabling/disabling screen sharing and chat as required (using the security options, next to the participants button when in a session). Keeping your version of Zoom up to date is essential for security patches and we recommend that you check regularly for updates. 

We would also strongly encourage you to advise all students to obtain their Zoom license by visiting Zoom.us and signing up for an account with their University email address.

Best wishes

Trevor Byrne

Head of Media Services