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Video Conferencing: Keep hackers out of your virtual classroom with four do’s and don’ts

I’ve heard people saying recently, “My video conference was hacked, and there were some really nasty things said and shared!” This is a teacher’s worst nightmare when leading a video conference with students. You can never be too careful!

Our world has changed significantly and swiftly since the introduction of COVID-19 a few weeks ago. Much of the country and the world is social distancing or self quarantining as we all deal with a virus that our bodies are not ready to handle. We find ourselves at home doing all of the things we typically did in our normal lives, only in a new way…and that includes work and school.

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Adobe Connect are seeing massive increases in their user base due to increased numbers of people working from home. With this explosion in the use of technologies that are not always familiar to those using them, some quick tips for using video conferencing services might be helpful.

When creating your meeting, follow these four DO’s and DON’Ts. Most services should have some way to manage users in various stages of joining your meeting. If your specific tool does not allow for the following, you might consider choosing a different tool or at least think about the needs of your meeting space or room.

1. DO NOT put the link to your meeting out on a public page like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media location where anyone can access it unless you are holding a large public meeting. The best way is to directly invite attendees to your meeting individually either through an email or direct message.

2. DO require a meeting password, and give it to your intended attendees. That way those without the password cannot get in at all. This will ensure that your meeting room contains ONLY those whom you want in the room.

3. DO NOT allow your attendees to enter the room and interact before you as the host join the meeting. This could create an uncomfortable situation if there is no moderator to handle a sticky subject that may arise.

4. DO enable a waiting room feature where your attendees must wait to be added to the room once they join. This will give you as the host the ability to only allow users into the room who are intended to be there.

Bonus: As an added recommendation, you might consider looking for a setting that mutes the microphone and/or video of your attendees as they enter the room. This will keep the caos down as the meeting begins.

Be careful out there. With as much good that is going on in eLearning, education, and work, there is an equal amount (if not more) bad happening. This is a new world, and there are people who will take advantage of the lack of knowledge!!

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