Remote Teaching & Working

Zoombombing in the Classroom? Not On Our Watch

Zoom Update: In response to the issues concerning privacy and security, Zoom has automatically defaulted the as screen sharing settings for Education customers to “Only Host” as of March 26, 2020. To enable participant sharing, please visit the following link:

Yesterday, we discussed the trend of bad actors taking advantage of publicly shared Zoom meetings to take over with unwanted and disruptive screen-shares, called Zoombombing. While it is a trend in with publicly open Zoom meetings, we are in a new age of online learning and students are also testing the waters of these new platforms. Things like limiting your Zoom meeting video to Host Only will not work in an educational setting as we want to encourage student engagement and sharing. Let us look at some ways to limit the disruption of students in our live online learning environments.

As faculty host more synchronous Zoom class sessions, setting expectations (and tech configurations) for optimal online meeting experience is an important consideration. Jason Warner, Executive Director of Academic Technology Services, recommends faculty, “set clear online session behavioral expectations – and meeting settings – for online etiquette, or ‘netiquette.'”


Netiquette: noun (INFORMAL): the correct or acceptable way of communicating on the Internet.The many good resources concerning netiquette for online class meetings. Here are a few we suggest:

If you have students taking advantage of the perceived anonymity of online classes, Jason Warner suggests, “this can be mitigated by setting clear expectations along with requiring registration to join Zoom meetings” Having students register for the class session can be easily accomplished in the initial Zoom meeting configuration and setup.Zoom meeting registration

Managing Participants

Dr. Adeline Tolliver, the Senior Instructional Designer for the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), suggested many issues, “can also be addressed in-meeting with Zoom settings” She has several ideas for limiting disruptions.

In the Manage Participants area, a faculty member is able to Lock the Meeting, which blocks students from logging in, even if they have a meeting ID and link. Also, “try giving students 5 minutes to log into the session and to change their names in Zoom to reflect their personal names which can count for their class attendance.” After that, “you can disable their ability to change their name,” which could limit a student from trying to elicit giggles with name changes.

Another suggestion is to “mute all students and disable their ability to unmute themselves.” As an instructor, you can direct them to Raise a Hand in the Participants area. While you will have to manually unmute them to answer any questions, it will keep them from talking over each other. “By the way, Zoom keeps track of the queue of questions. So, the first ones to raise their digital hand will be listed on top of the Participants tab.”

Dr. Tolliver also wanted to remind instructors that while the class is virtual, students are still expected to follow the Student Code of Conduct. If a student was too act out during a Zoom session behaved that way in a face-to-face class, “they would surely be sent to an Academic Conduct review because that behavior is unacceptable.”

If you have additional questions about using Zoom, setting expectations, or managing participants, please feel free to contact your local Academic Technology Service Directors (ATSD) or the CTE.

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is an Adobe Creative Educator and the Senior IT Communications Specialist & Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). For over 25 years, he has helped the SMU community use technology and implement digital and web media through multiple roles with the Digital Commons, SMU STAR Program, and now OIT. Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family in his free time.