Recommendations for faculty to prevent disruptions in online classrooms

Mar 19, 2020 | News, Tips/How-to

Please be aware that some faculty have experienced online classroom “raiding” by participants who are not enrolled in the course, nor at Penn State. These are individuals who have managed to obtain Zoom class information and have chosen to participate for the purposes of disruption.   

Currently, we do not have the technical mechanisms to block such participants. Below are recommendations to help instructors manage and prevent this type of disruption as proactively, quietly, and as swiftly, as possible. These are only recommendations and we expect that each instructor will make the best decisions for their course in keeping with University policy and protocols.    

  1. As an instructor, you have the capacity to manage who can fully participate in Zoom discussions, including muting students and other participants. Here is how to mute and unmute participants 
  2. Should a disruption occur, consider muting the participant as swiftly as appropriate. If the student is enrolled, email the student following the course, clarify why the student was muted, and remind them of appropriate conduct and expectations. More information can be found in the Student Code of Conduct 
  3. In real time, if possible, acknowledge the disruption, apologize to the class and continue with instruction with remaining participants. Serious violations of conduct may require a greater level of verbal discussion. 
  4. Remind students of student conduct information at the start of each class session and let them know the you will exercise your responsibility as an instructor to mute those who are disruptive or otherwise inappropriately interrupt classroom operations. You may want to email the class the link to the student code (see Section IV) and remind students that the Student Code of Conduct applies to the remote learning environment.  

Other helpful knowledge base articles on how to control access to Zoom meetings: