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How to avoid Zoom waiting rooms

Many Boise State users experienced a new feature in Zoom last week: the waiting room. Specifically, getting stuck in a waiting room while trying to join a meeting, or entering a meeting as a host, but unable to access host controls.

The simple way to reduce waiting room inconvenience is to make sure that hosts, designated alternate hosts and participants are signed in to Zoom before starting, joining or clicking a link to a scheduled meeting.

The simple way to avoid the waiting room

Users should sign in to Zoom with their Boise state email address and password before starting, joining or clicking a meeting link to a Zoom meeting.

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recommends signing in to Zoom when individuals sign in to email, Blackboard and other services. Signing in to Zoom prior to starting, joining or clicking a link to a meeting means:

Meeting hosts (staff, faculty, instructors): when signed in to Zoom as a host or designated alternate host those individuals will be granted full security controls when you start, join, or click a link to a Zoom meeting.

Meeting participants with a Boise State Zoom account (all students, faculty, instructors and staff): when signed in to Zoom and click to join a Zoom meeting, these individuals enter the meeting directly, bypassing the waiting room and having access to fully participate in chat and screen sharing as the host allows.

How to sign in to Zoom

Simply sign in to Zoom at https://boisestate.zoom.us with a Boise State email address and password.

On April 17, OIT added a link to Zoom from the services menu on the employee and student landing pages in myBoiseState. Those who customize their service menu will have to manually add Zoom to their services menu.

A note to instructors and students using zoom in Blackboard

Students should sign in to Zoom before joining a Zoom meeting via Blackboard.

OIT recommends faculty and instructors use the Zoom Blackboard LTI in the Blackboard course shell to schedule Zoom meetings. This automatically adds faculty T.A.s as an alternate host.

OIT staff also recommend assigning a co-host as soon as each Zoom meeting (class) begins. This allows faculty and instructors to focus on teaching and learning and the co-host can moderate technical aspects of the Zoom meeting. A co-host can be assigned during the Zoom meeting from the “Manage Participants” tab.

When scheduling a Zoom meeting in the Zoom portal, simply add a student, instructor or staff member as an “alternative host” to allow them to start the Zoom meeting themselves (in case the lead faculty member is running late, for example). The alternative host must be signed in to Zoom with their Boise State email address prior to the meeting to be able to start a meeting on the host’s behalf.

Why Does Boise State utilize waiting rooms?

The waiting room feature is an important security addition to minimize the potential of uninvited participants disrupting university Zoom meetings and classes. Yes, it’s different from the “open to all” concept campus experienced initially using Zoom, during which users didn’t have to sign in, but this is also how some meetings on campus were “Zoombombed” by uninvited guests who disrupted meetings. The waiting room is enabled for all Boise State Zoom meetings and can not be disabled.

Individuals also may be interested to learn how to “Secure Your Zoom Meetings,” which includes details on the waiting room and security tab for hosts, or basic tips and information about using Zoom at Boise State. OIT also has a detailed “how to” documentation in its knowledge base.