This document reviews recommended tools, equipment, settings, and best practices for participating in Zoom video conferences.

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Prepare Your Technology

Equipment Needed:

  • A computer with an internet connection (wired connection preferred)
  • Speakers and a microphone: built-in or USB plug-in headset (recommended)
  • Webcam (optional): built-in or USB plug-in
  • Dual monitors (optional; participants find it easier to follow along with two monitors)

NOTE: If you do not have a computer microphone and speakers, you can join a meeting using the telephone.

Activate Your Account

  1. Navigate to the Zoom Web Portal at
  2. Click Sign In (Configure your account).
  3. Enter your Penn State Access user id and password.

NOTE: Do not navigate to to activate your Penn State Zoom account. You will not have access to the features and tools available through Penn State’s Zoom Enterprise account.

Download the Zoom Desktop Application

The Zoom desktop application is a one-time download that does not require administrative rights to download and install on your computer. Downloading and installing the desktop application will ensure you have the best possible Zoom meeting or webinar experience. To download the Zoom application on your mobile device, visit the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android and search for Zoom.

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to .
  2. Click the Download button for Zoom Client for Meetings. There is no separate download for Zoom webinar.
  3. Follow the prompts to download and install Zoom.

If you have difficulty downloading and installing Zoom, please contact the IT Service Desk

Sign In to the Zoom Desktop Application

It is not necessary to sign in to the desktop application when joining someone else's meeting or webinar. However, if you select specific settings in the application according to your personal preferences, signing in to the application before joining a meeting will ensure your personal preferences are maintained when joining someone else's meeting.

  1. If necessary, open the Zoom desktop application from your computer's programs list.
  2. Click Sign in.
  3. Click Sign In with SSO.
  4. When prompted to enter your company domain, type PSU.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Enter your Penn State WebAccess account User ID and Password.
  7. The Zoom Desktop Application is displayed.

Zoom desktop application

If you have uploaded a profile picture in the Zoom Web Portal, your picture will appear in the Zoom Desktop application.

Select Recommended Settings

There are several settings in the desktop application that you may want to adjust prior to joining a meeting or webinar. First, the Zoom window is displayed in full-screen mode on your computer by default whenever anyone shares their screen. Turn off this default setting so you can manually enter/exit full screen as desired during the meeting. Second, make sure you don’t accidentally broadcast your audio by ensuring your microphone is always muted when you join a meeting. Third, enable the Zoom non-verbal feedback icons. Your instructor may ask you to use the non-verbal feedback icons, such as Yes, No, Agree, Disagree, etc. during a meeting.

  1. Open the Zoom desktop application from your computer’s programs list.
  2. If necessary, follow the steps above to sign in with SSO.
  3. Click Settings (gear icon) in the upper right of the Zoom desktop application.
  4. To turn off the full-screen default settings, click the General option on the left, if necessary.
  5. In the Content Sharing section, uncheck the checkboxes for Enter full screen automatically when starting or joining a meeting and Enter full screen automatically when viewing screen shared by others.
  6. To automatically mute your microphone, click the Audio option on the left.
  7. Check the Always mute microphone when joining a meeting checkbox.
  8. To enable the nonverbal feedback icons, click the General option on the left.
  9. Click the Enable Advanced Features link below the Content Sharing section.
  10. The Zoom Web Portal will open in a new browser window or tab.
  11. Scroll to the Nonverbal feedback option.
  12. Click the grey button to the right of the setting.
  13. The button will turn blue, indicating the setting has been saved.

Nonverbal feedback option displaying blue indicator

Become Familiar with the Basics of Zoom

During the session, you may use a variety of interactive Zoom features, such as chat, raising your hand, and sharing your screen. If you are not familiar with the basics of Zoom:

Complete the Pre-session Activities

Please complete any activities as instructed prior to logging in for the session. Typically, any pre-session activities are emailed to you in advance of the session.

Prepare Your Environment

  • Join the session in a private room if possible, or let others in your office/work area know you are participating in an online session.
  • Post a sign on your door or outside your cubicle.
  • Remove all distractions from your desk.
  • Turn off email and instant messaging tools.
  • Turn ringers off on your desk phone and cell phone.
  • Use a headset to minimize disruptions to those around you.

Follow Guidelines for Online Etiquette

  • Mute your microphone when you are not speaking.
  • Participate and be prepared to be called on by name.
  • Raise your hand if you have an immediate question or comment.
  • Be patient waiting for a response to your chat message.
  • If you must leave the program, use the Away nonverbal feedback icon.
  • Provide your name when participating and respond using a person’s name.
  • Do not interrupt other speakers; allow time for transmission in delays.
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Training for: 
Type of Training: 
Training Topic: 
Teaching and Learning
Service or Technology: