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

Prepare Your Technology

Equipment Needed:

  • A computer or smartphone with an internet connection (computer with a 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 microphone and speakers, you can join the audio via telephone.

Sign In/Create Your Account

  1. Navigate to
  2. Click Log in to Zoom.
  3. Enter your Penn State Access user ID and password.

Download the Zoom Desktop Application

The Zoom desktop application is a one-time download that 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.

NOTE: There is no separate download for Zoom webinars.

  1. 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

Select Recommended Settings

There are settings in the desktop application that you may want to adjust. First, turn off the full screen setting so you can manually enter/exit full screen as desired. Second, ensure your microphone is muted when you join a meeting so you do not accidentally broadcast your audio. Third, enable the Zoom non-verbal feedback icons. 

  1. Click Settings (gear icon) in the upper right of the Zoom desktop application.
  2. In General settings, uncheck the checkbox for Enter full screen automatically when starting or joining a meeting
  3. To automatically mute your microphone, click the Audio link on the left.
  4. Check the Mute microphone when joining a meeting checkbox.
  5. To enable the nonverbal feedback icons, click the General link on the left.
  6. Click the View More Settings link at the bottom of the window.
  7. The Zoom Web Portal will open in a new browser window or tab.
  8. Scroll down to the Nonverbal feedback option.
  9. Click the grey toggle switch to the right of the setting.
  10. The switch will turn blue, indicating Nonverbal feedback has been enabled.  

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

Complete any activities as instructed prior to logging in for the session. Typically, these 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 need to step away, 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 possible audio delays.

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Teaching and Learning
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