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Library Skills: live online training guide

Guidance, best practices and suggestions on how to design and deliver live online library skills training.


Zoom is a very popular platform and has lots of interactive features. It is also the most reliable platform for access from China.

Getting started with Zoom

Steps for getting started with Zoom:

For guidance, support information and full instructions on anything to do with Zoom see the following:

Zoom Pros and Cons


  • This is the most stable platform for staff and students located in China.
  • Interactive features include whiteboard, raise hand option, chat function, share screen, upload documents, polling, timer and the ability to allocate breakout groups either automatically or manually.
  • You can record sessions, with videos being stored on the UCL server for a year and possible to download.
  • There is automatic captioning for live meetings and archived videos.
  • You can automatically download the transcript of the chat.
  • Zoom is widely used and many staff and students are familiar with it.
  • Up to 300 participants can be accommodated.
  • You can download a report of those who participated.
  • It is web-based so there is no need to install software, although it is recommended to download the free app.
  • It is integrated with Moodle.
  • Zoom online help is excellent and comprehensive.


  • Dial in available only available if you have a Zoom phone licence.
  • The UCL Licence is for only 1 year initially, so support may only be temporary.

Further information

Case studies:

Chris Evans of the UCL Interaction Centre has recorded a series of youtube videos on Zoom for Teaching.

Zoom account settings

Check your Zoom account settings are correct for the way you wish the session to work. These can be set by logging into the web portal, clicking on Settings and going to the 'Meeting' tab. For example you may wish to:

  • Mute all participants when they join a meeting.
  • Disable private chat.
  • Auto-save chat. See more about saving the chat.
  • Non-verbal feedback. (This gives additional feedback in the participants panel, including thumbs up and down, go slower, etc).
  • Allow annotations, depending on any activites you have planned..
  • Set your virtual background.
  • Closed captioning (See Enabling autocaptions in Zoom)
  • Allow participants to join without downloading the Zoom app (Show a "Join from your browser" link).
  • If your event requires Breakout rooms, remember to enable breakout rooms.

Interactivity in Zoom

Zoom has lots of interactive features that can be used creatively to provide active learning in training sessions. The following are links to guidance from Zoom:

Zoom polls

Zoom Meetings has an integrated poll feature which is very easy to use. Polls are a great way to introduce interaction into a session 

Poll tips

  • You can add up to 10 questions to a single poll which will all be displayed at the same time. This can be useful, for example, if you do a poll at the start of your session to find out about your audience. You could ask them their year of study, the faculty they are from, if they are studying onsite or remotely, etc.
  • If you want to ask questions at different points in your session, you should set them up as separate polls. You can have up to 25 polls in a single meeting.
  • Polls will be listed in the order in which you enter them and you cannot change that order. If you are using lots of polls, therefore, you might want to try to enter them in the order in which you will use them so as not to get confused.
  • You can download a report with the responses to the polls after your meeting. (See 'Reports and attendance figures' below').
  • FInd out more: Zoom polling for meetings

Enabling autocaptions in Zoom

For auto-captions to be available in a Zoom meeting, they need to be enabled by the meeting host:

First ensure they are turned on in your account settings (this is the default at UCL):

  • Log in to your Zoom account.
  • From the menu on the left select Settings.
  • Click on In meeting (Advanced).
  • Under 'Closed captioning', toggle the switch to allow closed captions.
  • Check the box Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting. By default, this should already be selected for UCL accounts.

Then, from within your Zoom meeting:

  • Click on the CC Live Transcript button and then on Enable Auto-transcription. This will mean any participants have the option to display subtitles or a full transcript.

There are various personal settings that you or any participant can change for their own view by clicking on the little arrow on the CC LIve Transcript button:

  • Hide or show subtites.
  • View entire transcript in right-hand panel. (Please note, UCL has not activated the facility to save the transcript).
  • Click on Subtitle settings.... to change the size of the subtitles as they appear on your own device.

Saving the chat

In your Zoom settings you can allow attendees to save the chat, and you can also auto-save the chat transcript for hosts. This could be helpful:

  • If you are sharing lots of links attendees might benefit from being able to save the chat themselves.
  • You want to have a record of the types of questions that come up.
  • You might be including an activity that requires attendees to write in chat -  a record of it could be useful to both you and attendees.

Please note:

  • You might not want to allow students to save the chat, if you have any concerns over privacy for example. In this case, you can disable participants from saving chat in your account settings.
  • If you do allow participants to save chat you might want to inform participants. This means that participants are aware that their chat comments might be saved.
  • There is no requirement for trainers to save the chat.and a central pool of chat transcripts is not required.
  • If any questions or comments come up in the chat that could usefully inform the development of our sessions, those individual comments could be shared on the appropriate Team or Channel.

For saving chats in a Zoom meeting, this needs to first be enabled by the meeting host's account settings:

  • Log in to your Zoom account.
  • From the menu on the left select Settings.
  • Click on In meeting (Basic).
  • Under 'Chat', uncheck the box Prevent participants from saving chat. This will mean attendees can save chat.

For Zoom to automatically save your chat and store it locally on your computer:

  • Under 'Auto save chats' toggle the switch so that chats will be saved automatically for the meeting host.
  • The default save location is your Documents folder / Zoom / Folder with meeting date, time and name. To change the default chat save location follow these instructions to view the recording path or change the default.


Attendance figures

After your event you can download reports, including a list of participants and results from any polls. Reports can be retrieved for the last 12 months with a search range of up to one month at a time.

Getting a list / number of participants:

This is useful for recording attendance figures for training statistics purposes.

  • Log in to your Zoom account.
  • From the menu on the left, click on Reports.
  • Click on Usage.
  • Search for the date of your session.
  • Click on the number of participants in the 'Participants' column.
  • Check the Show unique users box. This is important in case people dropped in and out of the session and therefore appear more than once.
  • Click on Export to export the data as a .csv file.

Saving results of a poll:

  • Log in to your Zoom account.
  • From the menu on the left, click on Reports.
  • Click on Meeting.
  • Select the Poll report radio button.
  • Search for the date of your session.
  • Click on Generate.
  • Your report will appear in the Report Queue tab, from where you can click on Download to download it as a .csv file.