Everything you need to know about learning with Virtual Classrooms

Participating in a Zoom Virtual Classroom

This guide shows you how to participate in a Zoom virtual classroom.
To fully participate in a Zoom virtual classroom, it is recommended that you work from a computer enabled with a webcam, speakers, and a microphone. You may also like to use a headset or a headphone with an attached speaker.

Please note that Zoom and other VU Collaborate functionality should only be used on Google Chrome. Make sure to update Google Chrome regularly for usability and security.

This guide covers the following topics, use these links for easier navigation:

Related guide:


 First time using Zoom?

If this is your first time using Zoom you will need to download the Zoom Desktop Client, then Sign in to the VU Zoom Portal.

  1. Go to VU Zoom Portal -
  2. Click Download Client, and follow the instructions to install
  3. From the VU Zoom Portal, click Sign-in and login with your Student UserID and Password
  4. Optionally you can edit settings, access and schedule meetings. 
  5. Your account is now configured to VU, and you may now close the window.

Press Sign In on VUs Zoom Webpage

Access a Zoom Virtual Classroom

  1. In a unit space, on the navbar, select Communication then Zoom Classroom.
  2. From the list of scheduled Zoom meetings, select Join, to launch your virtual classroom.
  3. Select the Open Zoom Meetings.
  4. If the session has not yet started, you may see a notice asking you to wait.
  5. When started, the Zoom Meeting window will open.
  6. On entering, check that your microphone is on mute and that your video is on



The chat allows you to post messages to everyone, or just your host (teacher), to share text, links, documents and/or screenshots.

  • In the meetings toolbar, click Chat (1)
  • Enter text, links, and/or drag and drop files into the text input box (2)
  • Select to format text (3), add emojis (4), files (5), and/or take screenshots (6) 
  • Select to share with everyone, or just the host (teacher)
  • Press Enter to post and share

 chat to enter text emoji documents and screenshots



Reactions allow you to provide quick responses in meetings.

1. In the meetings toolbar, click Reactions (1), then select a reaction, that will be displayed on the screen.

select reactions

  • Most will be displayed for 15 seconds before vanishing.
    • Clap Emoji  Clapping hands - to congratulate.
    • Thumbs Up Emoji  Thumbs Up - to agree with a discussion or comment.
    • Joy Emoji  Joy - to express that something was hilarious or joyful.
    • Open Mouth Emoji  Open Mouth - to express shock or surprise.
    • Heart Emoji  Heart - to express that you loved something. 
    • Tada Emoji  Tada - to celebrate a joyful moment 

  • Others will stay until they are unselected.
    • raised hand Raise Hand - to ask a question or join in the discussion. 
    • yes  Yes 
    • no  No 
    • I am away  I'm away


Share Screen and Files 

During a Zoom session, you may share your screen, or opened applications with other participants.

  • 1. In the meetings toolbar, click Share Screen (1)
  • 2. Select to share a Screen (2), Whiteboard, application or another option.
  • 3. If you want to share a video or sound from your computer, tick to select Share Sound and Optimize for video clip (3)
  • 4. When ready, click Share (4).

share screen

3. If you would like to select another view besides Basic, you can select either Advanced or Files.

Advanced options will allow you to select an array of particular sharing settings such as allowing a slide to display as your virtual background.   



You may use Annotate to make notes, drawings, and/or add arrows on the share screen during a virtual classroom session.

  • If you are sharing - select Annotate from the toolbar
  • If you are viewing a share - from the top of the window, select View Options (1) then Annotate (2).

from view options select annotate

annotation tools 

  • Mouse
  • Select - Select and move annoations.
  • Text - Type a message onto the screen.
  • Draw - Draw or create shapes.
  • Stamp - Select ticks, stars and other options
  • Spotlight - Spotlight pointer, and Arrow - Named arrow stamp
  • Eraser - Clear your annotations. 
  • Colour- Select the colour of shapes, and the colour and font size of text
  • Undo/Redo - Undo or redo the latest annotation you have performed. 
  • Clear - This will provide you with further 'clear' options.
  • Save - Download the annotated screen share, as a PNG or PDF.
  • Close - close the toolbar

If you do not have the annotation option available you may need to check your Zoom account.

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal as in step 3. ( 
  • In the navigation panel, click Settings.
  • Click the Meeting tab.
  • Under Meeting (Basic), verify that Annotation is enabled.
  • If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialogue displays, click Turn On to verify the change.


Breakout Rooms

During your Zoom class, your academic may want you to do group work in Zoom breakout rooms.

7.1 Joining a Breakout Room

1. The host will need to invite you to join the breakout room.

2. Press Join once the pop-up appears on your screen.

Join Breakout Room Click Join

3. If you select Not Now, you can join a Breakout Room by selecting the Breakout Rooms button on the bottom zoom toolbar.

Select Breakout Rooms on the Zoom toolbar

4. Select Join to enter your Breakout Room. You should see your name next to a room identifying which room you should join. 

Click Join to enter your breakout room

7.2 Participating in Zoom Breakout Room

Once you have joined the breakout room, you will have full controls similar to the meeting. You can:

Zoom Toolbar

  • Mute/Unmute to speak
  • Start/Stop Video/Camera
  • Participants - view the Participants list
  • Chat - type messages to the other participants in your breakout room
  • Share screen 
  • Ask For Help - request the host for help.
  • Reactions - virtual emotes
  • Record - you can record the Breakout Room locally if the host gives you recording permission. Read more about local recordings.

7.3 Asking for Help

You can request your host or academic to enter your Breakout Room if you require assistance.

1. Within the Breakout Room, select Ask for Help on the Zoom toolbar.

participant options for asking host for help in breakout room

2. A pop-up box will appear on your screen asking you to invite your host into your session. Select Invite Host.

Ask for help invite host pop up

Once sent, you might have to wait for a certain amount of time for your host to arrive.

7.4 Recording while in a Zoom Breakout Room

If you are a participant in a Zoom breakout room then the host needs to allow recording before opening the breakout rooms. If the host has already opened the breakout rooms, they can join your breakout room to allow you to record.

Select Record on the Zoom Navbar

1. Click Record in the meeting controls to start a local recording.
2. The host will need to invite you to join the breakout room.
3. Click the pause or stop icon in the meeting controls to pause or stop the recording.

Select the Pause Resume Stop button to pause resume or stop the recordingjpg

The recording can also be stopped or paused by clicking the indicator in the top left corner of the Zoom page.

It's important to note that Zoom Recording is not available within most courses at VU. VU Polytechnic courses are allowed to be recorded in certain units.

7.5 Leaving the Breakout Room

You can leave the breakout room and return to the main meeting session at any time, or you can leave the meeting entirely from the breakout room.

1. Select Leave Room, then Leave Breakout Room

Select Leave Room

Select to Leave Meeting or Leave Breakout Room

3. When the host ends the breakout rooms, you will be notified and given the option to return to the main room immediately, or in 60 seconds. You may select Leave Breakout Room to instantly leave it.

If the Breakout Room is being closed you may select to leave before the coutdown is complete

Step Eight: Leave a Session 

1. Click on Leave at the bottom right window.

2. Then click on Leave.

Zoom Update Leavebutton