Prepare to Attend Class Online

Please follow the preparation steps on this page. Because you will be in trio with your classmates and participating in large group sharing, your full preparation ensures a graceful, quality experience for us all as well as for you.

So that we can place you in online trios, each student must attend from their own computer even if physically in the same location as a classmate, so please plan accordingly.

If you do not attend a live orientation, please watch the video below and follow along—completing each action yourself—prior to attending class. Feel free to pause or slow down the video using the controls if you need more time, or speed it up if this comes easily to you.

Logins

You need two logins to attend class—your USM membership login and a Zoom login. These logins are completely separate.

Log in to USM for Handouts

You can access your USM membership at my.universityofsantamonica.edu
You have 3 options to log in—with Facebook, with Google, or with email and password. We created your membership with the email we use to contact you, so any login option you choose for USM will need to match that email address.

  • If you want to log in with Facebook, go to facebook.com/settings to see your primary email on Facebook and change it as needed to match what we have.
  • If you want to log in with Google, the email we have must be a gmail address or Google Apps account email.
  • If you’d like to change the email you use to log in and receive communication from USM, contact Kevin Walsh at info@universityofsantamonica.edu

Log in to Zoom to Join Class

If you have not already…

Then click Your Classroom Zoom Link from your Class Live page and log in to your Zoom account. The Class Live page will be linked from reminder emails we send you and from my.universityofsantamonica.edu

Be sure to join class with a Zoom account whose display name matches your name on the class list so the waiting room monitor knows to let you in. To see and edit your Zoom display name, go to zoom.us/profile. Please fill in your display name as “FirstName LastName | Location” e.g. “Kevin Walsh | Santa Monica”: this will serve as your name tag.

Video Guide for Logging in to Join Class

Video Contents
  • 0:00 Overview, navigating video
  • 1:13 Class reminder email, Class Live page
  • 2:03 USM login for Handouts, Zoom login for Classroom Zoom Link
  • 2:30 Social Login (Facebook/Google) instead of a new password
  • 2:42 Accessing Handouts (Logging in to USM)
    • 2:46 Navigate in separate tabs, always keeping the Class Live page open
    • 3:17 Log in with an account associated with the correct email address
      • 3:46 Before logging in to USM with Facebook, check and change primary email at facebook.com/settings
      • 4:17 Logged in but not with student account
      • 5:26 Log in with Google
      • 5:38 Log in with email & password
        • 6:09 Check Remember Me to log in less often
    • 6:40 Navigating back to the handouts page
  • 7:37 Joining Class via Zoom
    • 8:07 Downloading and installing Zoom
    • 9:47 Creating a Zoom account
    • 10:40 Clicking Your Classroom Zoom Link: what can happen
      • 10:56 Zoom is not installed
      • 11:26 Zoom is installed but not signed in
      • 12:40 Stuck in the waiting room
        • 13:32 Change your display name at zoom.us/profile
        • 15:00 Leave meeting, switch account, rejoin

Prepare Your Space

  1. Ensure you attend from a private, quiet, well-lit space that has consistently strong internet, and where you will not be interrupted.
  2. Make agreements with others to ensure no interruptions during all class session times. Treat this just like attending class in person. Place a “do not disturb” sign on the door or similar if that will support you.
  3. Choose a space where you will feel safe to share fully.
  4. Download this month’s handouts. You’ll find your handouts linked from your Class Live page. If you find it supportive, print and organize them in a binder.
  5. Have a pen and paper ready to take notes, or your preferred note-taking method.
  6. You may want to have a candle ready to light during class.
  7. Give yourself some room to stretch and dance during our energy breaks!
  8. Call in the Light and perform clearings regularly, including before and after each class session.

Hardware

  1. A computer is required (not a phone or tablet).
    • Any computer that can run the latest version of the Zoom will do. You can view Zoom requirements here.
    • Attending via phone or tablet is not ideal because you will be working with multiple windows simultaneously—a Zoom video meeting plus an internet browser; and, if you choose, digital handouts and a place to take notes.
  2. A consistently reliable internet connection is required.
    • The link above has Zoom’s requirements—at least a consistent 3Mbps up and down per person for top quality. Most internet connections vary in speed based on local usage, so at least 10Mbps up and down is ideal for consistent quality.
    • You can test your internet connection by Googling speed test and clicking the RUN SPEED TEST button. Also test your connection with a Zoom call (more below).
  3. A headset, headphones, or earbuds are required during trios to ensure quality and privacy, and to avoid feedback/echos from trio radio.
    • We recommend a quality headset. You can see our recommended headsets here. Use promo code USM20 for 20% off. You can use the discount on any products on the site, not just our recommendations.
    • Listening and being heard clearly are crucial to this work. A quality headset will help keep the focus on the person sharing without distractions of audio quality.
    • Microphones built into even high-end laptops are often poor quality and generally not recommended.
    • Comfort is important as you’ll be wearing these for hours at a time.
    • If you have a comfortable set of headphones or earbuds and an external mic, you’re probably all set: be sure to test (more below).
  4. A webcam is nice to have, e.g. Logitech c920.
    • Even high-end laptops often have poor cameras that require a great deal of front lighting to avoid your appearing grainy or in shadow.
    • Buying even an inexpensive webcam can improve quality considerably with less need for lighting improvements.
  5. Consider a ring light to improve your front lighting if your image still appears grainy or in shadow.

Software

Download the Zoom client: go to zoom.us/download from your computer. Version 5.10.3 or higher is required.

Complete a Test Zoom Call & Configure Zoom Settings

  1. Open the Zoom application on your computer and log in to your account.
  2. Complete a test call with some lovely people.
  3. Check that Zoom is using your intended devices, e.g. headset and external webcam, as it may have defaulted to the lower quality built-in options. You can do this by clicking the ^ next to the mute and video buttons in the lower-left of the Zoom window.
  4. Check your shot and adjust as needed:
    1. Is your face well lit?
      Add lighting in front of you and turn off lights behind you as needed.
    2. Is your camera at or close to eye level?
      Raise your camera to eye level.
    3. Is enough of your torso in the shot to capture gesturing?
      Aim to include your whole torso down to your navel and to have 5–10% headspace in your shot.
    4. Is your background tidy and appropriate?
  5. Check that you can all hear and see each other clearly:
    1. You are not quieter than the rest when you speak.
    2. All faces are well lit and meet the other shot guidelines above.
    3. As needed, click the ^ next to the microphone or camera icons in the lower left of the Zoom window to change your camera, microphone, or speakers and to visit the audio settings.
  6. Find and test the Raise Hand button. This is how you will raise your hand for large group sharing. You will find the button at the bottom of your Zoom window, possibly under Reactions.
  7. Check your name in the Participant panel, that it shows as FirstName LastName | Location. If you have not already, set your display name to include location at zoom.us/profile so you don’t have to set it each time you re-enter the class Zoom meeting.
  8. Find and test the chat. There may be times you want to copy something from the chat and paste it in your notes. Give that a try as well.
  9. You’ll see controls for muting and unmuting yourself and turning your video on and off. We ask that you keep your camera on at all times during the class so we can see your faces.
  10. Click ^ to the right of camera icon and click “Video Settings…”
    1. Check “Always display participant name on their videos.” These will serve as our name tags.
    2. Under Audio settings:
      —Check “Join audio by computer when joining a meeting”
      —Uncheck “Automatically adjust microphone volume” and ensure mic volume is adjusted appropriately: when you speak, green bars should light up. When you speak loudly, the second highest green bar should light up but not the final bar. For most people, turning the mic volume nearly all the way up will achieve this. Test with people after making adjustments.

USM Online Class FAQs

In-Classroom Experience

Q:
How can I best prepare myself for the technological aspects of class on Zoom?

A:
Great question!  Please complete the preparation steps above on this page and attend orientation to ensure a smooth and Grace-filled online experience.

Q:
How do I set-up my Zoom classroom name tag?

A:
For every class, please set-up your classroom name tag according to the format of: FirstName LastName | Location e.g. “Kevin Walsh | Santa Monica”. You can change your display name at zoom.us/profile so this will happen automatically each time you re-enter the class Zoom meeting. 

Q:
How do I place my computer on “Do Not Disturb” mode?

A:
We highly recommend placing your computer in “Do Not Disturb” mode, including silencing sounds and pausing notifications from applications, to support your experience of ease and focus in the classroom.

On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Notifications > Turn on Do Not Disturb in Notification Center.

On a PC, you can activate Focus Assist by right clicking on the notification icon on the taskbar. Select “off” to put it in the Do Not Disturb mode.

Placing your computer in Do Not Disturb mode will not mute the audio for Zoom. Not all applications and browser tabs will respect this setting, so be sure to also close everything unrelated to class.

Q:
How do I access USM Trio Radio?

A:
To access USM Trio Radio, click on Trio Radio at the top of your class live page.

Press stop, then press play. Please repeat that process before each trio in case you lost the connection at any point. You will know it is playing by seeing a little green dot in the upper left-hand corner of the play button.

We’ll let you know when it’s time to do this and remind you how.

Q:
Where is the volume control for USM Trio Radio?

A:
There is a sliding volume adjuster to the right of the stop button. This slider controls the volume for the bell and timing instructions during trios.

Q:
What if I don’t hear USM Trio Radio?

A:
We recommend clicking stop then play again before each trio in case the connection drops. You will know it is playing by seeing a little green dot in the upper left-hand corner of the play button. Trio Radio will broadcast audio instructions and timing during trios and broadcast silence otherwise. If it’s not working, hold shift and click refresh, then click stop, then play. If it’s still not working, please be assured you’ll still receive instructions during the trio on the top of your Zoom window.

Q:
How do I share in the main classroom?

A:
To share or ask a question, use the “Raise Hand” button. This will bring your name to the top of the participants list so Ron & Mary can call on you. You can find the Raise Hand button at the bottom of your Zoom window. You may need to select the Zoom window and hover the mouse over it for controls to show. You may need to click … More in order to see the option.

Q:
Is class being recorded?

A:
Only the main classroom is recorded, for internal purposes. We will not use these recordings for anything else without your permission. Processes that take place in breakout rooms (trios) are not recorded.

Q:
What happens if I didn’t get a breakout room for a trio?

A:
Please wait patiently and we will place you.

Q:
If one of my trio partners needs additional support during a trio process, what do I do?

A:
Please click the “Raise Hand” button. An assistant will join you in your trio breakout room to speak with you.

Resources

Q:
Where can I find the class handouts?

A:
Click on Handouts at the top of your class live page.

We will email you after they are up.


Additional Support

Please utilize the support of the software and hardware you’re using first. They are better suited to support you than we are.

If you need to contact USM…

  • Tech Support: info@universityofsantamonica.edu
  • Everything Else: student.advisor@universityofsantamonica.edu
    Or call us at +1 (310) 829-7402