Tips and Resources -Virtual Gatherings
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Methods of Connecting
Here are some of the most commonly used video meeting platforms
- Zoom: Various plans available (Free and Paid Versions) New to Zoom? Here's a quick start guide
- Google Meet (Free; basic platform and only host must have gmail account to join call) Here's their quick start guide
- Microsoft Teams (Free, and must sign up, convenient in Microsoft-centric environment)
- Skype (Free, best option for those calling in from overseas, mobile friendly and free)
- Go To Meeting (starts at $12/month)
Before you meet
- As organizer, become familiar with features of meeting app you use, and how features may enhance your experience depending on the platform. For example, if you wish to host an all Lagunita Mini-Reunion you might go with Zoom that enables breakout rooms and breakout by individual dorms (Adelfa, Eucalipto, Granada, Naranja, Ujamaa, etc.). Alternatively, Google Meet's free version has maximum of 100 participants and 1 hour maximum length.
- Consider the ease of use and accessibility of it to your group members.
- Consider adding security to your gathering by adding a password. If you do add a password, be aware that some group members may need extra support signing into your online event.
- Organizer should send an email invitation with the meeting link, date, time and details. A reminder email the day of or day before is also a good idea.
- If meeting app has "participant instructions" be sure to send along with your invitation. Video tutorials on YouTube are very helpful.
- Encourage group members to download the meeting app in advance to a device or computer with camera.
- EXTRAS: Is it a cocktail party? Encourage your guests to prepare their drink in advance. Do you still have your dorm t-shirts that you can wear? Bring mementos to share on camera. Use Zoom background to enhance.
During your meeting
- Ask participants to keep their camera on and microphone muted unless they are speaking. Unmuted microphones can create distracting background noise.
- Assure members the Mini-Reunion won't be recorded.
- Set a beginning and ending time for the mini-reunion. The mini-reunion may run past your end time, but it gives people an opportunity to sign-off before the end, if needed.
- Have fun! Let the technology enhance your experience, rather than detract from it.
- Follow up, after the event, and thank your group members for attending.
- Take a picture and send it to SAA at email@example.com. Let us know about your event.
Suggested Activities and Ideas
- Netflix Party, Prime Video Watch Party (Participants must be subscribing Netflix or Prime users)
- Cocktail Party (How-to) or Happy Hour (tutorials on YouTube)
- Game Night (like poker night, or trivia night)
- Yoga or Group workout (on Zoom)
- Musical Concert (think your a cappella group or perhaps string quartet, which could be broadcasted, but be aware of copyright licensing depending on platform you use)
- Recipe sharing (think Row House Chefs or Overseas Campus foods rememberances)
- Other Virtual Gathering ideas
- View this excellent Class of '80 video
- Getting Started with Zoom
- Zoom Participant Guide (pdf)
- Adding a Zoom Poll to your Mini-Reunion call can keep it lively
- Zoom allow participants to look their best on camera with a "touch up" feature that is recommended
- Virtual backgrounds work really well on Zoom. Enhance your Mini-Reunion by meeting at the virtual Quad or virtual Zott’s. Plan ahead and send images or videos to your group members.
- Zoom breakout rooms for large groups
- Other Zoom Provided Tutorials
Additional Resources & 3rd Party Reviews
- How to Host a Zoom call like a pro (CNBC)
- Microsoft Teams FAQs and terms of free use.
- Here are some virtual Stanford background images.