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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Guide to Zoom for RSOs

Learn how to set up, run, and record meetings on Zoom for on-campus clubs and RSOs. You'll also find some tips and tricks for making Zoom more fun and ideas for Zoom parties!

Even though most of us will leave campus in November, we can still find ways to gather, have fun, study, hang out, and virtually be with one another. Below you’ll find a list of virtual gatherings/parties that work great for friend groups, extended family, sororities and fraternities, or clubs. Keep an eye out, too, for Loanable Tech from the Media Commons that can help take your Zoom party up a notch!

Book Club+

  • What is it?
    • Have you read a good book lately? Seen a fantastic movie that everyone should see? Watched an underrated Netflix show? Share them with your friends by creating a remote book club. Rather than picking just one book to read or movie to watch, chat about all your favorite things.
  • Resources
    • USA Today gives great instructions for starting your own virtual book club.
    • Here is just one potential book list, this one for books centered around equality and antiracist action.
  • Zoom tricks and tips
    • If people are anxious about cutting someone off while they’re talking, ask everyone to “raise their hand” when they want to speak by hovering over their own name on the meeting participant list, clicking “More,” and then “raise hand.”
  • Loanable Tech

Fanfiction Reading

  • What is it?
    • If you’ve ever dabbled in the world of fan-made stories about your favorite characters, you know… some of it is WEIRD. Have your friends collect their favorites and gather together over Zoom for a little light reading (alternatively, each person could bring their own past writing to share!).
  • Resources
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • Make sure everyone else is muted while one person is reading, and use the chat to save your reactions!

Favorite Things Party

  • What is it?
    • Being at home means a new space and new (old) things that your “college friends” have never seen before, and you can use that to your advantage! Throw a party where everyone brings their favorite thing, whether it’s a book, movie, knickknack, pet, parent, sibling, best friend… whatever your favorite thing, introduce them to your people.
  • Zoom tricks and tips
    • Set a timer on Zoom so everyone knows when they have to be back with their favorite thing.

Group Workout

  • What is it?
    • As the world moved online and gyms closed everywhere, many people moved their workouts online. Working out over Zoom with a friend or group can be a great motivator to stay healthy during quarantine!
  • Resources
    • Good Housekeeping curated a list of 20 different Youtube workouts, including yoga, cardio, and even jazzercise!
    • Zoom employee Lindsey Hunt has a blog post about hosting Zoom workouts.
  • Zoom tricks and tips
    • If you’re going to share your screen to show a workout video, make sure you click “Optimize for full screen video clip” on the bottom of the screenshare box that appears.
    • Designate a workout leader who can share their screen or lead everyone through different exercises.
  • Loanable Tech

Jackbox

  • Jackbox games, which can be used on a variety of different gaming devices, are a great way to have socially distanced fun. There are a huge number of different games to choose from, including trivia, improv games, and drawing challenges!
  • Resources
    • Jackbox’s website is a great starting point for learning more about the different games they offer.
    • Jackbox also has a guide on playing their games remotely.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
  • Loanable tech
    • The Media Commons has a Playstation 4 and an XBOX One (act fast if you'd like to rent these, as they're very popular!).

Interview Practice

  • What is it?
    • Are you preparing for a job interview? Nervous about doing it over Zoom? You can prepare over Zoom with a friend or mentor. Set up a meeting and have them prepare some practice questions, then be amazed at how awesome you are!
  • Resources
    • Indeed has a guide on how to have the best Zoom interview possible.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • If you’d like to review your mock interview later, click “Record” on the dashboard before you begin. While it might sound painful to watch yourself talk, it really is the best way to reflect and improve your interviewing skills.
      • Bonus: send the recording to a friend or mentor and ask them to give you feedback.

"Mocktail" or Cocktail Hour

  • What is it?
    • Parties just aren’t the same over Zoom… with your parents in the next room over. Invite your friends to a “mocktail hour” to catch up and chat, or just vent about your crazy family.
  • Resources
    • Here is a list of great mocktails to try.
  • Zoom tricks and tips

Murder Mystery

  • What is it?
    • Want to have a soiree without leaving your doom room? Want to scare and amaze your friends—and get them in on the fun? Consider throwing a Zoom murder mystery party! Choose your number of players, choose your game, and get to sleuthing.
  • Resources
    • The Spruce has collected 12 different FREE Zoom murder mystery games for a variety of number of players.
    • Murder Mystery Co. has super fun murder mystery games that you can pay for, and they will set up your party for you.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • You can filter your appearance on Zoom by going into the Settings of your desktop client (as opposed to the web page), and clicking on “Background & Filters.” This can be a great option if you don’t have many costumes of props lying around!
      • Bonus: Add a “murder mystery” virtual background in the same place!
    • To see everyone easily, switch your Zoom view to “gallery.” To do this, in your Zoom meeting, click on “View” in the top right corner of your screen, then click “Gallery.”
  • Loanable Tech
    • Check out one of the Media Commons’s webcams to take your spooky murder costume to the next level.

PowerPoint Party

  • What is it?
    • PowerPoint parties are a great way to get to know what everyone in your friend group is passionate about! Everyone gets five minutes to give the PowerPoint presentation they’ve always wanted—the sky’s the limit! Have all your friends give their personal Ted Talk, Last Lecture, or just a silly chat telling you the weird things they know.
  • Resources
    • Real Simple published an article in June about how PowerPoint parties are becoming the trendy quarantine way to socialize.
    • Bustle also has a great tutorial on how to throw a PowerPoint party.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • Before you start the party, make sure everyone can share their screen by making all participants a meeting “host.” You can do this before the meeting by editing in your online account (Illinois.zoom.us), or in the actual party, by hovering over each participant’s name in the participants list, clicking the blue arrow, and then “make [Person] a co-host.”

 

Study Party

  • What is it?
    • Zoom can help keep your study group together even while we’re staying apart! Use Zoom tools to review assignments, work on projects, and study for those remote final exams.
  • Resources
    • Here is a US News article about how students are using Zoom to study together during the pandemic.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • Zoom has a whiteboard feature that makes it easy to work on problems together. You can also use Google Docs or share your screen and work on a Word document, if you prefer.
  • Loanable Tech

Ted Talks Party

  • What is it?
  • Resources
    • Oprah made a list of the fifteen best TED talks!
    • TED has a blog post about throwing a party using TED talks; they’re talking about watching talks live, but their tips can easily be transferred to the YouTube version.
  • Zoom tricks and tips
    • When you share your screen, make sure you click “Optimize for full screen video clip” in the bottom of the share screen box.

Trivia Party

  • What is it?
    • Throw a party where you get to show off your amazing random knowledge, all without leaving your room! Trivia parties are ideal for bigger groups who are looking to have fun and compete, whether individually or on a team!
  • Resources
    • Factile has created a UIUC Trivia game!
    • There are many free Illinois trivia games across the Internet, if you’re up for a little “home state” knowledge test.
    • Houseparty is a free app with tons of trivia games, set up for social distancing.
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • The meeting host can create poll questions by signing into their online Zoom account (Illinois.zoom.us) and clicking on the meeting name. This is a perfect way to design your own trivia game!
    • If you are playing team trivia, use Breakout Rooms. These rooms can be assigned randomly, or the host can set up preassigned rooms following these instructions.

Watch Netflix or Hulu Party

  • What is it?
    • Netflix and Hulu both offer free extensions that will allow your friends’ shows or movies to sync so that you can watch them together. Get on a Zoom call so you can chat about your favorite shows even when you can’t watch them in the same place.
  • Resources
    • Follow these instructions to download Netflix Party, and follow these instructions to get Hulu Watch Party.
    • Many streaming services now offer “watch party” software. If you don’t use Netflix or Hulu, Google your favorite!
  • Zoom Tricks and Tips
    • Everyone on your Zoom call must have their own subscription to your chosen streaming service. Zoom will NOT allow screenshares of streaming shows.
  • Loanable Tech
    • Connect your laptop’s Netflix to a TV with an HDMI cable.