Connected Classrooms - How to Schedule and Use


Connected Classrooms - How to Schedule and Use


Table of Contents

Click + to expand contents. Click heading to jump to section. 

Background on Connected Classrooms
Scheduling a Connected Classroom
Designing a Course for a Connected Classroom
Setting up a Connected Classroom
Using the Zoom Panel
Teaching in a Connected Classroom
Shutting Down the Connected Classroom
Getting Help with Connected Classrooms



Background on Connected Classrooms

Connected Classrooms use videoconferencing technology to connect students and instructors in different physical locations. They are a service provided by Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) in Virginia Tech's Division of Information Technology

Connected Classroom list


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Scheduling a Connected Classroom

Scheduling priorities

Connected Classroom requests are prioritized based on: (1) usage priority, and (2) date of request. Usage priorities are: 

  1. Courses connecting two or more classrooms.
  2. Courses connecting a classroom to instructor or student computers ("virtual").
  3. Courses that don't connect to external people or sites. 

Scheduling deadlines

Submit requests before:

*After the deadlines, requests will be fulfilled on a strict first come, first served basis, regardless of usage priority. 

Schedule the Connected Classroom

  1. Collect instructor information, course information (name and CRN), course or event schedule, Canvas course site URL (if you have it), and the room(s) you want to request.
  2. Fill out the Connected Classrooms - Classroom Video Conferencing and Lecture Capture request form. 

Schedule lecture capture 

Lecture Capture is automatically selected when you schedule a Connected Classroom. If you want Classroom Video Conferencing but no recording, uncheck Lecture Capture under Requested Service on the Connected Classrooms - Classroom Video Conferencing and Lecture Capture request form.

Change a scheduled class

Changes to scheduled classes disrupt videoconferencing and lecture capture. Make change requests 48 hours prior to class. TLOS cannot guarantee we can accommodate changes with less than 48 hours' notice

To make a change, reply to the email you got when you submitted the Connected Classrooms - Classroom Video Conferencing and Lecture Capture request form. 


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Designing a Course for a Connected Classroom

Learn how to use the classroom

Read this article, and/or:

  1. Go to the Professional Development Network enrollment site.
  2. Log in with your PID.
  3. Sign up for a Connected Classroom orientation workshop.

Get credentialed for teaching in Connected Classrooms

Those teaching distance learning courses must comply with VT Distance Learning Policy 6364. The Learning Experience Design (LED) group in TLOS offers credentialing for Connected Classroom Instruction.

For more information and/or to sign up, email Daron Williams at daron.williams@vt.edu.

Decide how to present teaching materials

To present slides or online content

You can show slides, websites, or videos on the Classroom PC (see: Share Content from the Classroom PC) or from your own HDMI-capable device (see: Share Content from Your Device).  

If you use your own device, choose a computer that has an HDMI connector. 

To write and draw

Use either the document camera (see: Use the Document Camera) or the Virtual Smartboard on the Classroom PC (see: Use a Virtual Smartboard).

Prepare your teaching materials

Prepare Canvas site

Prepare slides

Write/Draw electronically

Test multimedia

Understand accessibility

Tell students how to connect

Discover our teaching strategies

Consider engaging activities

Flip the class

Consider flipping the class by creating and posting instructional content in Canvas, which students review before class. During class, students can engage in deeper learning, such as exploring professional case studies, describing their biggest take-away or most confusing point, or relating the content to current events or personal experience.

Do a think/pair/share activity

You can do this via Google Docs or Slides, in which your students can co-create artifacts regardless of their location.

  1. On Canvas, set up the student groups.  
  2. Student groups use Google Chat or Canvas Chat to communicate. For information on using Zoom’s chat feature, see Use Chat feature.
  3. Student groups create their own group Google Docs or Slides. They have a set time period to collaborate on the artifact.
  4. Students submit the artifact through Google Drive or Canvas Assignments.
  5. You share the artifacts with the class for discussion.

Try the fishbowl technique

Assign a group of students to be the discussion leaders for a topic. Other students can contribute via chat or by raising their hands physically or virtually.

Try student presentations

Students, individually or in groups, can share content and deliver a presentation either in the classroom or via Zoom. See: Sharing Content from Your Device.

Encourage connectedness during class

Use classroom and offsite cameras

Be aware of your camera presence and stay in frame - use the confidence monitor to confirm proper placement. Make “eye contact” with camera when possible, because it connects you to your distance students. If you do move around the room, frequently check your camera presence.

Ask offsite students to enable their webcams to promote a personal connection with their fellow students at all other locations.

Be aware of classroom microphone locations

Offsite students cannot hear you if you do not speak near a classroom microphone. So, be sure you can be heard from around the room if you intend to move.

Be sure students are aware of microphones in your room and ask ALL students to use their microphones when speaking, so that students at all locations can hear and be heard.

Check to be sure that student questions or comments have been heard by all students. Make a habit of repeating student questions at your location before you answer them.

Use students’ names

Remember ALL of your learners as you conduct the class. Know your students’ names at all locations and call on them by name whenever possible (you can pull a roster with images from HokieSPA). Promote open discussion between students at all locations and encourage them to use names as well.

Have a contingency plan

Have a backup plan for how you can hold class if you cannot teach in your connected classroom due to weather, technology issues, etc.

An example plan is:

  1. On Canvas Syllabus, describe how you will meet if the connected class is disrupted.
    2. In the event of a disruption, set up your own Zoom Meeting and note the Meeting ID.
    3. On Canvas Announcements, post the Meeting ID.


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Setting up a Connected Classroom

Set up a Connected Classroom

Test your connections

Before you begin teaching, make sure students in all locations can see and hear each other. Make sure students can see your teaching content.


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Using the Zoom Panel

Make an unscheduled Zoom connection (not for scheduled classes!)

Scheduled classes and events connect automatically. Only make your own Zoom connection if you’re holding an unscheduled videoconferencing event.

  1. Tap Meet Now on the Zoom control panel menu. 
  2. Choose connections. The connections with green labels are available.
    • After you start the meeting, you can invite other people with the Invite Participants button.
  3. Tap the Meet Now button.

Join another Zoom meeting

Scheduled classes and events connect automatically. Only join another Zoom meeting if you’re trying to connect to an unscheduled event.

  1. Tap Join on the Zoom control panel menu.
    2. Enter the Zoom Meeting ID.
    3. Tap the Join button.


Invite participants

On the Zoom control panel, tap Invite. Invite participants from the contact list or by email, phone or another Connected Classroom.

Manage participants

  1. Tap Manage Participants on the Zoom control panel. The Participants screen will pop up.
  2. Tap a participant and, at the bottom of the screen, choose to mute or unmute them. Click More to: 
    • Make them the Host
    • Make them the Co-Host
    • Allow them to record
    • Assign them to type Closed Caption
    • Rename their screen name
    • Put them on hold
  3. Tap a participant’s camera or microphone to start and stop their video and audio feeds.
  4. Tap More… and then tap Lock Meeting to prevent anyone else from joining a public meeting.
    • All scheduled Connected Classroom sessions are private by default.  

Stop the Connected Classroom camera

To stop the camera in the Connected Classroom, tap Stop Video on the Zoom control panel.

Record the meeting 

Scheduled lecture captures automatically record! If you scheduled lecture capture, you don't need to record yourself. 

To record an unscheduled meeting, on the Zoom control panel:

  1. Note the Meeting ID and meeting time to help you identity the recording. 
  2. On the Zoom control panel, tap the Start Recording icon. The meeting will be recorded to the cloud.
  3. If you want to stop recording before you leave the meeting, tap Stop Recording


Access recordings

Wait between two hours and one day. Then check My Media in Canvas for the recording.

If it doesn’t appear, request it be sent to you by following the steps below:

  1. Go to 4help.vt.edu and log in. 
  2. Click Get Help and provide the:
    • Connected Classroom room number
    • Meeting ID
    • Meeting start time

Toggle camera view

Tap the Gallery View icon (it may also say Speaker View or Change View) to switch between showing everyone’s camera feed and showing just the camera feed for who’s talking.




End the meeting

The Zoom meetings in Connected Classrooms will automatically end five minutes after scheduled class time ends.

  1. If you want to leave the meeting early, tap Leave on the Zoom control panel. 
  2. Click End Meeting for All to end the meeting for everyone or click Leave Meeting to leave the meeting yourself. 



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Teaching in a Connected Classroom

Log in to the Crestron

Logging in to the Crestron

Videos by TLOS: Professional Development Network


Share content from your device

Share from a personal computer

Follow the steps below or watch the instructional video. For the video, go to Connected Classrooms Services and under Classroom Overview and Help, click Setting up your own Laptop.

  1. On the podium, find the HDMI cable labeled BYOD and plug it into your computer.
  2. Change the content feed to your device. 
    • In rooms with Crestrons, tap Laptop or iPad HDMI under the list of HDMI Sharing sources on the Crestron. 

      Choosing HDMI in a Connected Classroom

    • In rooms with switches, press the BYOD button and make sure the green light next to the button turns on.
  3. Your device’s screen will be shared with all participants. If your device’s screen doesn’t appear, check your device’s display settings:
    • In Windows, press Win+P and click to duplicate displays.
    • In Mac OS, press Command+F1 to mirror displays.
  4. Open your content:
    • Open a PowerPoint presentation or other instructional content on your device.
    • If you’re playing a video, make sure your device is set to output audio to HDMI and that playback volume is loud enough for remote participants to hear. The video might appear choppy to offsite participants due to frame rate, compatibility, and connectivity issues. Work around that problem by sharing the video URL or by posting it the Canvas Media Gallery.

To test content and video sharing in a Connected Classroom, call 540-231-5149 and schedule an appointment.

Connecting to HDMI

Videos by TLOS: Professional Development Network


Share from a mobile device

Most mobile devices don’t have HDMI outputs, so you’ll need to install the Zoom app on the device. 

  1. Install the Zoom Mobile App on the device. See Log into the Zoom mobile app in Zoom on Personal Computers and Mobile Devices
  2. Go to join.zoom.us.
  3. Enter the Meeting ID from the top of the Zoom Control Panel, and Join the meeting
  4. Change the HDMI input to No Source on the Crestron.

    Crestron with no source

  5. From your device, share the content to the Zoom meeting. 

Share Content from the Classroom PC

Follow the steps below or watch the instructional video. For the video, go to Connected Classrooms Services and under Classroom Overview and Help, click Using the Classroom Computer.

  1. On the Classroom PC, open your content from email, a USB drive, or Canvas. 
    • Files saved on the Classroom PC are removed nightly, unless they're in the Save Files Here folder. Then they're saved for two weeks. 
  2. Set content sharing to the Classroom PC by: 
    • In a room with a Crestron, under HDMI Sharing and then tap Built-in PC.

      Crestron Built-in PC Option

    • In a room with a switch, press the button under CLASS PC and make sure the green light turns on.

  3. Confirm the Classroom PC is sharing to the Confidence Monitor.
    1. On the keyboard, press Windows + P to bring up the different window displays. Set it so the desktop extends to the Confidence Monitor (not Duplicate). 

      Extending Displays in Connected Classroom

    2. Touch or click back on the main screen outside of the “arrange displays” window to close that window.
  4. On the Zoom control panel, tap Share Content or Camera and select start HDMI sharing.  (This automatically starts sharing.)

    Share Content through Zoom in Connected Classrooms

Using the PC

Videos by TLOS: Professional Development Network


Host the class remotely from your device

These instructions are specific to teaching online because of COVID-19 closures. Instructors are typically expected to teach courses as listed by the registrar. 

Learn your host key:

  1. Go to virginiatech.zoom.us.
    2. Click Profile on the left. 
    3. Scroll down to Host Key and click Show on the right side to reveal the 6-digit code.

Join the meeting from your device and claim host:

  1. Join the meeting the same way you'd join a regular Zoom meeting from a your Virginia Tech Zoom account from your browser, the Zoom Client, or Mobile App using the Meeting ID
  2. Click on the participant tab at the bottom of the screen.
    3. In the Zoom Meeting, there should be a claim host button at the bottom. Click on that button and type in your host key to claim host.

Use a Virtual Smartboard

The Classroom PC has a touch-enabled monitor. It's easier to use than a Smartboard, and you don't need to turn your back to students. 

  1. On the Classroom PC, open a blank PowerPoint slide.
  2. Click Slide Show, and then click Presenter View.
  3. Press Alt + F5 as a shortcut to begin the slideshow from the beginning.
  4. Click the pen icon once the Presenter View is on.

    Pen Selection

  5. Click Pen in the options under the pen icon.

    Select Pen

  6. Use a stylus or your finger to draw on the PowerPoint slide. The line won’t appear until you’re done drawing. 

    Test of stylus

  7. Press Esc to go back to Edit view.

Show a student who’s speaking

Show a student in your Connected Classroom

Some Connected Classrooms are equipped with motorized cameras that the instructor can aim at students.

  1. On the Crestron under Camera Controls, tap Student Camera



  2. There are two instructor and student cameras in each room. On the Zoom control panel, tap Switch Camera and choose which camera feed to share. 
    • If you don’t see a camera, your Connected Classroom doesn't have one yet. 
  3. Aim the camera. Tap Camera Control. On the Camera Control pop-up, tap the arrows.

    Camera Control Screenshot

Show a student in a different Connected Classroom

To show a student in a different Connected Classroom, you will need to control the cameras in that remote classroom.

  1. Tap Manage Participants on the Zoom control panel. The Participants screen will pop up.
  2. Tap the classroom whose camera you want to control. A menu will appear for the classroom.
  3. Tap Request Camera Control.

    Request Camera Control Screenshot

  4. Tap Now on the permission pop-up.
  5. Tap the camera-aiming arrows on the Zoom control panel. Tap Switch Camera to switch between cameras in that room. 
  6. Press Give Up Controls when you're done. 

    Give up camera control screenshot

Show a student from their own device

Zoom automatically highlights the speaker in Gallery View or shows the speaker’s camera feed in Speaker View. 

To toggle between views, on the Zoom control panel, tap Gallery View/Speaker View.

Show a website

Minimize or close other content you’re sharing from the computer. Open a web browser and go to the site you want to share. Students will be able to see the browser while you work.

Use the Document Camera

Follow the steps below or watch the instructional video. For the video, go to Connected Classrooms Services and under Classroom Overview and Help, click The Document Camera.

  1. Turn on the document camera.
  2. Change the Zoom content feed to the document camera.  
    • For rooms with a Crestron, you would set the Confidence Monitor to share and then press Doc Sharing on the Crestron.

      Doc Cam Crestron

    • For rooms with a switch box, press the button under DOC CAM. The green light next to the switch will turn on.
  3. Put your teaching materials under the document camera and check the confidence monitor. Make sure video from the document camera is reaching offsite participants.


Using the Document Camera

Videos by TLOS: Professional Development Network

Use Chat, Polls, and Breakout Rooms

Use Chat feature

We recommend you use Google Chat or Canvas Chat instead of Zoom chat, because chat isn't accessible from the Zoom control panel, through the Classroom PC, or through a device plugged into the podium's HDMI cable. To use Zoom chat, you'd have to join the Zoom meeting from your own device, change host to that device, and manage the chat from there (see Use Poll... below). 

Use Poll and Breakout Room feature

Zoom Polls and Breakout Rooms aren’t accessible from the Zoom control panel, through the Classroom PC, or through a device plugged into the podium's HDMI cable. To use them in Connected Classrooms, you must connect to the Zoom meeting from your own device. 

  1. Learn how to manage these tools on your device. See: Zoom on Personal Computers and Mobile Devices.
  2. Disconnect your device if it is connected to the BYOD HDMI cable. 
  3. On your device's browser, go to virginiatech.zoom.us and enter the Meeting ID from the top of the Zoom control panel. Join the Zoom meeting.
  4. Make your device host. On the Zoom control panel, tap Manage Participants. Then tap the participant for your device. On the popup list, tap Make host

    make host
  5. Share content and run Chat, Polls, and Breakout Rooms from your device.

    Menu for Features

  6. Make sure your content appears on the Confidence Monitor.


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Shutting Down the Connected Classroom

Zoom meeting connections and scheduled lecture capture stop automatically five minutes after the scheduled end of class.

Shut down classroom equipment

  1. To end the connection early, on the Zoom control panel, tap Leave and then End Meeting for All.
  2. If you your own device, don’t forget to unplug it from the HDMI cable and take it with you.

ONLY in rooms with Crestrons:

  1. On the Crestron, tap Return to Classroom Mode. This will automatically disconnect you used to share content.
  2. On the Crestron, turn off devices. Tap the Off buttons beneath each one.
  3. Tap Exit and then Yes Shutdown System.


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Getting Help with Connected Classrooms

Learn how to use the room

Attend an orientation workshop

  1. Go to the Professional Development Network enrollment site.
  2. Log in with your PID.
  3. Sign up for a Connected Classroom orientation workshop.

Schedule a test session

Call 540-231-2229.

Get credentialed

Those teaching distance learning courses must comply with VT Distance Learning Policy 6364. The Learning Experience Design (LED) group in TLOS offers credentialing for Connected Classroom Instruction.

For more information and/or to sign up, email Daron Williams at daron.williams@vt.edu.

Get help preparing for class

For help designing and preparing to teach in Connected Classrooms, email  Daron Williams at daron.williams@vt.edu.

Get help during class

Tap the red Help button on the podium. A technician will arrive within five minutes.


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