Category Archives: Zooming

What is a Webinar?

The term Webinar has been around for a while, meaning a ‘web seminar’. Now, with the pandemic and improved tech­no­logy they have leapt in import­ance. Essentially a webinar is a well organised web meeting, commonly used by companies and organ­isa­tions to get inform­a­tion to large groups. For our AGM we will use a webinar licence from Zoom to have a meeting of up to 100 people. An email invit­a­tion will go out in advance inviting regis­tra­tion for the meeting. Members complete this simple form and that’s it. Each will get a zoom invit­a­tion on the day. 

In the webinar there can be a number of ‘panelists’ who appear via video and present inform­a­tion and visuals if necessary. Participants will be able to send chat comments and questions and they will be able to vote on resolutions. 

Those who do not want to parti­cipate from home will be able to attend a group zoom at the Box Factory. There will not be any wine and food, but there is talk of the Board organ­ising Uber-Eats to deliver these to each parti­cipant’s home. 

Security update for zoom

There have been reports that Flinders University does not allow Zoom on its system. It appears that Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and UniSA are all using zoom extensively. 

Zoom has upgraded its proced­ures and now the default setting is for people coming into a meeting to go into a waiting room where the host admits them, checking their name. The latest upgrade to Zoom 5.1 includes increased encryp­tion and Roger Bills advises members to check that they have the latest upgrade. To check if you have the latest, do the following. 

Open your account button (top right, with green dot) and go to Check for Updates.

A changing U3A?

by John Travers

A tale of a neglected veranda that made good

We have lived in our house since 1976. It has a nice veranda which we have rarely used. But over the last five weeks (due to you know what) we have had our morning coffee there, saying g’day to passing people, and watching the honeyeaters zooming around the garden. Out of necessity, we have also safely hosted visitors on the veranda for a coffee and precious personal contact. It is very pleasant out there. Who knew!

Of necessity, in a similar fashion, U3A Adelaide has since early April adapted a number of courses to be delivered online and created another batch of new online courses. Out of curiosity, I spent a little time recently exploring other U3As around Australia to see how they have adapted to Corona-19. I did a search for u3a and zoom — the now famous video meeting app. The first three results were Port Phillip which is offering about ten Zoom based courses. Melbourne City and Deepdene (Melbourne) have converted a majority of their courses for the year to be delivered by Zoom, a quite remark­able trans­form­a­tion. It seems that they both decided to be proactive, put together a team to help train tutors to adapt to the new, and made the change. As the restric­tions on social contact reduce, no doubt they will return to a largely face-to-face U3A, but I suspect not entirely, because there are some advant­ages in not having to travel to a class and be able to engage with each other by video. Attendance will probably improve online.


In the same way that necessity led my wife and I to discover our front veranda, necessity has caused us to look for different ways to do the business of U3A. Our family has for years kept children and grand­chil­dren in close touch by video, while inter­state and overseas. I had never thought of it as a practical tool for group instruc­tion and discus­sion because the available tools weren’t good enough. Now they are. Interesting how necessity creates opportunities!

Comments are open on this post

Tutor Meeting: what we said

Summary of the Tutors discus­sion via Zoom, May 7 *

*This is the final version of the summary origin­ally posted on May 8

Last week’s Board meeting (via Zoom) agreed to an invit­a­tion to Tutors to take part in a meeting via Zoom on coping with the shutdown. Nearly 30 met via Zoom nearly two hours. The following is a summary of the meeting.

It is unlikely that U3A will be back to normal for some months. The risk to elderly people in small rooms will deter members from returning to classes for some time, even when this is permitted. Room 4 has space for social distancing.

A modest number of estab­lished courses have continued since the shutdown with a majority of these using Zoom video meetings as their main platform. A small number of new online courses have opened with all but one using Zoom. There were strong support of the use of Zoom by tutors who have used it sofar. It is relat­ively easy to learn and parti­cipate. Some members are quite resistant to using it, and felt threatened by tech­no­logy. Some tutors find that Zoom is not suited to their class. In general newcomers to zoom quickly become comfort­able with it and enjoy the inter­ac­tion. Members should be encour­aged to join the class Come Zoom With Me which provides an indi­vidual intro­duc­tion to Zoom. 

It is likely that in the long term at U3A there will be a mixture of face-to-face course and online ones and hybrid classes

U3A should actively promote online learning and assist tutors (current and future) to manage classes online. It would be a good idea to have a forum or collec­tion of helpful comments, guides etc on how to use Zoom, and other means, effect­ively and effi­ciently… using the website.  [Done: see  Zooming category on this blog].

U3A should invest­igate getting a Business subscrip­tion to Zoom which may be cheaper than paying indi­vidual licences. 

An extensive tutorial was provided on the online enrolment and member­ship system, demon­strating how tutors can display enrol­ments, email a list and generally manage their class. Tutors were also reminded of the detailed guides for tutors and members that are on the website.

by John Travers

A short history of video meetings

How necessity drives innov­a­tion faster than technology

by John Travers

In mid May our lives were turned slightly upside-down by the world pandemic. I started to set up a video meeting with a group of men I regularly meet with and someone suggested that Zoom was better than Skype. I did a quick look at reviews and found that Skype was similar and better known. A week later several other people mentioned Zoom so I thought I had better have a look at it. Within a week I was a regular Zoom user and since then have hosted or taken part in multiple meetings of our Old Men Group, my wife’s discus­sion group, my book club, my wife’s tennis group, a class I conducted on Apple Photos, and another on writing a blog. U3A’s next Board meeting will be via Zoom. Our grand­chil­dren are now spending their full school day online, in class. As one ruefully commented, “The teachers seem to think we have nothing else to do.”

As a long time promoter of tech­no­logy in education through by work and in retire­ment this is a quite amazing change. Have people suddenly decided that tech­no­logy is wonderful? Has the tech­no­logy suddenly got better? No to both questions. Necessity has pushed us forward, and don’t have an doubt that it is forward. 

The members of my Old Men’s group and of my wife’s tennis group are not all tech­no­logy enthu­si­asts, but they have been presented with a choice: do you want to maintain face to face contact with your friends even though it might mean some tech­no­lo­gical discom­fort? The feedback has been over­whelm­ingly positive, not because everyone found it stress free, but it seems that all have found it a satis­fying exper­i­ence once they get over the initial awkward­ness. Our book club has met for years and had very good discus­sions — and long argu­ment­ative lunches. But last week’s meeting was generally thought to be one of our best discus­sions ever, via Zoom, and as a bonus, a couple of people who could not attend were sent an audio of the discus­sion. I missed the lunch, though. 

“You can get a personal Zoom intro­duc­tion from Roger by enrolling in Come Zoom with Me.”

So, from this very short history I think that the lesson is that necessity, oppor­tunity and a bit of confid­ence take us forward. A consid­er­able propor­tion of U3A members have been using Skype or FaceTime to talk to their children and grand­chil­dren for some time. Many have in the last month taken the next step into group video meetings. Give it a go. Experiment with someone who can help. Humans like to talk and interact, and these tools help.

A number of classes at U3A are thriving with Zoom. U3A Board has agreed to pay for licences for the extended time version of Zoom for tutors who need it. There is a very simple guide to getting started in Learning Stories A Guide to Zoom, below on this blog, . There is a much more detailed guide by Roger Bills at Come Zoom with Me, in Course Notes. And more important, you can get a personal Zoom intro­duc­tion from Roger by enrolling in the course, Come Zoom with Me.

Getting Started with Zoom

by John Travers

I first heard of Zoom on the 22nd of March, which we all know is a very long time ago. Since then I have found out that it is an internet phenomenon that has become the dominant video meeting service, crucial for family, friends and business commu­nic­a­tion during the Coronavirus crisis. I have hosted a dozen or so meetings of family and friends and it is very easy to use and very powerful. However this ease of use has led to some security weak­nesses and Zoom has now changed its rules to shut the door to many of the vandals and nuisances who live on the internet. It enables a host to schedule a meeting, send invit­a­tions by email and have the meeting in progress with everyone able to see and hear everyone else within five minutes. 

A guide to getting connected. 

How does one get started? First, download the Zoom App on your computer or tablet from It is a good idea to sign in and create an account but not essential to do so. Your Zoom identity is your emal. Without an account you cannot host a meeting. You actually don’t have to download the app in advance. Once you accept an invit­a­tion the app will download it auto­mat­ic­ally, but it is more efficient to to so in advance. 

To initiate a meeting a host opens the app and clicks New Meeting usually to begin some pre-arranged time. Then the host clicks Invite, selects Email as the means of inviting , and adds the addresses of the invitees, just like any email. 

When the meeting members Jill, receives her invit­a­tion she are asked to click the link at the top of the email. This opens her Zoom app, and in a minute or two she is asked to wait for the host to admit her. She is also asked to choose her audio input (Internet Audio) and she also switches her camera on. 

Meanwhile, the host sees a notice that Jill is ready to to join the meeting clicks Accept. And the meeting can begin when all the invitees are onboard. 

Computer Menu

The computer menu (above) and iPad menu (below) show the Mic and Camera on/off switches. If you don’t see the menu, move the mouse over the screen. The Gallery view is best, which shows all the parti­cipants side by side. The tablet menu is essen­tially the same, but at the top of the screen.

Computer Menu

A most valuable feature is that indi­viduals can share their desktop screen, so can show others in a meeting documents and images and point to and talk about these. Very powerful explaining and teaching.