All MSU faculty, students, and staff have access to Zoom. This page is some tips and instructions on how to use Zoom for help rooms or office hours. There are many ways to use Zoom. This page assumes that students arrive in a waiting list and are processed one at a time.

You access Zoom at Log in use MSU credentials.

Zoom will assign you a personal meeting ID. Do not use that for courses, help rooms, or office hours. That link is only for impromptu meetings.

Page Sections:

Setting Up For Help Rooms or Office Hours

On the left side, choose Meetings:

Click the button Schedule a New Meeting. Suppose you are teaching CSE437 Fundamentals of Teleconferencing and want to set up office hours for that course. Set the Topic to something like "CSE437 Office Hours.". You can also add a description if you like.

If you are providing both office hours and a help room that will be run by TA's or ULA's. I'll create office hours here, but will indicate the minor differences for help rooms.

Select Recurring Meeting. Set Recurrence to No Fixed Time. Zoom does not know how to schedule hours for things Tuesday/Thursday and you don't really need it scheduled, anyway. It starts when you show up.

Leave Meeting ID as "Generate Automatically". MSU officially requires that we add a Passcode to the meeting, as if global passwords really accomplish anything. But, I degress...

Other recommended settings:
  • Host Video: On
  • Participant Video: On (so you can see their shining faces)
  • Audio: Computer Audio
  • Check: Enable waiting room
  • Check: Only authenticated users can join

Meeting options

For Help Rooms

For a help room, do not enable waiting room. You can add Alternative hosts who can start the session. Enter their email addresses in Alternative Hosts with commas beteween them.

Notice: A person cannot be added as an Alternative host until they have logged onto Zoom at least one time. Just get them to go to and log in.

Click Save.

On the next page you will find a link, something like: Provide this link to students to contact office hours or a help room.

Starting Office Hours or Help Room

Click on the link to start office hours or a help room. It will take you to a web page that should pop up "Open Zoom Meetings?". Click Open Zoom Meetings. If you have not previously done so, you will need to install Zoom. The link is on the page.

You should see the session open. Click on Join with Computer Audio to finish starting the session.

Once the session starts, be sure to click Manage Participants so you can see the waiting list.

The Waiting List

Students login will be their MSU credentials (not EGR or CSE).

As students arrive, they will appear in the waiting list on the side. Moving the mouse over the item you will see a button Allow. Press that to admit the student to the session.

When done, the best choice is for the student to disconnect on their end. You can also disconnect the student, just ensure you have set the global option to allow them to reconnect if they have more questions later.

Tips for using Zoom in this Setting

Allow time for that first session. Everyone has to install the application and it make take a bit of time.

If you do not see controls on the Zoom window, move the mouse over it and they should appear.

Click the Chat button to open the chat window. That's a good place for information like numbers or error messages:

You or the student can can share your screen at any time using the Share button:

The Support button allows you to take control of the student's computer. They will have to affirmatively agree to let you do so. You can then use their IDE or other program to help show how to debug or otherwise look at their code.

Breakout Rooms

For help rooms, instead of using a wait list the best solution is to use breakout rooms. The Zoom host can create a breakout room and move any number of people to that room, where they can discuss a question in private before returning to the main room.