Remote learning at McGill using Zoom: Worldwide student access

Zoom is now widely available to all academic users in the McGill community.

Zoom is a web conferencing tool. In the context of remote teaching and learning at McGill, it enables instructors and students to easily convene in online sessions, chat with or without video enabled, and deliver presentations. The meeting host can also poll participants during the session.

This leading technological solution has been used alongside other McGill-provisioned web conferencing and collaboration tools over the last 2 semesters to provide a new online teaching experience adapted to the evolving COVID-19 situation. The fall semester will be no different in terms of technologies to support online teaching. However, we will now further leverage Zoom by providing it to a wider range of users including students, who can now use Zoom to host virtual meetings and collaborate online.

As such, McGill has ensured (through various proxy services in countries where students have reported accessibility issues) that Zoom is mostly accessible worldwide when using a regular public internet connection. While recent news articles may lead users to believe that Zoom is no longer available in some countries, please note that since McGill has provisioned accounts for its academic community, such changes do not affect access to the service. Any virtual meeting created through a McGill account is accessible worldwide (except in a few targeted areas due to export regulations) and

McGill academic users (including students) no longer need to create, and thus, pay for personal Zoom accounts.

Users experiencing issues accessing Zoom in targeted areas of the world will be able to access course recordings on MyCourses or they can use the McGill VPN service (or other free VPN services or proxy services) before connecting to Zoom.

Although the service is accessible, some factors beyond McGill’s control can affect the performance of the service, such as:

  1. The use of corporate computers or networks with corporate controls, that prevent the use of unapproved solutions within some organizations
  2. Local internet performance
  3. Computer performance
  4. The use of personal virtual private networks or other tools to anonymize network traffic, etc.

McGill users experiencing performance issues should report it to the IT Service Desk or complete the satisfaction survey at the end of virtual Zoom sessions to enable our team to troubleshoot and ensure we maintain quality service.

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