Guidelines for Virtual Conferencing Software

Created with the help of our colleagues at the Electro-Governance Group

UWOFA recognizes that some Members have concerns over the use of certain technologies for remote communication (e.g., virtual meetings and classes). UWOFA does not take a particular position on any one technology; but we offer some best practice guidelines.

  1. Before using a new technology, become familiar with itsgeneral terms and conditions and about the specifications or capabilities of your own account.
  2. Before opening virtual conferencing software and on a regular basis, clear your browser cache and browser history to reduce the risk that your personal data may be harvested by any applications in use.
  3. Hosts of virtual meetings or events should consider which type of invitation and access is most suitable to the circumstances of the meeting and practice working with the host controls of the applicable software. For instance: whether and what type of passwords or entry permissions are required; whether and when participants can control their own audio and video; whether and when participants can share their screens; whether and when chat features and non-verbal communication functions will be enabled; whether participants can connect via phone and computer; and whether and how participants can be removed from the meeting.
  4. Hosts of virtual meetings or events should make clear statements at the beginning of the meeting as to which capabilities will be enabled or used by the host and why (e.g., audio or video recording, screen capture, attendee tracking).
  5. Hosts of virtual meetings or events should make clear statements at the beginning of the meeting as to the risks of the technology (e.g., capture of chat dialogue, screen capture or audio recording by individual participants, attention tracking, capture of personal data by the software company, visibility of personal data such as phone numbers when using phone dial-in)
  6. Hosts of virtual meetings or events should make clear statements at the beginning of the meeting as to the expectations of participants (e.g., confidentiality, conduct, procedures to indicate desire to speak, no individual recording or screen capture)


Western has selected Zoom as the conference service provider and supports Zoom Pro accounts for faculty and staff.

  • Note that the participant ‘attention tracker feature’ is not enabled and cannot be enabled in Western Zoom accounts.

 

Western Technology Services has also provided a Best Practices Guide for Zoom at https://wts.uwo.ca/zoom/best-practices.html  

If you are uncomfortable with any of the technologies being used in the course of completing your Academic Responsibilities, please speak to your Chair and/or Dean to determine whether alternative arrangements are available.

The Electro-Governance Group is compiling information about alternatives, check out their twitter feed @The__E_G_G

Additional Reading:

Zoom Blog. March 20, 2020. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/20/keep-the-party-crashers-from-crashing-your-zoom-event/

Redden, E. March 26, 2020. ‘Zoombombing’ Attacks Hit Classes. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/03/26/zoombombers-disrupt-online-classes-racist-pornographic-content

Doc Searls’ Blog: (updated March 27, 2020). Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act. https://blogs.harvard.edu/doc/2020/03/27/zoom/