Author Archives: Dawn Winters

Create a Template and Schedule Zoom Meetings Fast!

If you find yourself setting a lot of Zoom meetings, you may notice that you use the same settings again and again.

Settings like enabling join before host, muting participants upon entry, or creating a waiting room can be set and then saved as a template for scheduling future meetings.

First, create your meeting

To get started, go to the Penn State Zoom website. Sign in, and you should be directed to the Meetings area of your account. (If not, click on Meetings in the left navigation menu.)

Click Schedule a New Meeting.

schedule a new meeting button in the Zoom interface

Zoom image

Then, select the settings you want to apply to your template. 

Click Save.

Then look for a blue link toward the bottom of the page to Save as a Meeting Template.

Save as a Meeting Template

Zoom image

Name the meeting in the dialog box that appears.

Save As Meeting Template

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Then, click Save as Template

Ready to schedule from your template?

After your template is created, you can use it to schedule your next meeting.

To do so, go to the PSU Zoom web portal. Click Meetings and then Schedule a Meeting.

You will see a new option to use a template when scheduling. Choose the template from the drop-down box.

select a template

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Both basic and advanced Zoom settings will copy to your new meeting.

Click Save to schedule your meeting.


3 Tips for Communicating Effectively with Teams

Working from home means there are myriad alerts, beeps, and blips crossing your computer all the time and demanding your attention.

It can be a challenge to keep up.

It’s important to remember that these are all forms of communication from members of your team or those you serve. To keep from being overwhelmed, here are some practical tips you can employ when using Microsoft Teams to ensure your communication is received and understood. And, bonus! Two of these can be employed for other forms of written communication.

woman working on a laptop at a table

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


1. Write concisely

Hit delete on redundant words or extraneous information

When typing a message, use as few words as possible. Consider the difference:

Could we possibly consider moving the check-in meeting to 10 a.m. instead of 4 p.m. because I plan to get started on the XYZ project later in the afternoon? I was thinking that might be a better use of my time. Can we move it?

vs — Is it possible to move the check-in to 10 a.m.? I want to start work on XYZ later that day.

Short, to the point …

Stay clear of passive voice

This one is a little tougher. It involves putting the subject at the beginning of the sentence as the actor. It is more direct and helps to increase understanding.

Passive: The project is headed by Tobias.

Active: Tobias is the point person for the project.

One requires your reader to work just a bit harder to figure out who is in charge. Write assertively to speed up comprehension.

2. Compartmentalize

Use different channels for different purposes

Have you scrolled back through a channel in Teams to find where a particular issue was discussed only to find yourself frustrated?

I think we all have, and that’s why using different channels helps. Set up a channel for each project, topic, etc. and hold the team members to using them for their specified purpose.

For example, if you work in student advising, perhaps your channel lineup will look like this:
Prospective Students

Pre-Major Students

In-Major Students

Water Cooler – Use this channel for the conversations you might have that are off-topic but might be chatted about in person.

3. If you’re lost, Search!

Teams has a Search function to let you find things easily. Type in the box at the top of the application to look for a word or group of words. The results will populate at the left. Preview content by clicking on the conversation.

Teams search

Teams search allows for you to look for specific words and phrases across all of your Teams and conversations. (Image from Microsoft)

There is a filter feature to narrow by Date, Team, and author.

teams filter

Use the filter to narrow your search results.

Zoom: Two Ways to Take Attendance

Sure, you could screenshot the participant list, but there are far easier ways to get a list of who was in attendance at your Zoom meeting. We will take a look at two ways to take attendance

Usage Reports
Perhaps you want to see a list of those who attend. Zoom Reports offers a robust look at who attended your meeting as well as other details.

Visit Penn State’s Zoom hub and sign in. Then, click on Reports button on the left side of the screen.

location of Reports button in Zoom

The Reports button is found on the left side of the Zoom dashboard.


Click on Usage Reports and then select the date or date range of your meeting. You will see a list of all meetings held during that time. Clicking on the number in the Participants column will show more details.

You will be able to see what time someone joined, when they left, and the total number of minutes in the meeting. You can also export this information to a CSV file. Keep in mind that you must be the host of the meeting to see this type of data.


Require Registration

Another way to monitor those who are attending your meeting is to require registration. This allows you to gather information as people join the call.

To set it up, create a new meeting. Click the box to require registration.

Zoom registration required

Clicking the Required box will allow you to collect information about participants as they enter the meeting.

When a participant clicks on the meeting link, they will need to enter their name, company, and email before proceeding.

registration for Zoom meeting

Participants in a meeting with registration required must enter identifying information before they can enter the meeting.


Following the meeting, you can access a report showing those who registered for the meeting.