Five Zoom Features That Should Definitely Exist

By Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Remember how Zoom updated back in September to allow participants to self-select into and move between breakout rooms? If that timeline sounds off, it’s because no one actually updated their Zoom until months after the update came out. So, you probably only remember the awkward few months where professors would manually place the technologically-challenged stragglers into breakout rooms themselves. Anyways, that update was a bust, except maybe for a few eager TFs.

And then the platform followed up by gifting us with filters to place sprouts on our heads? Not going to front, the sunglasses filter has its moments. But let’s be real, Zoom is ignoring the features that would actually be life-changing, and I guess I can help them out.

Automatic Popcorn-Call

It seems like everybody has deemed icebreakers necessary to distract from the next hour(s) of one person droning on about ~insert here~ that really could have been condensed into an email. There’s only one thing I dread more than Two Truths and a Lie, and that’s coming up with a random person to go next. Zoom, please fix this, and make a button that “popcorns” between every person in the room until everyone has gone. You can even unmute people when it’s their turn to make it extra fancy. Even the cold-hearted professors who like to cold call could make use of this tool.

Tell Us How Many People Are in the Zoom Before We Join

You know you’re late to adding a feature when even Google Meet has done it.

Locked Mute

There are some meetings where it’s more of a “be seen and not heard” sort of deal, and having the option to accidentally press the spacebar is dangerous. Please save me from this constant fear.

Ability to Direct Your Cameras to Only the Host

I’m not entirely sure how this mechanism would work (clearly not a future software engineer here), or for how many circumstances this would be helpful. But imagine this: you turn on your camera, and only your professor (who requires all cameras to be on despite there being a couple hundred people in the Zoom) can see you. No one is creepily pinning you their screen anymore. Plus, for smaller sections, if you need to use the restroom, you won’t be subtly broadcasting it to your whole class.

Zoom Breakout Room Timer Needs to be Much Larger

Like, much larger. And flashing. Preferably in neon letters. Because it seems the people you get placed with in breakout rooms either can’t catch a clue that it’s time to wrap up, or they decide to not unmute from the start. And in that latter case, I just need a giant countdown of when I can be freed from the swallowing silence. Give me something to look forward to because it’s not the main room where, of course, I’ll get called on to share with the class what we discussed 🙃.

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