Zoom videoconferencing available to help U-M work online


Zoom is the latest videoconferencing service being made available by Information and Technology Services to the university community. The service includes options for online meetings, chat rooms, webinars, and mobile collaboration.

Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, sent a universitywide email earlier this week to all faculty, staff and students announcing the availability of the service.

“ITS has been working diligently over the past week to provide the community with the resources and support needed to work remotely,” Pendse said. “In response to numerous requests for additional methods for videoconferencing, I am excited that we are able to provide Zoom to the entire institution.”

With unprecedented numbers of university community members working and studying away from campus in response to COVID-19, the need for IT services has increased dramatically.

Zoom is an accessible tool that many university community members already know and have used, and it fits well alongside BlueJeans and Google Hangouts, which will continue to be available.

“When considering the tool, we were impressed with the feature set, which included annotations, breakout rooms, hand raise, and requests to speed up and slow down,” said Robert Jones, executive director of ITS support services and project lead.

“Zoom is both simple and powerful, and an amazing tool for community engagement, teaching and learning, research, and more.”

The service can be accessed at its.umich.edu/zoom. A GSuite add-on allows for greater ease scheduling meetings from Gmail and Google Calendar. Integrations with Canvas, Blackboard and MiVideo are expected this week.

“Ensuring access to a broad and powerful range of technology is absolutely key to maintaining the health and safety of our community as we shift thousands of classes, meetings and projects online,” said Anne Curzan, dean of LSA.

“I am pleased that our faculty and staff have another option to stay connected and keep our educational and research missions moving in these unprecedented times.”

Enhanced documentation and training sessions are being developed and made available on the U-M Zoom website. Meanwhile, ITS continues to make certain the university’s infrastructure remains robust and its data and digital resources are secure.

“Zoom provides appropriate security and compliance assurance that allows it to be used for teaching and learning, as well as many other use cases,” said Sol Bermann, chief information security officer and executive director of information assurance at U-M.

Visit the Sensitive Data Guide for a list of the sensitive data types that are and are not permitted when using Zoom.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the community and help the university stay connected during this time,” Pendse said.


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