Carnegie Mellon University

Best Practices for Using Hybrid Technology

It's easy to get overwhelmed with a busy video feed during a class session in Zoom. Encourage students to keep the instructor or the instructor's presentation in view at all times using the Pin Video feature.   

Pin a Video in Zoom 

Students may also want to adjust the video layout during a Zoom meeting based on the number of participants.

Change Video Layout in Zoom

Audio feedback can be an echo, static, or other unwanted background noise on the audio connection during your class or meeting. Follow the instructions below to manage feedback.

Reduce feedback issues at the start of your meeting

  • Mute all participants in the Zoom meeting. 
  • Instruct all in-person students that are connecting to the Zoom meeting with a personal device to not join the audio for the meeting if prompted.
    Note: To join at a later time (if needed), click Join Audio.

Disconnect audio from the Zoom meeting

If you have multiple devices with active audio in the same classroom, feedback will likely be an issue. This may occur if you are in a classroom with in-person students that are connected to the Zoom meeting and already joined audio from their personal devices. This may also be the case if you are using an iPad or other touch-enabled device for annotation and have it connected to the audio.

To resolve the issue, instruct the in-person students to disconnect their device audio from the meeting:

  • PC/Mac: Click the ^ arrow next to Mute/Unmute and select Leave Computer Audio.
  • iOS/Android: Tap More.. and then tap Disconnect Audio.

To manage multiple speakers in hybrid classrooms for an interactive discussion, consider these options:

  • Limit speaking to only person at a time (whether in-person or remote), similar to a talking stick or a speaker's staff.

For in-person students without a microphone headset:

  • Instruct students to disconnect their device audio from the Zoom meeting to prevent feedback.
  • Instruct students to move or stand within 10 feet of the room microphone to speak.
  • Manually adjust the conference camera to point to the student speaker. 
  • Introduce the student speaker and purpose.

For in-person students with a microphone headset:

  • Lower the volume on the room speakers:
    • Use the volume buttons (+/-) on the room microphone  OR
    • Use the touch panel to increase or decrease the Videoconference Volume (under Videoconference Controls).
  • Click Mute within the Zoom app to mute your own audio.  
  • Unmute select students (one at a time) from within the Zoom app using the Manage Participants feature. 

When finished:

  • Mute select students from within the Zoom app using the Manage Participants feature. 
  • Click Unmute within the Zoom app to unmute your own audio.
  • Raise the volume on the room speakers. 

For remote students:

  • Unmute select students (one at a time) from within the Zoom app using the Manage Participants feature. 
  • Click Mute within the Zoom app to mute your own audio.  

The following tips will help to provide a smooth presentation for both in-person and remote students: 

  • When an in-person student asks a question, repeat it for your remote students.
  • Summarize key discussion points.
  • Instruct students to use the Chat feature in Zoom to ask questions.


Room microphones are either integrated into the resident videoconference equipment or may be mounted at the podium in the new hybrid classroom spaces. 

To adjust the volume in a classroom with a mounted microphone (Yamaha YVC-200):

  • Within the classroom, use the volume buttons (+/-) on the microphone.

To adjust a the volume in an resident VC classroom (via touch panel):

  • Under Videoconference Controls on the touch panel, use the Videoconference Volume feature to increase/decrease the volume of remote students within the room.

Using a full screen option while sharing a PowerPoint presentation in Zoom can be challenging if you are also trying to manage participants or access meeting features like chat.

Consider adjusting your slide show presentation to appear in a resizable window instead. Not only does this provide easier access to the Zoom meeting features, it also allows you to keep your presentation notes open (in a separate application like Microsoft Word or Notepad) at the same time.

Present a slide show in a window