Google Meet is a video conferencing app. It is the business-oriented version of Google’s Hangouts platform and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution enables users to make video calls with up to 250 users and display up to 49 users simultaneously on screen.

Google Meets allows users to join pre-scheduled meetings from calendar events, choose a link, enter meeting code and even dial in from their phones if the invitation includes a phone number. Google Meet integrates with G Suite versions of Google Calendar and Gmail and shows the complete list of participants and scheduled meetings. It shows a “join” button for users to connect to the meeting and provides options to mute and turn off the video during the meeting.

This post will look at how to schedule a Google Meet, how to invite students and a basic operatinoal guide to its features.

Schedule a video meeting from Google Calendar:

 

It’s easy to schedule a Meet video meeting in Google Calendar—just create an event and add your guests to it. A video meeting link is added to a Calendar event either by inviting one or more guests to the event, or by clicking Add conferencing.

Note: Guests can forward the meeting link to other people. If someone tries to join who was not invited to the Calendar event, a meeting participant from your organization must accept their request. For meetings organized by a personal Google Account, only the meeting creator can admit these participants.

Steps are as follows:

  1. In Calendar, create an event. (This event could be a one off or a repeat event.)

  2. Click ‘Add Google Meet Video Conferencing
  3. Click Add guests and enter the names or email of the people you want to invite. (Paste the email addresses of those you wish to invite into here)
  4. Click Save.
  5. Click Send to notify guests (optional – add a note to go along with your invite).

 

Obtaining and Adding Student Email Addresses into a Google Meet Calendar Invite

There are 2 options when scheduling a Google Meet: 

Option 1 – Once you have enabled ‘Google Meet Video Conferencing’ you can email participants the link to join a meeting. 

Be aware however that anyone with the link can join the meeting though if anyone tries to sign in from outside of their University email account it will ask the host for permission to add them to the meeting. If using this method, copy the link from the calendar item and use Blackboard ‘Send Email’ to distribute the invitation.

Option 2 – Inviting participants via a Google Calendar invite. This is the preferred option as it places a join link into a calendar invite into every students google calendar. However the effectiveness of this relies on students using their google calendar functions. To do this you will need to paste the student email address into the ‘Add Guests’ area of your calendar invite.

Google allows you to copy and paste columns containing email addresses from spreadsheets into the Email address bar and a ‘Add Guest’ area of google apps. It formats the column of data into the individual email addresses (a very useful function).

 

To get a spreadsheet of students on a module, in the Blackboard module menu go to the ‘Users and Groups’ area and click ‘Manage Users’ at the top right of the screen click the ‘More’ button and select ‘Export to Excel’, this will download an excel worksheet with all the students registered to your computer, Delete any staff  enrollments, you can select the column of email addresses and paste into the  ‘Add Guest’ area and select send.

If you need to send invites to a group within Blackboard then go to the ‘Users and Groups’ area and click ‘Groups’ you can then select export’, choose the Groups and Members option. You will then have an excel document with your group members and email addresses to be able to copy into the address / add guest area.

Operational Guide: Host Controls

The organiser of a Google Meet is now a Host. The host controls help manage who can join the meetings and allows / prevents participants from screen sharing and using the chat function. The host control is accessible from the blue shield at the bottom left of an active session:-

 

Once clicked you will have an interface that allows you to turn off participants ability to share their screen or write in the chat window. 

Please note: 

  • Disabling screen sharing does not stop the participant having their camera and audio on.
  • Disabling chat does not prevent students from asking questions in the Q&A Tab or responding to polls.

Operational Guide: Visual Display

Google Meets has multiple display options that any participant can select when in a meeting. The are accessed via the more options button (3 vertical dots at the bottom right of the display)

Select the ‘Change Layout’ option. From here you will be able to select the most appropriate layout for your meeting. 

  • Auto: the view that Meet chooses for you. By default, you’ll see 9 tiles on your screen.
  • Tiled: the view that can display up to 49 people at the same time. By default, you’ll see 16 tiles on your screen. At the bottom of the window, move the slider to the number of tiles you want to see on your screen
  • Spotlight: the active speaker or shared screen fills the entire window.
  • Sidebar: the main image is of the active speaker or shared screen. You’ll see thumbnails of additional participants on the side.

Your new layout preference is automatically saved, but the number of tiles will revert back to the default setting at the start of every meeting.back to the default setting at the start of every meeting. 

TIP: It may be useful to instruct your students to use the spotlight view when presenting slides /  powerpoints or conducting interviews and use the tile view when engaging in seminar and discussion led activities. (of course this would be entirely down to the student to enable)

View yourself in a video meeting

You can choose whether or not you would like to see yourself appear alongside other participants in a meeting. You will not see yourself among participants if you select the Spotlight layout or have pinned another participant.

Turn on self-view in a video call: 

Important: Your self-view is off by default, and your preferences have been saved for later calls. In the top-right corner of your screen, hover over the preview of your webcam and then click ‘Show in a tile‘.

Operational Guide: Video Options

Google Meets allows you to set some video options to improve the quality and connectivity of a meeting. 

Resolution: The resolution of outgoing and incoming video quality can be set to best utilise your  internet bandwidth. By default both of these settings are set to 360p (the smallest streaming size), you have the option if you click ‘more options’ > Settings. To change either of these to 720p to increase the quality of the video you’re sending and receiving. 

Please Note: These settings have an impact on how much bandwidth you are using, if you have a very fast internet connection then this will improve the quality of incoming and outgoing images, however if you do not have a fast connection this may slow down and ‘lag’ your connection.

Background Blur: To help limit distractions during meetings, you can now blur the background of your video in Google Meet. When it’s turned on, Meet will intelligently separate you from the background, blurring your surroundings while keeping you clear and in focus. 

 

Operational Guide: Audio Options

Google Meets allows you to set some Audio options to improve the quality and connectivity of a meeting. 

To help limit distractions in your video call, you can filter out background noise. Meet can remove background noises such as typing, closing a door, or the sounds of a nearby construction site.

  • Audio capture from screen sharing won’t be affected by noise cancelling.
  • Meet filters out noises that don’t sound like voices. Voices from TV or people talking at the same time won’t be filtered out.
  • If non-speech is an important part of your call, like playing musical instruments, turn off noise cancellation.

To enable Noise cancellation

  1. Select More Options 
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Noise cancellation on/off.

Operational Guide: Hand Raise Tool

Raise or lower your hand

To raise your hand:

  •  Scroll to the bottom of the screen and then click Hand raise Hand Raise.

To lower your hand:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and then click Lower hand Hand Raise.
  • When someone raises their hand, all participants are notified. The Hand Raise icon also appears on the participant’s self view.

 Tip: You or the moderator can lower your hand. If the moderator lowers your hand, you receive a notification.

Lower hands as a moderator

  • From the top right, click the People tab People Tab.
  • Scroll to the “Raised hands” section.
  • To lower a hand, next to the participant’s name, click Lower hand Hand Raise.
  • To lower all hands scroll to “Raised hands” and click Lower all.

     

    Present during a Video Call

    You can present your entire screen or a specific window in a meeting. While you present, you can share information such as documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more.

    Present during a meeting

    1. Join a video meeting.
    2. On the bottom, select Present now Share screen .
    3. Select Your entire screen, A window, or A tab.
      • If you present a Chrome tab, it shares that tab’s audio by default.
      • To present a different tab, select the tab you want to present, click Share this tab instead.
    4. Select Share.

    If your camera is turned on, your video is active while you’re presenting.

    Stop presenting

    • In the Meet window, click Stop Presenting.
    • On the bottom , you can also click You are presenting and then Stop presenting.

    Prevent participants from sharing their screen

    Important: Preventing call participants from sharing their screen is currently only available for Google Workspace for Education users. You can only enable this setting on a computer but it applies to all device types.

    Meeting organizers can stop participants from sharing their screen. If you turn presentations off in recurring meetings or meetings that use the same meeting code, the setting will be saved for the next scheduled meeting. If you turn presentations off in a one-time, nicknamed, or instant meeting, the presentation setting will turn on after the meeting ends.

    To turn screen share on or off:

    1. Join a Meet video call.
    2. On the bottom, click Host controls .
    3. Turn Share their screen on or off.

     

       

      Operational Guide: Jamboard (Whiteboard Tool)

      Google Meet allows you to create a Jamboard (or select a pre-created one from your google drive) and share it with the participants of the meeting. Please note that the aprticipant limit for a jamboard is 50 people, if you are conducing a session with more than this consider dividing the group up to use multiple jamboards (ie. a jamboard for students with Surname A-H, I-Q and R-Z).

      Launching a Jamboard in Google Meets

      1. Hover in your Google Meet over the bottom to get the menu to show up. Click on the 3 dots and choose the option “Whiteboard.”

      2. Select to “Start a new whiteboard” or Choose a Jam already created in Google Drive.

      Automatic Sharing

      1. Google Meet is about collaborating and meeting with others. A window will pop up letting you choose to give access to those who are in the meeting. The default is to share with VIEW access those who are currently in the meeting. You can change this from view to Edit to allow the participants to draw on the whiteboard also.

      Alternatively, you can choose the 2nd option to give ANYONE with the link to the Jam view access. Note that you can click on the Share button in the upper right, just like any Google document, and change the sharing permissions manually. Including, anyone with the link can EDIT.

      Operational Guide: Recording a Meeting

      Any Meetings recorded will be downloaded into your google drive folder after the meeting has ended into a folder called ‘Meet Recordings’. The recording will be named with the date / time of the meeting and the title that you gave the meeting. 

      1. Click on More Options  in the bottom right corner of the Meet screen
      2. Select ‘Start Recording’ in the menu

      Repeat the process to stop the recording. Recordings will stop when using the breakout rooms. Please check when exiting breakout rooms that the recording has resumed.

      Operational Guide: Breakout Rooms

      Breakout rooms allow educators to split students into simultaneous small group discussions. The breakout group function can be found at the top right hand side of the screen. Breakout rooms can only be set up and launched by the meeting moderator.

      Create a breakout room

      1. At the top right, click Activities Breakout rooms.
      2. In the Breakout rooms panel, choose the number of breakout rooms. You can create up to 100 breakout rooms in a call.
      3. Call participants will then be randomly and equally distributed across the rooms.
        • Enter the participant’s name.
        • Click the participant’s name. Hold down the mouse, drag the name, and then drop it into another breakout room. 
        • To manually move people into different rooms, you can either:
        • To randomly mix up the groups again, click Shuffle .
      4. At the bottom right, click Create. 

      Edit, join, or leave breakout rooms

      Once you’ve created breakout rooms, you can make changes to the rooms or join each breakout room to monitor and participate in discussions.

      Please Note: Moderators won’t see chat messages that were exchanged between participants before they join or after they leave a breakout room.

      • To make changes to the participant groups or the number of breakout rooms, click Edit breakout rooms . Once you’ve made your changes, click Save. 
      • To join an individual breakout room, next to the breakout room number, click Join.  
      • To leave all breakout rooms and return to the Main room, next to the current breakout room, click Leave.

      Breakout room Timer

      A timer can be set for breakout rooms that displays to participants, the time left in the breakout session is shown at the top of your screen. When the moderator ends the session or the timer runs out, you’ll have 30 seconds to finish your breakout room discussion and rejoin the main room.

      End breakout rooms

      1. In the Breakout rooms panel, at the top right, click End breakout rooms .
      2. Click End breakout rooms.

      Please Note: If any student is logged out of Google Meet while in a breakout room, upon joining the session the student is asked if they wish to rejoin the room.

      For more information about the use of breakout rooms and techniques to use to effectively use them, click <HERE

      Operational Guide: Q & A

      The new Q&A feature, allows students to ask questions without disrupting the flow of the lesson or discussion. Students can post their questions to a queue and other students can upvote questions so the teacher knows which to answer first. For better control, teachers can hide any questions and can enable or disable question submission at any time.

      Q&A helps students share and prioritize questions without interrupting lessons. At the end of each session the Host is emailed a google sheet with the questions asked.

      The Q&A feature needs to be enabled in a meeting for students to use it.

      To turn on Q&A: 

      •  In a meeting, in the top-right corner, click Activities .
      • Click Q&A, the click ‘Turn on Q&A’.

       

      A meeting participant can then add questions to a meeting. Anyone in the meeting can see your questions until you delete them. The meeting moderator can hide your questions and see all your deleted questions. 

      For Students to ask a question

      1. In a meeting, in the top-right corner, click Activities  click Q&A.
      2. In the lower-right corner, click Ask a question.
      3. Enter your question, click Post.

      Find, upvote, or delete a question

      1. In a meeting, in the top-right corner, click Activities  click Q&A.
      2. To sort questions by popularity or chronologically, next to “Popular”, click Down arrow and select an option.
      3. To view everyone’s questions, click All questions.
      4. To view only your questions, click My questions.
      5. To upvote a question, on the question, click Upvote .
      6. To delete a question, on the question, click Delete .

      Operational Guide: Polling

      Conduct a poll in a video call

      For meeting moderators: 

      As a meeting moderator, you can create polls for participants to vote on. Anyone who schedules or starts a meeting will be the moderator. There can only be one moderator per meeting. If you transfer a meeting to—or schedule a meeting on—someone else’s calendar, that person might become the moderator.

      After the meeting, the moderator is automatically emailed a report of the poll results. The report includes the names and answers of the participants. 

      Create a poll

      1. In a meeting, in the top-right corner, click Activities  click Polls.
      2. Click Start a poll. 
      3. Enter a question and add options for the poll.
      4. Choose one:
        • To post your poll, click Launch.
        • To save your poll so you can launch it later, click Save.
          Tip: Polls you save remain listed under Polls. 

      Please Note: Once a google Meet has been created a moderator can enter the meet and pre load the poll questions into the session.

      For meeting participants: 

      As a meeting participant, you can submit a response for a poll. 

      You’ll get a notification in the meeting when the moderator starts a poll. Be sure to submit your response before the poll or meeting ends. 

      In a meeting:

      1. In the top-right corner, click Activities  click Polls.
      2. In the poll, select your response and click Vote.

        Tip: After you click Vote, you can’t change your response.

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