Zoom: New IT tool enhances collaboration

The introduction of Zoom video conferencing technology to the University of Newcastle has brought with it a world of opportunity for staff and students.

Zoom is one of a number initiatives underway across the University of Newcastle that supports the demand for flexible engagement and collaboration in higher education.

“Zoom has already resulted in some great outcomes for staff, but we are just scraping the surface of the opportunities it provides to support national and international teaching and learning experiences,” said Anthony Molinia –Chief Information Officer from IT Services.

While traditional video conferencing has been described as ‘clunky’ and lacking a quality user experience, Zoom’s ease of use provides the next best thing to face-to-face meetings. The tool is not only great for professional staff collaboration, it is also impressing faculties who say “it just works” when it comes to a variety of needs including multi-campus teaching and improved flexible engagement between faculty and students.

“We have struggled with other video conferencing tools over the years. We have students from multiple sites across our footprint joining various lectures. We find Zoom so much more reliable and user-friendly than other services we have used in the past,” said Jennifer Lang – Executive Officer from University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.

The tool also brings a range of productivity and efficiency benefits.

“Zoom provides us with much needed flexibility to stay in touch with colleagues and our partners in a time when schedules and busy diaries don’t always allow for face to face contact.  Zoom enables opportunities to reduce unnecessary travel time, increase productivity and extends the opportunities for more regular contact and engagement,explained Nat McGregor – Chief Operating Officer.

Reflecting the demand and ease-of-use the tool has been quickly adopted, with almost 3000 staff currently using Zoom.

Zoom meeting rooms are being progressively rolled out across all University of Newcastle campuses.  A recent upgrade within the Chancellery has ensured a consistent user experience across all Zoom-enabled meeting rooms, with new technology being installed in the ‘Canberra’ room for the first time.

While the tool was originally rolled out to staff, demand for student access has resulted in IT Services activating Zoom for all students. This has already delivered more flexible engagement between HDR students and their supervisors, and enhanced the experience for students on placement.  Future opportunities to extend Zoom for student-to-student and student-to-staff collaboration are under development – watch this space!

To learn more about Zoom: