Timetabled lectures in Zoom & Teams

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have adapted lecture timetables to include links to Zoom and Teams online teaching activities. This is a brand new service that we have been working together with colleagues across the Faculties to create from scratch in just under two weeks.

Find answers to common questions about this brand-new service:

I can't find any links in the Timetable System 

Links are only visible within your Personal Timetable at Timetables web portal.

Your personal timetable is the default view when you log into the timetable web portal. You can return to your Personal Timetable at any time by selecting the My Timetable menu item on the left-hand side of the screen.

Links cannot be seen within the other areas of the timetable web portal, such as via module searches. Links are not displayed in any other web system, such as TULIP.

My activity in the Timetable System doesn't have links

Only activities with the following categories within Syllabus+ have links automatically generated for them:

  • ONLSTAFF
  • ONLSTUDENT
  • ONCAMP-LT/SEMINAR

If your activity is not one of the above categories, we will not be generating links automatically. Please speak to the central timetabling team if you require further information about the makeup of your timetabled activities.

When will my Zoom and Teams meeting links be visible in the timetable and why can’t I see them all for the entire semester?

For the first few weeks of term we will be publishing the links towards the end of the week for the following week (Thursday for Monday and Tuesday the following week, Friday for Wednesday to Friday the following week). We are making significant enhancements to this service and it is therefore prudent not to publish too many links too far in advance that may then need to be replaced.

Once we have completed the enhancements to this service we aim to publish all generated links into the timetable 7 days in advance of the session.

We are not able to publish the entire semester’s links in one go. There are a number of factors that have been considered including the possible changes to the timetable this year that would render links invalid. In order that we do not create a large number of meaningless meetings we are only working 7 days in advance.  In Zoom there are also considerations around the number of meetings any user can have in a single day. Creating multiple Zoom meetings for the same user account can mean that the user reaches a limit and cannot create any new meetings for that day. We could easily exceed this limit should we crate links too far in advance.

When will the link for my Zoom meeting be available? Why can’t we have these links earlier?

Links for Zoom meetings for staff will become available 1 hour in advance of the start of the meeting.

All of the system-generated links for Zoom meeting hosts (i.e. staff) expire after 2 hours. This is a security setting imposed by Zoom that unfortunately we cannot override. In order to ensure that the link is active when you need it, we have set up an automated job to refresh the links 1 hour in advance of the meetings.

Please note, Zoom meetings will be generated 7 days in advance of the sessions and the links for general participants (i.e. the students) do not need to be refreshed. General participants have fewer privileges and, as such, Zoom do not consider them to be a comparable security issue.

I have created my own links - how do I add them to the system?

If you have created your own links, you can update the timetable system so all students can easily see your links within the timetable apps. To update links:

  1. Log into the timetables web portal 
  2. Select the individual activity
  3. Click the blue edit button
  4. Enter the details for your meeting
  5. Click the blue save button

Each individual activity (Zoom or Teams) has its own unique link information. Therefore, you will need to update each individual activity manually, even if you have created a recurring meeting within Teams or Zoom.

Any links which are manually added to the system are never overwritten by the system. They will always remain in place and can only then be amended by the user.

I want to opt out / I don't want a particular module included

The new link generation system is based on module prefix, not specific module IDs, so we are only able to run it for all modules or none at all, we can't identify specific modules to leave out, unfortunately.

We are also unable to specify the instructor for each activity. The system reads from Syllabus+ and Curriculum Manager to obtain a suitable instructor to assign as host - each meeting requires a host.

If you are creating your own links manually, we would advise that you log into the timetables web portal, select each activity and edit the current system generated links with your own link information. In this way students will be able to view your link information within their timetable mobile apps.

The ability to "opt out" on a per-module basis is on our roadmap to include as development in the future.


I am not the correct meeting host - I want to specify X as the meeting host

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to specify the host within our service. The new meeting generator system initially read the instructor data within the Syllabus+ timetable system but that was not always providing sufficient data. There is also a daily limit on how many meetings can be created in Zoom without a valid account, so we had to look elsewhere for valid instructor data. We now read both Syllabus+ and Curriculum Manager to ensure we can gain a valid user to assign as a host of the meeting.

We will be looking to increase functionality within the system in the future to include features such as specifying hosts manually.

In Zoom I am not recorded in the Timetable system as the meeting host, can I still act as the host in this meeting?

Yes, all staff have access to a special 'host' URL. You do not need to be the named host to have these permissions. Note, the URL used by staff in Zoom is different to the URL used by attendees (i.e. students). You should not share the host URL except with other members of staff.

My Zoom meeting did not work - it was asking me for a password. I could only join as a guest

We discovered during the sessions on Monday 14 October, that all of the system generated Zoom URLs for meeting hosts (i.e. staff) were expiring after 2 hours. This is a security feature of Zoom which we were not aware of until it started happening. We have now created and launched additional functionality to refresh each of the Zoom host URLs one hour before the start of the session to prevent them expiring. You should not experience any further issues when using the system generated Zoom host URLs.

I want to use Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

We have discovered that the breakout functionality in a Microsoft Teams meeting does not work for staff via the links. This will require additional functionality which we hope to have in place in the near future.

If you wish to use breakout rooms in your teaching, you will need to set up a new meeting in Microsoft Teams manually and notify the students to use the new links (ideally by updating the timetable system so all students can easily see your new links within the timetable apps).


Other useful information which may help:

In Zoom (does not apply to Teams), if the meeting owner (lead academic) is not correct in the timetable system, the lecturer who joins that meeting will have the name label of the incorrect academic.

Similarly, if multiple academics join the session they will all have the name of the lead academic. You can change the name label once in the meeting.

Apple and Android lecture timetables mobile apps have been updated and are available.

 

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