Zoom Participant Engagement Tools

There are multiple ways to engage with students over Zoom. Like in a face-to-face classroom setting, you can look for facial cues and physically raised hands, and ask students to tell you verbally how things are going or if they have questions.

But Zoom has additional features that can help you gauge student reactions and call on students during discussions. In addition to helping provide cues that can be more difficult to observe over video, these enable you to vary the teaching methods you use throughout the class period (and thereby combat “Zoom fatigue”). You can:
  • Ask students to type in the chat tool
  • Use Zoom’s Reactions feature (described below) to see whose hands are raised for questions or comments, and get other feedback from the whole class at once.
  • Use Zoom’s polling feature (described below) to pose multiple choice questions to the class.
  • Assemble students in small breakout groups for peer-to-peer engagement and learning.

Reactions feature

Access this feature through the Reactions button in your Zoom meeting toolbar (bottom of screen).

Reactions button on Zoom toolbar

Students can place an icon beside their name to communicate with you and each other without disrupting the flow of the meeting. For example, clicking Raise Hand places the raise hand icon beside your name.

All participants can see the icons that everyone else has chosen. In addition, the host sees a summary of how many participants are displaying each icon and has the option to remove all feedback.

How students and instructors use Reactions

During the live meeting, students click the Reactions button at the bottom of the screen. Click one of the icons to provide feedback to the host. Click the icon again to remove it.

During the live meeting, instructors will see student reactions in two places: alongside student video feeds in the Gallery View and alongside student names in the Participants list.

Click the Participants button to see a list of participants and their reactions.

In the participants list, you can view and manage reactions using these features:

  • If a student clicked on a reactions icon, you’ll see that icon beside their name.
  • The number above each reactions icon shows how many students total have clicked on that reaction.*Note that tallies for Yes, No, Slower, Faster, and Raised Hand reactions will persist on screen, whereas tallies for ’emoji-based reactions’ will disappear after a few seconds (these are the Clapping, Thumbs Up, Heart, Laughing, Surprise, and Celebrate reactions).
  • Instructors can lower the hands of individual students and can clear all feedback to remove the reactions icons.

Polling feature

Zoom also has a polling feature for meetings that allows you to create single choice or multiple choice polling questions for your meetings. You will be able to launch the poll during your meeting and gather the responses from your attendees. You have the ability to download a report of polling after the meeting or conduct polls anonymously if you do not wish to collect participant information with the poll results. 

This article describes how to create and launch polls during your Zoom meetings.

Keep in mind that only the original meeting host can create polls. Co-hosts can launch pre-created polls but cannot create new ones. (Learn more about Host and Co-host control in a Zoom Meeting).

Interested in learning more on this topic? Consider watching the webinar, Avoid Zoom Gloom: Effective Engagement Techniques for GSB Online Classes.