How to join the online class


When you log in, you'll see "Join" next to your upcoming session on Dashboard, or on the Timetable tab.

Click this link when it's time to join the class.

We suggest that you practise logging in and locating this link before your first class!

FOR THE FIRST CLASS OF TERM, please join 10 MINUTES BEFORE THE START TIME to iron out any problems. For subsequent classes, 5 minutes early will be fine.

Hints and Guidelines on this page:

  • Laptops / Desktop Computers
  • Mobile: Tablets / Phones
  • Zoom Class Etiquette!
  • Troubleshooting

Laptops / Desktop Computers

This is the best option due to more features.

  • Click the Join link from your El Patio student login.
  • Your audio and video should be already on, but if you can't hear anything, there might be an option to change your audio/video setup in Zoom > Preferences.

Zoom Help page:

  • Getting Started on Windows or Mac
  • Note that the "Zoom Client" is downloaded the first time you click a link to join a class (meeting)
    • You do not need to do this yourself/manually (you just have to agree)
    • You do not need to sign in to Zoom to join the class (even though the page above suggests otherwise)

Technical hints:

  • Speaker View / Gallery View: at top, right-hand corner of the Zoom screen you can toggle between these two views. Gallery View enables you to see all participants. Speaker View makes the current speaker's video appear larger.
  • Pin Video: if you right-click on the teacher's video, there's an option to Pin Video - this means that the teacher's video will remain the largest (even when others are speaking).
  • Microphone / Video settings: at bottom left of the Zoom screen are two buttons which allow you to toggle on/off the audio/video. If you click the little upward arrows to the right of each, you'll see options (which depend on your computer setup)
  • Chat: the chat button at the bottom enables this. You can select either Everyone or one of the participants to send your message.

Settings for Laptops and Desktop computers

Mobile: Tablets / Phones:

These are not the best options due to less features, but much better than nothing! Tablets are better than phones due to their size and the ability to see more of the participants at once. 

  • Before joining the first class you need to download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app from the App Store or Google Play
  • Log in to your El Patio student account and click the link for the class. It should go to the class, perhaps via a dialogue screen asking if you want audio/video (yes).

Zoom Help page:

Technical hints:

  • Speaker View / Gallery View: by touching and selecting or swiping the screen you can toggle between these two views. Gallery View enables you to see all participants. Speaker View makes the current speaker's video appear larger.
  • Pin Video: if you double-tap on the teacher's video, it will remain the largest (even when others are speaking). Double-tap to unpin.
  • Microphone / Video settings: at bottom-left are two buttons which allow you to toggle on/off the audio/video.
  • Chat: the chat button is found (most probably) in the sub-menu when you tap the "More ..." at bottom-right. You can select either Everyone or one of the participants to send your message.
  • When the teacher shares a document, there's a "+" and  "-" on the corners of the teacher's video view:
    • + adds Gallery View (other students)
    • - deletes the teacher video view
    • the little camera icon brings the teacher back
  • Note: these instructions aren't confirmed to work for every device, so you may need to experiment

Zoom Class Etiquette!

Here are some hints to help keep the class a great experience for everyone:

  • Device: as mentioned above, a laptop or desktop computer is preferable to a mobile device (if possible) due to them having more functionality. The adjustment of audio/video settings is a lot easier, and can improve the class experience for everyone.
  • Preparation:
    • for your first time in a Zoom class, it is best to be prepared as much as possible. Familiarise yourself with finding the Join link, from your El Patio student login. If you become disconnected from the class you will be able to quickly rejoin.
    • try to learn Zoom's features, eg, the raise-your-hand icon, annotating the shared screen, audio muting/unmuting, etc. These things help your class be agile and to flow smoothly.
  • Audio quality: to control the audio that is being heard by everone else, it is better, if at all possible, to use a headset and microphone. This will improve the sound quality for all, including yourself.
  • A quiet place:
    • It is best to set up in a quiet place where you will (hopefully!) not be interrupted. Of course there may come a time to introduce your pets to the class, but it's probably best to leave others out of the study session for the most part!
    • If there is a lot of background noise, your teacher may ask you to mute your microphone (or may advise that she/he will mute it for you).
  • Participation:
    • Because the online classes involve a slight delay, it's prudent to allow more time to listen what others are saying, so there is less voice overlap (and hence misunderstandings). This is a new skill that we all have to learn!
    • Please be democratic with your time spent answering or commenting in class. If you speak more than others, this seems to be exaggerated in the online situation, and you can be perceived to be capturing the class!



  • Echo: this is a problem that can ruin the class for everyone! Echo can occur in the following situations:
    • there are two people in a room in the same meeting (class)
    • you are using an external speaker
    • the volume is too loud and causing feedback - try turning the audio down a little on your device
    • if it's not known where the echo is coming from, your teacher may mute the class and unmute everyone one by one to locate it


  • Firewalls: your computer may have heavy firewall settings that prevent access to the camera. You need to adjust the firewall settings or use a different device


  • Hotspot: hot spot your computer's wifi using your phone's data. If data is an issue, you may want to talk to your service provider - some have been offering free data in the current situation
  • Reset: reset your router - turn it off, fully unplug it and leave for a minute or two before turning it back on, can help to reset it
  • Wifi blackspot: move closer to your router if possible; if this solves the problem, purchasing a wifi extender so you can be in another room, is a good idea
  • Weak wifi: use an ethernet cable to plug into your computer from the router to overcome any wifi issues. These cables can be found online cheaply (or there may be one lying around the house)
  • Speed: the speed of your connection can affect the video as well as the audio. If this is a problem in class, you can try turning off your video for a while, and it will probably improve the audio quality
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP): if nothing here works, it may be worth calling your provider and asking for help (and definitely asking for more data or speed for free!)

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