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YouTube and Zoom Tips for Teachers and Learners

Feb 28, 2021
YouTube and Zoom Tips for Teachers and Learners

by Niki Daniels, WI Registrar

A conversation with one learner who recently lost much of his ability to hear encouraged the Wilmette Institute to compile some guidance for teachers, learners, and webinar attendees. This month we will focus on video resources on YouTube and in Zoom. Next month we will share some tips for reading texts that we hope will help you with your studies.

TIP: If the images in this article are too small for you to make out, try right-clicking with your mouse and choosing to “Open image in new tab.”

YouTube: Captions and Transcripts

YouTube’s auto-translation service has improved tremendously over the past couple of years. We’ve learned that some viewers don’t like seeing closed captions running across the bottom of the page. Captions can be distracting—especially when there are many mistakes—but some learners need to watch the captions because they are unable to hear and process what the speaker is saying. If this sounds like you, here are some suggestions we hope will help.

1. Slow down the video

You can slow down (or speed up) any YouTube video by clicking the “Settings” icon and choosing a slower Playback speed. We recommend 0.75, because 0.5 usually is too slow; the sound will be distorted.

2. Turn on the closed captions

Closed captions are turned off by default. To turn them on, click once on the “CC” button at the bottom right of the video screen (to the left of the Settings icon in the image above). This will toggle the captions on and off. Most videos will only have auto-generated captions, but some will have extra options which you can access from the Settings (cogwheel) button shown above.

YouTube offers two types of captions in English: English (auto-generated) and just “English.” The “English” captions have been reviewed and edited by a volunteer or staff member in order to improve their accuracy. The type of captions is briefly displayed at the top left of the video when you click the CC button (see screenshot below).

Note: You must be viewing the video in YouTube to access the features mentioned in this article. If the video you are watching is embedded in your course (in the Moodle Learning Center), first start playing the video, then hover your mouse over the bottom right of the video until you see the YouTube logo. Click on the logo and you will be redirected to the YouTube website.

3. How to access the transcript

In addition to viewing the captions at the bottom of the video, you can also access a rough transcript of the webinar. To find the transcript, look underneath the video, at the right side, next to the “Like” and “Share” options. Clicking on the three horizontally spaced dots will open a menu with two options, the second being “Open transcript.” The transcript will open at the top right of the page.

Here is what the transcript looks like. You can click on a word or phrase to jump to that section of the video. You can also toggle the timestamps on and off. If you wish to print the transcript, select the text you want to print using your mouse and keyboard, and copy and paste the text into your preferred app such as Microsoft Word, or Notepad.

Zoom Invitations and Innovations

Most Wilmette Institute students and webinar attendees are aware of how to join a Zoom meeting. But what if you don’t have a computer? Or what if your hearing is impaired so that you can’t keep up with the conversation? You may find the following suggestions useful.

1. Joining a Zoom meeting by phone

If you’re in a Wilmette Institute course, and you want to join a Zoom meeting by phone, or if you want to attend a webinar by phone, here are some tips. The first section (A) is for meetings that do not require registration, where all you get is a link to join the meeting. The second section (B) is for meetings and webinars that do require registration. The third section (C) is more specifically for Wilmette Institute webinar attendees, but also applies to students attending course Zoom meetings who do not have a computer with a microphone or camera.

(A) The current Zoom call-in numbers are listed below. When you call you will need to enter the “Meeting ID.” If a meeting ID was not provided, ask the person who sent you the invitation for it. Most of the time you can also tell the meeting ID from the Zoom URL. The 11-digit numerical ID will be at the end of the link.

Meeting ID: 711 3804 9751

Zoom Call-in numbers
For higher quality calls, dial by your location (USA)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Or, find your local number (for international Zoomers)

(B) After you register for your Zoom meeting, you will receive a registration confirmation email with your unique link for joining the meeting. If you don’t see the email within a couple of minutes, check your Spam box. The emails will come from the address The email should also contain the call-in numbers listed above, and the Zoom Meeting ID.

(C) In a Wilmette Institute webinar, your camera and microphone are disabled; only the cameras and mics of the host, and the speaker/s (or panelists) will be enabled. So it doesn’t matter if you have a mic or camera. What’s more, our webinars are recorded, so you can watch them on YouTube after the webinar. It usually takes between 24 and 48 hours for the recording to be posted on our website. An easy way to find the webinar recordings is to look for them on our Webinars page. You can also find them in the Webinars playlist on our YouTube channel.

Lastly, for students attending a course Zoom meeting, it is perfectly fine to attend without a camera or microphone. You will still be able to see and hear the other participants. You might want to let your mentor know that you plan to attend this way. If you wish to be able to join the conversation, you can join the meeting with both your computer and your phone. That way you can hear (through the phone) and see (on the computer) at the same time.

2. Wilmette Institute Zoom now offers auto-captioning

Zoom hosts with a Business, Education, or Enterprise license with cloud recording enabled can now enable a live auto-transcription of their Zoom meetings. This service will be rolled out to free Zoom account hosts in Fall 2021, according to this Feb. 24 blog post from Zoom. The Host of a Wilmette Institute Zoom meeting will see a new option between the “Record” and the “Breakout Rooms” buttons. See screenshot below.

Once the transcription is enabled, Zoom will transcribe whatever is said in the meeting. The Host can turn the transcription off and on again during the meeting. Attendees in the meeting should not need to push any buttons in order to see the transcription, and they will be able to “Hide subtitles” if they don’t want to see the captions at the bottom of the screen. Just as with YouTube, the transcriptions are quite good, but proper names – including Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – are likely to be misspelled.

Both Hosts and attendees can also view, and save to their computer, a transcript of the Zoom session. This Zoom web page explains in more detail how this new service works.


Nicola Daniels, MSc

WI Registrar & Student Services Specialist

I was born in Kingston, Jamaica. My interest in music, theatre, and the literary arts led me to abandon my academic degrees and a career in the Forensic Sciences, to take up a position with the British Council Caribbean as Arts & Education Officer. I worked for several years as the British Council Manager in my homeland, performing at various times with the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company, the National Chorale, and the Carifolk Singers. A small book of my poetry—Weights and Measures—was published by the Calabash Foundation in 2005, and my poems have garnered awards and been honored by publication in several anthologies. I served (and learned) alongside Jamaica’s first national poet laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris, as a judge for the Cultural Development Commission’s annual poetry competition. In 2008 I migrated to the US to live with my husband, Julian, whom I met on Bahá’í pilgrimage in Israel. My first teaching experience was as a poetry tutor at the Phillip Sherlock Center for the Creative Arts. Later, I participated in one of the first Wilmette Institute Science & Religion courses, and have since served as faculty on that course, and several others. In March 2012, I gave a presentation on World Peace at a Peace Conference hosted by Lander University. This experience inspired me to create a board game called Heart to Heart, featuring short quotations on unifying spiritual themes from 10 of the world’s religions and cultures. The game led to a website, a video channel, firmer friendships, a lot of learning, and a good deal of fun! I have served as a member of the Wilmette Institute Board, and also worked part-time for the Institute as Marketing Coordinator and Course Creation Assistant. I get a thrill from using my creative and (mostly self-taught) computer skills to create instructional materials. In March (2019) I took up a position as the Institute’s first Registrar. I enjoy handbell ringing with the Emerald Bells (finally back together after Covid), and since 2021, making music in my home studio and blogging.See Faculty Bio


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