Setting up your virtual space

Setting up your virtual space is both a technical exercise and a values-driven opportunity to create a space that is tailored to the needs of the participants. 

The campus Instructional Resilience website at Berkeley's Center for Teaching & Learning offers detailed (and frequently updated) advice regarding the parameters of Zoom, google hangout, and other virtual spaces that allow a host to curate the participation of others in the virtual meeting. Hosts of meetings can choose to make events public or private, to allow or prohibit screen sharing, require passwords for participation, remove participants, mute or unmute audio and video, and much more.

There is also an important human component to an effective, inclusive, respectful virtual space. The tips, below, for hosts and participants, offer ways of humanizing the virtual space.

Your role as host

Hosts of meeting spaces can have a major impact on the tone of the space.

  • Foster a sense of belonging and inclusion
  • Create opportunities to connect, check in and otherwise humanize the online environment
  • Convey confidence that you are managing the space
  • Convey a commitment to collective engagement
  • Demonstrate your own respect for all participants and perspectives
  • Encourage "upstander" behavior
  • Explain that you will take responsibility and follow up on reports of abuse (to OPHD, Conduct, Ethicspoint etc.)

Your role as participant

Participants, too, have a role to play in creating an inclusive and successful virtual class or meeting.

  • Uphold the norms/expectations conveyed by the host
  • Engage in ways approved/recommended by the host
  • Share your perspectives and be respectful of the perspectives of others
  • Be responsible in your use of air time and chat space
  • Be an "upstander" - communicate concerns about insensitivity or abuse when you observe it

Your role as "upstander"

Whether you speak up at the time or later, your role as an "upstander" is critical to maintaining a healthy virtual environment.

  • Support healthy virtual space by calling out microaggressions or other abuse if you observe it
  • You can send a private chat to the host during the session
  • You can also contact the host afterwards
  • You can also report to OPHD, Conduct, Ethicspoint, etc.