What is Zoom?

Zoom is the video conferencing tool you’ll use to participate in a livestream OLLI course. You do not need a Zoom account to access a class. No logins or passwords required.

Please note: You also DO NOT need Zoom to watch a video of a pre-recorded course. Those are viewable on OLLI’s private YouTube channel. Links to those videos will be in your personal “Course Materials” folder on the OLLI website.


What equipment do I need?

You need one of these:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop, Mac or Windows)
  • Smartphone (iPhone or Android)
  • Tablet (any)

Optional equipment — not required, but nice to have:

  • Headphones with a microphone: This will let you hear and be heard more clearly. Simple headphones you’d use with your phone will do the trick. Again, this is optional.

Click here for a 1-minute video about testing your equipment.


How do I join my livestream Zoom class?

  • Log into your account on the OLLI website, then click on the “Course Materials” tab.


  • Click the "course_zoom_link" under the course title. You will have two options from which to choose: a “docx” file and a “pdf” file. Both work. That said, if you run into trouble with one, try opening the other. They will open a document that includes the actual Zoom link. Each course has its own unique Zoom link. You will use the same Zoom link each week for that particular course.


  • First time Zoom user? Do this before the start of your first class:


    • Laptop and Desktop users: The first time you click on the Zoom link (detailed above) it will download a free and secure program to your computer, which you then install. Follow the prompts. If you want to get a head start on it, go here now, then click “download” under “Zoom Client for Meetings”.


    • Smartphone and Tablet users: Download the free and secure Zoom app — Zoom.us — from your app store.

Click here for a 1-minute video about joining Zoom.


What if …?


Anything else I should know?

Glad you asked!

  • You only have to install Zoom once. After that, you simply have to click on the Zoom link provided in your “Course Materials” folder to access the class. If you’ve already downloaded Zoom for any other purpose — a book club, a family chat, anything — you’re set. No need to download Zoom again.


  • You’ll be admitted into the classroom a few minutes before the start of class.


  • All students will be muted in the classroom. That means you’ll hear the instructor and only the instructor. If called upon during a Q & A, you will be unmuted to ask your question.


  • Zoom offers lots of choices for how to view the class, which is nice but also potentially intimidating. Remember: All you really have to do is click the Zoom link provided in “Course Materials”, download the app (first time only), sit back and watch. Everything else is gravy.


  • That said, here are some helpful links to enhance the viewing experience:


  • Zoom offers 60-minute webinars. Learn more and sign up here.


  • Here’s a helpful article on how to launch Zoom from your web browser.


  • The mobile version of the app on iPhone, iPad and Android offers a simplified version of the online Zoom platform, and the main tabs are found at the bottom: Meet & Chat, Meetings, Contacts, and Settings. (The setup is slightly different due to limited space.) Go to your app store to download Zoom.us.