Online Meeting Instructions and FAQ

Root Cellar uses the Zoom video conferencing service to provide live online meetings and webinars. To attend, you must first have installed the Zoom viewer app on your computer, smart-tablet or smart-phone. Then click on the provided join-meeting URL link. For some events, registration is required. After you fill out and save the registration form you will receive the join-meeting URL link. Connecting by phone is also possible. Phone numbers will be provide with the join-meeting link.
 
Download the Zoom attendee guide (courtesy of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society)
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
1. What is an online meeting or webinar?
 
Both are a type of live presentation that you watch and listen to using your Internet-conneted computer, smart phone or smart tablet. Audience size can range from a small group to thousands of people from around the world. You may be granted some degree of interaction with the speaker such as asking a question, which will be heard by the entire audience. Who gets to ask quetions and when is controlled by the person serving as the webinar host. Audience mics are typically turned off during the presentation. Then during a question and answer session afterwards, audience members can take turns asking questions. Exactly how you obtain permission to ask a question will be explained as part of the meeting's connection instructions. The difference between a meeting and a webinar is that meetings include additional communication options to faciliate interaction between attendees.
 
2. Which video conference service does Root Cellar use?
 
Root Cellar uses the Zoom <https://zoom.us/> video conference service. But some online meeting and webinar speakers that Root Cellar may engage could use a different service.
 
3. What sort of equipment and software do I need to connect to an online meeting or live webinar?
 
Minimum hardware is a computer or smart device equipped with a speaker. Asking questions requires a microphone (or not if the webinar allows entering questiions into a chat box). Displaying your image instead of a generic icon to the speaker and audience requires a camera. Said devices may be built-in or if not, you can attach external ones. Wearing headphones with a mic provides better audio than relying on the tiny mic and speaker in your computer. Instructions from Zoom. 
 
For software, you generally must install the client app for the service being used. For Zoom, you will need to install the Zoom client app. When you connect to your first Zoom-based meeting or webinar, the system will ask permission to install the Zoom client app. You can save time by installing that app prior to connecting.
 
4. How do I test my equipment setup?
 
Zoom provides an automated one-person meeting that you can join to check whether your setup is working. Click here to go to their join screen.
 
5. How do I connect to an online meeting or live webinar?
 
In general, you will be provided with a URL (clickable link) what will connect you to the online meeting. You may have to answer a few subsequent questions such as your computer asking permission to give Zoom access to your camera and mic. For members-only events, connection instructions will be emailed to current members. For public events, that will be found on the website's calendar (Upcoming Events menu option). 
 
Said instructions will include an agenda and a description of how the presentation will be conducted. The later will specify when you will be allowed to ask questions and how you can get permission to do so. For small audience sessions you will press the raise-you-hand button to get the host's attention. For sessions with a large audience, you will likely have to register ahead of time and be put on a list. The time allotted for a question and answer session is always limited. So there is no guarantee that you will be able to ask your questions. And you may be limited to one question or a fixed amount of time.
 
Once you connect, you may be placed in the waiting room until the meeting is started. An appropriate status message will be displayed on your screen.
 
6. Is training available?
 
Zoom has extensive online help and training content which includes videos, blogs and written tutorials. Go to the Zoom home page and select one of the options under their "Resources" menu.
 
7. Problems?
  When connected to a Zoom-based meeting and you encounter problems, please consult Zoom's FAQ page or their troubleshooing page. Unfortunately, Root Cellar lacks the resources to troubleshoot and resolve any problems on your end.
 
If you have any general questions, please send email to Root Cellar <info@rootcellar.org>.