Virtual admissions events overcome Zoombombers

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College admissions has become a virtual experience for hundreds of potential Shockers this spring. Many of those experiences rely on the Zoom app.

“We have a virtual campus visit experience where students can log on through Zoom and watch a presentation about the university and we have some of our student tour guides who are providing, I wouldn’t say like a full-blown campus tour, but just showing off segments of campus with a virtual campus tour,” said Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president and director of admissions.

Gandu said the office is continuing daily virtual campus visits Monday through Friday at least until the end of May. 

He said virtual participation has been high so far. But not everyone logs in with pure intentions.

“Unfortunately we’ve had a couple of Zoombombers come through,” Gandu said. “We’ve learned some things the hard way.” 

Zoom-bombing” is when someone hijacks an online video-conferencing session. 

The admissions office wants to make activities accessible so they don’t require people to pre-register. That means publicizing the link, Gandu said, which opens the door for uninvited Zoombombers.

Gandu said two admissions staffers were delivering a presentation in Spanish earlier this semester when someone got into the chat room and started writing inappropriate comments into the chat box. 

“The good news was that, you know, we could identify those people quickly and we booted them out of the room,” he said. “We record many of these events and put them up on the web and so there were certain things we could eliminate, like we didn’t have to put the chat out there,” he said.

But Gandu said admissions has learned how to effectively combat zoombombing. 

“We’ve got that on lockdown, I think. It’s pretty well down to a science at this point,” he said.Gandu said virtual admissions events will continue, even after campus begins its phased re-opening. But in-person events could start up again over the summer.