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Gathering Socially over Zoom
When we can't be together in person, Zoom can help facilitate remote social activities. Below are some ideas and pointers if you would like to host such a gathering.
The OIT supports Zoom, but not most of the socially-focused software and activities linked below, nor does the university endorse them. To see what software is approved for installation on university-owned computers, check the campus software spreadsheet. If you have questions about whether an activity is appropriate for ND's network or Zoom instance, check the Responsible Use Policy. An additional article on how the Responsible Use Policy pertains to personal or social use is here.
Many of the suggestions below have not been fully vetted. Please use them at your own risk, and especially be alert to clicking on ads, which may be lead to less reputable places. In the interest of well-being and community, and with full faith in the judgement of our Notre Dame family, we are presenting these suggestions despite the small risks.
Zoom Gathering Suggestions
- General meet & chat
- Create several Breakout rooms, and select the option to allow participants to choose their own breakout room so that smaller groups and conversations can occur organically. All participants should verify they've installed the Zoom update on their computer to ensure they have the latest Breakout room features.
- Board Games/Video Games
- Phone apps to play together remotely
- Among Us
- An online game of cooperation and deception, popular with children and young adults
- Classic card games
- Board Game Arena
- Board Games
- Everyone must have a free account
- To play premium games, one player must have a paid subscription
- Steam Board Games
- Everyone must purchase a license and have an account for each game played, with rare exceptions such as Jackbox Games
- Sales can sometimes be found at Steam directly, or at Humble Bundle
- Board Game Geek has an exhaustive list of remote play options
- A popular building game with children (and some adults) that can have some educational aspects
- Supports many simultaneous players
- Stardew Valley
- A relaxing and popular farming game that often appeals to non-gamers. It lightly touches on a few adult topics such as marriage and alcohol, but is largely suitable for children.
- Supports up to 4 simultaneous players
- Crafting (Note: All guests must have supplies before the event begins.)
- Cookie decorating
- Gingerbread Houses
- Learn something new together (Youtube or have a teacher present)
- Test Youtube links before advertising the event. Many do not play over Zoom for copyright reasons
- No-Sew Blankets/Scarves
- Make South Bend kits & Pigeon and Hen kits
- Make a Zoom recording together for a family member who can’t join, such as a nursing home resident
- Find ideas on Pinterest
- Calligraphy (The author recommends a calligraphy marker for price & ease of use)
- Competition - Note that the ER should be avoided, and plan your competition accordingly
- Run a virtual 5k "together."
- Rock Paper Scissors Tournament
- Rank whose creation is best using Google Forms or a Zoom Poll
- Tallest house of cards/Jenga tower
- The most ______s that start with the letter _. (Scattergories)
- Spelling Bees
- String the fastest garland
- Some people are hosting or hiring professionals to host private Zoom exercise classes (recsports has some as well!)
- Movies - Many sources deliberately do not stream over Zoom for copyright reasons. Test everything before a big event. Most services listed below are unsupported or in beta even by the companies that offer them.
- Inviting your Guests
- Sharing Screens
- Update Zoom, and have guests update Zoom if you’re using advanced features
- Be mindful of what your guests have
- Are some on mobile phone only?
- Does everyone have web cameras?
- Is everyone’s internet fast enough for the planned activity?
- Assign cohosts to help monitor a waiting room or answer Zoom questions
- Name willing helpers to help with gaming/activity questions
- Test everything before a big event!
A training recording previously offered on this topic can be found here.