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To begin with, faculty and staff will need a computer. A Chromebook is not advised, but there are three laptops that the university offers via the PC catalog. Of the three laptop options, the Windows Surface Pro could be the best teaching machine for most faculty. However, it does have a limited number of ports. If you have several peripherals you will need a dock or a hub. The dock will be the most convenient option for connecting to a number of devices at home or in the office.

The MacBook has more ports than the Surface Pro, but a dock can add convenience. The CalDigit TS3 is probably the best option for current MacBooks. However, if MacBook users need to sketch and annotate (like their colleagues on a Surface Pro) they will need an iPad. The iPad screen can be shared to the MacBook screen for Zoom and Panopto sessions.

Alternative Stylus Options

And if using a stylus to teach, OpenBoard is an ideal piece of teaching software. OpenBoard works best with two screens. The instructor can annotate content on one screen, and the abstracted content can be presented on the second screen. By doing so, the audience does not see the tools and dashboard that the instructor uses to teach.

If faculty need an affordable stylus, the XP-Pen stylus pad works with Windows and Mac. After installing the drivers, the stylus operates as a virtual mouse. Accuracy is not as good as an iPad or the Surface Pro but can work in a pinch. MacBook users may find the Pogo stylus of value, which can be used to turn the touchpad into a writing environment (it also works with older iPads that do not support the Apple Pencil).

Backups and Internet Coverage

Data loss would be devastating to most faculty and staff, se we recommend making physical backups to a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB and Cloud backups to OneDrive. Cloud backups, and Zoom sessions will work better when using a wired ethernet connection, rather than WiFi. Typically, your home modem will have one or more ethernet ports that you can use to connect to your home computer. Or you can invest in a Mesh WiFi setup at home. Mesh WiFi can help you achieve reliable and secure internet access in remote parts of your household (that you now use to teach).


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Faculty and staff are increasingly more reliant on Zoom, and there are hardware improvements that can increase effectiveness. If you are intending to teach using Zoom, then having multiple monitors is highly recommended. This allows you to present from one monitor, whilst administering the Zoom session from the other monitor. If you use a presentation tool like PowerPoint or Keynote, you can present from one screen and view your upcoming slides and presenter’s notes from the second screen. The recommended setup is two screens, a smartphone, and paper and pen. One screen is for content. Content that you share with your students, or the view of your students in the virtual class. The other screen is for administration. You can check your email on your smartphone (some students may email you during class because they are running late or have connection difficulties). Running email on the same device that you are using for Zoom is not ideal - if you share your screen your students may see things you do not want them to see.


If filming yourself via a webcam, the camera should be at your eye-level. Using an external webcam or raising the height of your laptop will achieve the required results. The Logitech range of USB webcams are reliable, but may be in short supply. The Logitech Brio is a 4K camera but may be overkill for most faculty and staff. A more reasonable alternative may be the Razer Kiyo which incorporates a built-in ring light.

For those that need to stream wirelessly to Zoom, or a service like FaceBook Live, the Mevo Start is an extremely capable device. It can be used as a wired webcam as well, and record to a SD card for backup.

If you don’t have room on the desk or want something closer to a traditional tripod allowing you to move the camera away from the desk, then this selfie stick might work for you. It has a tripod stand, that creates stability.


Increasingly, faculty are recording content out in the field to use in their classes. Smartphone footage can look jerky, but a gimbal like the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 can create something that looks more professional. If you don’t want to record on your smartphone, the DJI Osmo Pocket produces similar output.


To look good on camera you will want soft lighting in front of you. Professionals invest in desktop lighting to improve their presence on camera. In a studio, you would use the traditional three-part lighting system with back light, key light, fill light and the presenter in the middle. At home, endeavor to place a soft light behind the camera If you want to go this route, there are options like the Elgato Key Light Air to consider. For users on the move the Lume Cube Panel or Lume Cube 2.0 can comfortably fit into a camera bag.

Elgato has a range of lights, designed for the prosumer market. These lights connect to WiFi and settings can be synchronized across all lights.

Otherwise, an LED desk or reading lamp can double as lighting for your videos.

Document Cameras

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Document cameras can be found in some DePaul classrooms, and can be used equally well at home. The IPEVO VZ-R is what is found in some Zoom+ classrooms, and there us a slightly more affordable option with the IPEVO V4K.

IPEVO also has an interesting product with the Mirror- Cam, which cleverly turns a laptop webcam into a document camera.

A document camera is essentially a webcam on a stand, so if you have access to the parts you can easily create your own document camera at home.
Or you can achieve the same thing with an iPhone and a cardboard box.


The quality of your audio is something that is sometimes ignored, but greatly impacts how video is perceived. A decent microphone properly positioned with pop-filter is key. The Blue Yeti is the industry standard for home podcasting. There are two basic configurations: the regular Yeti and the Yeticaster (which adds a shock mount and boom arm). Adding a windscreen and a pop filter will reduce noise from your recordings

The best mobile microphone I have found is the RODE Wireless GO. This vastly improves the quality of recordings in the field. You can cleverly convert the RODE Wireless GO into handheld microphone with a mic adapter.

Not cheap, but a decent set of headphones will reduce distractions and feedback during Zoom calls. Active noise cancelling makes these particular Sony headphones particularly useful.

Home Environment

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You may look great on camera, but your environment may not look as good. You also want to be careful that items in the background do not betray your privacy. You, or someone who lives with you, may have a medical condition, and you may inadvertently show prescription drugs in the background to your Zoom participants. The same advice goes or books, posters, alcohol, and other recreational items that you are happy to display at home, but perhaps less happy to display in more formal environments - particularly since your students can easily record Zoom sessions for posterity. Choose a location that is clean and clear to Zoom from. Or you can apply a virtual background. Here, your choice of background may impact student behavior in class, so think about what works for the class you are teaching. A fun image may provoke conversation in discussion, but a more serious image may be required for the serious seminar. The age and power of your computer will dictate if virtual backgrounds are an option for you, and how well they work. Investing in a portable green screen background can improve the quality of the background replacement.

If you are using the webcam on your laptop, a device like the Jarvis laptop arm can ergonomically raise the camera to eye height.

Or you can use a mobile version like the Roost laptop stand.

Surface Pro users may find this gooseneck tablet mount the best option. Conducting a Zoom session can be stressful. The Stream Deck allows you to control functional via programable push-button shortcuts.


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A few weeks ago, I discovered that I was in need of a home teleprompter. Getting it to work involved a little work, but it was worth it.

I went with the Glide Gear TMP 50 Adjustable Smartphone Mini Teleprompter. The TMP 50 is a small and lightweight teleprompter designed for smartphone use (it includes a clamp that can be used to hold an iPhone for recording). However, it works really well with a webcam (and a tripod extender rod, to raise the webcam up a few inches). The mounting hardware is designed for viewing tablets up to 6.7 inches in width but removing one of the clamps allows me to safely use my 9.7-inch iPad Pro as the display.

My webcam of choice typically is the Mevo Start, which connects via a USB-C cable to my MacBook Air. The Mevo Start can also wirelessly stream to Zoom, Screenflow, and Microsoft Teams, but this introduces a slight lag. Logitech webcams work equally well, so I placed a C930e behind the mirror. The LED activity light on the C930e could be seen through the mirror, so I permanently turned that off in preferences. I could also use an HDMI to USB capture card to use a regular camera (like my Sony RX100 III) and connect this like a regular webcam.

Which brings me to software. My ideal use case was to be able to record commentary for Keynote and PowerPoint presentations, reading off the presenter notes. Apple’s Sidecar helpfully sends presenter notes to the iPad screen, but I needed some way to reverse the iPad display to be able to read the mirrored image on the teleprompter. The free Mirror Flip Mac Utility looked like it might do the job, and during testing switched the image for most applications. However, as soon as I stated presenting in Keynote the switched image reverted to normal.

Luckily, I had a Luna Display at home. The Luna Display is small hardware device that connect to either the Mini DisplayPort or USB-C port on a Mac laptop and turns an iPad into a wireless second display. The Luna Display has a teleprompter mode that reverses the image on the iPad. This works perfectly for my use case – I can present and record from Keynote, reading the presenter notes as I look directly to camera. I could also use the teleprompter for more engaging videoconference sessions, where eye contact would be improved.
Here is what you need to replicate my setup: