Zoom: Passcode, Waiting Room, or Both for Added Security

This service is for faculty, staff, and students.

Abstract: All new St. Thomas meetings created after August 1, 2020 have by default the security option of Passcode enabled when scheduling. Waiting Room continues to be an additional security option instead of -- or in addition to -- Passcode.  


This update issued Monday, September 21, 2020, 5:30 pm:
Previously, this article stated that if neither Passcode nor Waiting Room are enabled when you scheduled any meeting which occurs after September 27, 2020, the meeting would automatically have Waiting Room applied. However, on Sunday, September 20th, the Zoom company rescinded the upcoming mandate to require either Passcode or Waiting Room on all Zoom meetings. Zoom still recommends applying either Passcode, Waiting Room, or Only Authenticated Users Can Join as additional security for your meetings, but none of these options will be required, as they had previously planned.

What Passcode means for you as a St. Thomas Zoom host   

Passcode generally operates behind the scenes for meetings either scheduled directly through the Zoom web portal (stthomas.zoom.us) or through Zoom Pro (for faculty within Canvas). The embedded Passcode lengthens the usual Zoom meeting join link to prevent robo Zoom bots from guessing a meeting ID and distributing it to uninvited guests.  

Example: The extra characters shown in italics below are the embedded Passcode for this join link, added when the Passcode option is enabled.

When scheduling a Zoom meeting, we recommend leaving Passcode checked as the default. However, you can change this default when you schedule new meetings if you prefer. 

Typically, students/participants clicking a join link with an embedded passcode will be passed directly into the meeting. In a few instances, they may be prompted to type in an alternate six-character manual Passcode (which operates like a password).  For example, if typing the 10 or 11-digit meeting ID directly into the Zoom mobile app, the participant will be prompted to enter the meeting's six-character manual Passcode. The manual passcode is included at the end of all St. Thomas Zoom meeting invites and may also be found by the host in the meeting scheduling details at stthomas.zoom.us. It may also be found by anyone who is already in the meeting, under the Meeting Information icon in the upper left corner of your Zoom meeting window.

If you enable Waiting Room  

You can enable the Waiting Room in addition to -- or instead of -- using the Passcode. When using the Waiting Room, encourage students and St. Thomas participants to sign-in to their Zoom desktop app with their St. Thomas account prior to joining. Anyone already authenticated with their university account will bypass the Waiting Room and automatically be placed into the meeting when they click your meeting link. Anyone already in the meeting -- host, co-host or participant, may admit or reject any additional individuals attempting to join your meeting who are in the Waiting Room.

IMPORTANT: If Waiting Room is enabled for your meeting, it is important that you start/join your meeting while logged in to either (1) stthomas.zoom.us, (2) Canvas > Zoom Pro or (3) the Zoom app. If you are not logged in to any of these and join your meeting anonymously, then you -- the host -- may be placed into your own meeting's Waiting Room, and will be stuck there until you are either let in by another meeting participant who was logged in and bypassed the Waiting Room, or until you log in to one of the three options above, and join again.

When you need to invite non-UST users into your Zoom sessions 

If you have a guest or other non-UST participant who does not have a St. Thomas user/email account, selecting the Only Authenticated Users Can Join option during scheduling will prevent them from joining your meeting. Leave this option un-checked to allow guests outside of St. Thomas to join.   
If during scheduling you use the default of Passcode for your meeting, guests accessing the shared meeting link, will be passed directly into the meeting. 
If during scheduling you enable Waiting Room for the meeting, guests will be placed into Waiting Room until you or another participant already in the meeting see the prompt and allow the guest into the Waiting Room.   
Anyone who has logged into Zoom with their UST credentials will automatically be passed directly into the meeting without being placed into Waiting Room, unless you have overridden the default in your account Settings > Security at stthomas.zoom.us to require Everyone to be placed into Waiting Room. Changing this setting applies to ALL your meetings. You can’t select one setting for some meetings and another setting for other meetings, at this time. Some instructors are changing their Waiting Room default to Everyone to prevent students from passing through into instructor office hours meetings while the instructor is speaking with another student. 

Additional Resources 

For more information see  Zoom Security Features and Best Practices. Faculty find additional information on using Zoom in the Zoom and Flex Classroom Canvas resource.  

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Article ID: 115889
Wed 9/9/20 1:44 PM
Fri 10/14/22 10:06 AM

Related Services / Offerings (1)

St. Thomas offers Zoom and Microsoft Teams that allow you to host virtual audio/video meetings.