All definitions in this glossary are specific to the Zoom communication platform at Whitman College. Many of the terms found in this glossary have general definitions outside of this Zoom context.  Be aware of these more general definitions when communicating about Zoom to others.


Alternative host:  A licensed account that is granted the ability to launch and run a Zoom event on behalf of (i.e. as an 'alternate to') the account that is hosting the event. Only a host or an alternative host can launch an event. The role of Co-host is only assigned after an event launch and therefore cannot ever have launched an event.

Zoom events can have an unlimited number of alternative hosts, but each alternative host must belong to the same larger institutional (i.e. Whitman) Zoom account as the primary host.  Unaffiliated, basic or accounts that are affiliated with other institutions cannot be alternative hosts to Whitman Zoom events.  An alternative host can run a Zoom event without the original host ever being present or signed in. If an event is scheduled with several designated alternative hosts, the first of these alternative hosts that launches the event automatically becomes the host during the event. All the other (subsequent) alternative hosts are assigned the role of co-host. However, as soon as the primary host signs into an event, the host role is automatically and seamlessly transferred to the primary host during the event and the alternative host then becomes a panelist. Alternative hosts receive an email with instructions on how to launch the event they have been designated as alternative to. Accounts that have scheduling privileges for other individual accounts are automatically granted alternative host status for

Attendee report: A report that can be run that displays details about each attendee in a webinar.


Basic account: also known as a free account.  A Zoom account that is limited to hosting 40 minute meetings, and is unable to host webinars.  Most basic accounts are not affiliated with the Whitman Zoom account.

Breakout rooms: A feature in Zoom meetings (not available for webinars) that allows attendees to be split up into different groups and have sub meetings.

Breakout groups can then "breakout" into separate "rooms" and have sessions of their own.  The host can join any of the sessions and switch between any of the sessions at any time.  The sessions can be vacated, and attendees can come back to the main meeting. The main meeting is akin to a plenary session and the breakout rooms are the different sub-sessions. 


Chat: an optional feature available for both meetings and webinars that allows for hosts, participants and panelists to communicate with each other via text/chat window.  The chat can be restricted 


Co-host(s): The co-host feature allows the host to share hosting privileges with another user, allowing the co-host to manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing participants or starting/stopping the recording. The host is the only user who can assign a co-host.



Desktop client: Also called the Zoom desktop client or Zoom application. A downloadable application for Windows or Mac computers that maximizes the use of Zoom with in-app features and settings. The desktop client can be used to schedule, launch, adjust some meeting parameters and 


Event: A Zoom meeting or Zoom webinar held on the Zoom platform.


Free account: see basic account



Host: The Zoom account that is authorized to start a Zoom meeting or webinar, this usually the same account that scheduled the Zoom event to begin with. Each Zoom event can only have one primary host at any given time. However, several alternative hosts and/or co-hosts may be designated (see alternative host and co-host). Whenever the account that originally scheduled the event signs in, that account is automatically designated the host and seamlessly takes over the host role from any alternative or co-host.





Licensed account: Formerly called a pro account -  a Zoom account that can host both meetings and webinars of unlimited duration.  licensed accounts have the ability to designate alternative hosts.

Live streaming: Whitman Zoom events can be simultaneously streamed live via third party streaming services like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and others. Although streaming is possible, the audience watching a stream cannot participate or interact in the same way as Zoom attendees - no polling, Q&A, or chat. 


Meeting:  A two-tiered virtual gathering held on the Zoom platform wherein one account is the host and all participants have two-way audio/video communication and the ability to screen shareBreakout roomspolling and chat are modalities available in Zoom meetings.  Although a meeting should have a minimum of two participants (one host and one participant), it can accommodate up to 300 participants.




Panelist: Panelists are full participants in a webinar. They can view and send video, screen share, annotate, etc. Webinar host must assign panelist permissions. The host can also disable some features for panelists, including starting video, screen sharing, and recording. Examples of Panelist are Guest Speakers and/or Interpreters. Panelist do not have to have an email account associated with the host licensed account, meaning it does not have to be a email. 

Participant panel:


The Zoom platform is an internet, cloud-based video conferencing service that allows for audio/video, chat and conferencing tools.  Although most of the service is cloud based, a client download is 


also known as attendees, invitees, guests, audience members.  These are the people that join Zoom events via invitation, but are not necessarily presenting or actively engaging with others during a zoom event.  Participants may choose to participate or be asked to present, depending on the type of event that is being held.


a feature available for both meetings and webinars that allows the host to create single-choice or multiple-choice questions for attendees.  Polls can be conducted anonymously, if so desired. Polls must be created by the host, but can be launched by hosts and co-hosts.  A maximum of 25 polls can be added per webinar, with a maximum of 10 questions each.

Pro account:

a deprecated term that refers to a licensed account - see licensed account



A feature available during webinars (not available during standard meetings) that allows for attendees (and only attendees) to ask questions via a text submission box. Submitted questions are visible to hosts, co-hosts and panelists before they are selected to be made visible, dismissed or marked as answered to the webinar at large. The event host can also allow attendees to upvote each other's questions. Submitted questions are saved in a log file for each webinar, see Q&A report.

Q&A report

Displays questions and answers from a webinar (not available for meetings)


Registration report:

Displays a list of registrants and their registration details for a webinar or meeting


Scheduling Privilege:

A feature in Zoom that assigns or delegates another Zoom user(s) the ability to schedule meetings on behalf of an individual's Zoom account.  This is most useful and common for administrative, executive and personal assistants to schedule meetings for their principal(s).

The Zoom account and the assigned scheduler for that account must be licensed accounts under the same institutional (Whitman) account. Users with Scheduling Privilege are able to manage and act as an alternative host for all meetings.






A three-tiered virtual event held on the Zoom platform wherein one person is the host, a set of panelists are presenters, and all other participants (attendees) are mostly passively witnessing the event. 

During a webinar Polling, Q&A and chat can be used to solicit attendee responses. Webinar attendees cannot share their video or be seen in Gallery view.  The host can, however, prompt individual attendees to unmute their microphone and thereby grant them access to be heard during the event (usually to ask a question).  Breakout rooms are NOT available in Zoom webinars. Webinars have a maximum attendance of 1000 participants.

Web client:

A basic internet browser-based interface that allows a user to join a Zoom event, without downloading any plugins or software.

Although participating in a Zoom event is possible through the web client, it has limited functionality as compared to the desktop client. Participants joining through the web client do not need to be signed into a Zoom account, unless authentication is required by the host.


Web portal

The Zoom web portal is where Zoom account users can access all aspects of their individual Zoom account, including account profile information, meeting settings, scheduling of meetings and webinars.