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Classroom Key Terms
Laura Ruiz avatar
Written by Laura Ruiz
Updated over a week ago

This article is meant to be a guide for Forum terms and language.

Participant Bar

The participant bar is the bar of videos located along the top of the screen. Depending on the size of the class, everyone may be displayed in the participant bar, or students will be shuffled into the bar if the class is a larger format.

The number of participants displayed can be altered based on the class level, section level, or organization level. The recommended display is anywhere from 12-20 participants.

Classroom Stage or Main Stage

Just below the participant bar, the main stage is used to display participants, resources and other artifacts from class. The stage consists of 1-8 panes. During class, everyone sees the same stage and participant bar.


An instructor is a starred participant that has full access to the classroom controls. They can talk and be seen during class. They will have a star before their name and can be found in the first box, or box farthest on the left in the participant bar.


A participant is what we call a student, learner, or user enrolled in the course, section, or class. As a participant, you can speak, react, and engage in all classroom activities.

There are two types of participants, general participants (i.e. learners) and starred participants.

Starred participants have special privileges and controls in the classroom, identified by a star next to their name. They are grouped on the left side of the participant bar and include instructors, guest instructors, assistant instructors, and TAs.


Those with the role of ‘observer’ are not participants, as they can not directly participate in class. They can hear and see the classroom and all enrolled, but they are not able to interact with the class.

For more information on roles such as participant, instructor, observer, etc. please see this Overview of Roles and Abilities article.

Icons in the Top Right Corner

These icons serve the following purposes:

  1. Microphone - Mutes and unmutes instructor or participant without having to press CTRL (if allowed)

  2. Camera - Turns video on and off (if allowed)

  3. Gear - Shows settings for class

  4. Question Mark - Shows the Help menu

  5. X - Used for exiting class

Sidebar Menu

This menu at the right-hand side of the screen provides several buttons for the following purposes and roles who can see each icon:

  1. Timer - Control Panel, includes the class timeline (Starred participants only)

  2. Speech Bubble - Chat (All participants)

  3. List - Class Directory, shows Present and Absent participants, along with Staff (All participants)

  4. Folder - Class Resources, used to upload and feature resources in the classroom (All participants)

  5. Pie Chart - Polls, used to create and feature different types of polls (Starred participants only)

  6. Network - Breakout Groups, used to create, start, and overlook breakout groups (Starred participants only)

  7. Alarm Clock - Timer, mostly used during polls or other timed activities (Starred participants only)

  8. Monitor - Share Your Screen, prompts you to share your screen with the class (All participants)

  9. Check - Vote Yes, a check appears on the corner of your video feed (All participants)

  10. X - Vote No, an X appears on the corner of your video feed (All participants)

Bookmark Icon

Bookmarking is a feature for saving a moment in class that you would like to revisit. This feature is only available for recorded classes while they are currently in progress.

For information on how to use the bookmark icon in the sidebar, please review this Bookmarking article.

Minerva Resources

There are four different kinds of Minerva documents or resources that are available in Forum:

  1. Forum Workbook – This is a Structured Learning Exercise (SLED) that is created before class and shows the instructor and participants’ progress in the breakout group control room

  2. Forum Code Workbook – This is a coding SLED, it is also created before class and shows the instructor and participants’ progress in the breakout group control room

  3. Forum Doc – This is an open-ended collaborative resource that can be created before class or from within the classroom

  4. Forum Code Doc – This is an open-ended collaborative coding resource that can be created before class or from within the classroom

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