Tech Tip: How to blur or change backgrounds in a video conference

You can blur or change your background while participating in a Teams or Zoom video conference meeting.

Change your background during a meeting in Teams

If you want to change what appears behind you in a video conference, you can either blur your background or replace it entirely using the background effects feature. This feature is only available in scheduled meetings.

Note: Blurring or replacing your background might not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other meeting participants.

  1. To alter your background after you’ve already joined a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More actions > Show background effects.
  2. Select Blur to blur your background or choose from the available images to replace it.
    1. You’ll be able to preview your chosen background to see how it looks before you apply it.

Note: If you don’t see Show background effects as an option in the menu, the feature might not be available on your device or web browser in use.

Change your Zoom background on the desktop app

  1. In the Zoom app, click your profile in the top right corner, and click Settings.
  2. On the menu to the left, click Virtual Background.
  3. You’ll see a few default background options provided by Zoom, including an outer space scene or blades of grass. You can choose one of those by clicking on it, and it will automatically change your screen as well. There’s also an option for if you have a green screen and want to use that.
  4. If you want to upload a photo to use as your background, on the same Virtual Background Page, click the + icon next to where it says Choose Virtual Background. A box will pop up allowing you to upload a photo from your computer. Click on the one you want, and it will appear alongside the other pictures as an option for you to choose from.
  5. To get rid of any photos you upload, tap the X in their top left corner.

Read more: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime: 11 great tips to make video calls actually fun

Change your Zoom background on the mobile app

  1. When you log in to your account and join a meeting, tap the three dots at the bottom right of the screen to open the More menu.
  2. Tap Virtual Background.
  3. Select a background from the default options or upload your own.
Posted in ITS |

Video conferencing etiquette

While working remotely from our homes, our clothing attire and grooming practices are more than likely a bit more relaxed than if we were on an LLCC campus. Yet, we are still here, ready to face the day and tackle new challenges and opportunities presented to us. In doing so, we may find ourselves meeting with other LLCC employees or students via a video conference with Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Below you will find some tips to help you make the most of each video conference you participate in.


  1. Test your hardware and internet connection beforehand. This includes the microphone or webcam and software application.
  2. Blur or change your background.
    1. You can hide the appearance of your chosen space via background features offered in some video conferencing clients.
    2. For example, Zoom allows its users to add a fun virtual background to their video instead of just showing the contents of a messy room.
    3. Microsoft Teams offers a “background blur” feature under … More actions that allows you to blur your actual background and places the focus of your video on you. Note: this is only available in a scheduled Meeting you are attending.
  3. Know when to video conference and when to communicate via email or phone.
    1. Longer conversations and remote training sessions are the best uses for video calls or when an in-person meeting must take place while working remotely.
  4. Find a quiet, private space, or use a white noise machine.
  5. Mute your microphone when not speaking and attending a group meeting.
  6. Be courteous to other participants.
  7. Speak clearly.
  8. Keep body movements minimal.
  9. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera.
  10. Dress appropriately. Wear your LLCC spirit wear if in doubt!
  11. Be yourself and have fun!


  1. Talk over each other. Use the chat function to ask questions, but take care not to carry on side conversations.
  2. Shout.
  3. Interrupt other speakers.
  4. Wear noisy jewelry.
  5. Sit in an open and noisy location. Distracting noises can include, but are not limited to other conversations, dogs barking, television playing and/or exterior noises, such as lawn mowing, traffic, etc.
  6. Eat, unwrap candy, food or other wrappers, slurp liquids, or noisily chew gum (no blowing bubbles).
  7. Make distracting sounds, noises and/or fidgeting.
  8. Lose focus on the meeting and do other things.
  9. Look sloppy. Save the robe or pajamas for offline work.
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Stop, read, act: How to spot a phishing or other malicious email and report it

Nearly every aspect of our professional and personal lives involve technology and electronic communications. Staying safe in an ever changing digital world is a daily battle that we all play a vital role in. You are part of the front line of defense at LLCC, and we all make a difference keeping our network, programs, data and resources safe from attack, damage and/or unauthorized access. Learn more about phishing on the Cybersecurity portal page.

The following three steps — Stop, Read, Act — can make a tremendous impact on staying safe.

Stop — if you receive a suspicious looking email. They may be asking you for personal or account information, to reset your password and/or access documents.

Read — look at the email carefully. Are you expecting an email or documents to be sent to you, do you recognize the sender of the email, does the email address match the sender’s name or look off, are there links for you to click on in the meeting? Hover your mouse over the email sender’s name, if not shown and any links within the message to verify the content. Never click on any of the active links unless you are 100% sure they are legitimate.

Act — Report the message via your Outlook desktop app or Outlook 365 with the built-in feature. You do not need to forward this onto the Helpdesk or call. The most efficient and fastest way to notify IT is the Report the Message as Phishing feature.

Outlook Desktop

With the message selected, click on Report Message in the Ribbon. Select Phishing. The malicious email will be reported directly to Microsoft. Reporting malicious and unsolicited emails makes LLCC’s email filtering system more effective.
"Report Message" is on the right-hand side of the Home ribbon in Outlook. Select it, and then "Phishing" in its sub menu (second option, below "Junk" and above "Not Junk").

Outlook 365

Select the email from the list, and click on the Not Junk drop-down arrow. Select Phishing. The malicious email will be reported directly to Microsoft. Reporting malicious and unsolicited emails makes LLCC’s email filtering system more effective.
In Outlook 365, across the top of the screen, under the search box, there are the options: Emply folder, Not junk, Move to. Select Not junk and then Phishing to report the email directly to Microsoft.
When in doubt, report! Should you need any assistance with a suspicious email, please contact the IT Help Desk at or 786-2555.

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Tech Tip: Creating signatures in Outlook

In business, it is standard practice to send a letter with a formal signature, but what about when in place of a mailed letter an email is sent? Email communication is considered a formal communication from an organization, not just the individual sending the message. As such, an email signature is an important component. This tells the email recipient who you are, your position with the organization and how to contact you. It is recommended that your signature be set automatically for all new messages.

Remote Access Knowledge BaseTo view the documentation, Create an Email Signature in Outlook.pdf or Create an Email Signature in Outlook 365.pdf, please visit the Remote Access Knowledge Base IT portal page. Both documents are accessible by selecting the Outlook folder.

Signature Suggestions:

Name (full name and any degrees or licenses)
Lincoln Land Community College
5250 Shepherd Rd. (or your campus address)
Springfield, IL 62794
Phone number (including area code) (or your department website link)
Social media icons (with active links)

In addition, PRM often provides promotional graphics via LincIn, which you are encouraged to add!
Summer 2020 classes. No online fees. Register now!

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Tech tip: Send mail from a shared mailbox in Outlook or Outlook 365

Do you have access to a department inbox within your Outlook? At times you may need to send an or reply to an email from the department mailbox instead of your own account. In Outlook, you can turn on the From feature within a new message.


  1. Choose New Email.
  2. If you don’t see the From field at the top of your message, in the ribbon, choose Options > From.
  3. Click the From drop-down in the message, and change to the shared email address.
    1. If the shared email address is not listed, select the Other Email Address … and type in the name of the email address (i.e.,
    2. Select the mailbox and click on OK.
  4. Finish typing your message, and then choose Send.

Outlook 365

  1. Choose New Message
  2. Select … at the top of the message draft and choose Show From.
  3. Select the From field, and choose the shared email address.
  4. If the shared email address is not listed, select Other Email Address … and type in the name of the email address (i.e., Select the email address to use.
  5. Finish typing your message, and then choose Send.
Posted in ITS |

Tech Tip: What is Microsoft Stream?

Microsoft Stream is part of your LLCC Office 365 subscription and is a place where you can securely upload, view and share previously recorded videos. These videos can be recordings of class lectures, meetings, presentations, training sessions or other videos that aid in your team’s collaboration. (Please contact LLCC Public Relations & Marketing for guidelines and documentation regarding the recording of meetings and class lectures prior to recording and/or uploading any videos).

As Microsoft Stream is a secure video service, you can manage who views your video content and if it will remain private, shared with everyone in LLCC or limited to channels, groups or specific people. As Stream is an Office 365 app, it works well with Teams, SharePoint, OneNote and Yammer.

If you want to explore Stream for yourself, open your LLCC Outlook on the web and click on the waffle icon in the upper left corner. Select All Apps and choose Stream (if this does not appear in the immediate listing). isit for detailed instruction on the many features of Stream.

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Phishing alert

In the past few days, LLCC has received an aggressive wave of malicious cyberattacks, primarily in the form of phishing scams. Colleges across the nation have been heavily targeted by cybercriminals this month. Just last week, IVCC and Parkland fell victim of ransomware here in Illinois. Their entire computer networks are currently locked down and inaccessible. In both cases, the attacker infiltrated the network though a phishing email. A common theme for phishing scams during the current pandemic is COVID19. Some phishing emails include the subject “Covid19 status update,” but many variations are being circulated.

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of each and all of us at LLCC, not just IT. A simple click on the wrong link can compromise your personal information and the college’s entire computer network.

If you suspect phishing:

  1. STOP – Do NOT open the email. Do NOT click on any hyperlinks, and do NOT open any attachments.
  2. READ – Verify the actual email address (not just the name) of the sender.
  3. ACT – Report the message using the “Report Message” button in Outlook to report the malicious email directly to Microsoft (see below). Then delete the email.

"Report Message" is on the right-hand side of the Home ribbon in Outlook. Select it, and then "Phishing" in its sub menu (second option, below "Junk" and above "Not Junk").

Reporting malicious and unsolicited emails makes LLCC’s email filtering system more effective.

Phishing is a common identity theft method used by fraudulent parties. NEVER send your personal information including passwords, user IDs, credit card numbers or a social security number via email. Passwords should NEVER be shared with ANYONE in any form.

To learn more about “phishing,” visit

Cybersecurity learning videos will be available soon.

Please contact the IT Help Desk if you have any questions or concerns at or 217-786-2555.

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Tech Tip: Take notes in a Teams meeting

LRemote Access Knowledge Baseearn how to take notes within a Teams meeting and access them for future reference.

For supporting documentation (Take Notes in a Teams Meeting), please visit the Remote Access Document Library > Teams folder.

Microsoft TeamsWhile participating in a Teams meeting via audio or video, you can take notes. These notes are saved within the meeting history, as well as any chat conversations and shared documents.

  1. Select the … More Actions and choose Show meeting notes.
  2. Click on the Xwithin Meeting notes to return to the active meeting.
  3. Once you have ended the meeting, all content will display within the chat, and in the menu bar at the top.
  4. Click on the document to open it within Chat window.
    1. Click on Close to return to the Chat synopsis.
  5. Click on Show notes in fullscreen to open the Meeting Notes.
    1. You can edit the existing notes by formatting the text, adding additional text to the existing content, or add a new notes section by clicking on the + below the text.
    2. To leave notes, click on Chat in the menu bar.
Posted in ITS |

Tech Tip: Screen sharing with Teams

Learn how to share your desktop, windows or documents with others via a Teams chat or meeting.

Remote Access Knowledge BaseFor supporting documentation (Screen Sharing in Teams), please visit the Remote Access Document Library > Teams folder.

Each participant of a Teams chat or meeting can participate in screen sharing. This can be a window or document. It is not required; however, it is recommended that you open any documents that you wish to share prior to selecting this function.

Screen Sharing via Chat

  • Select the share icon to the right of the microphone.
  • When sharing via the chat message, choose your desktop or a window.
  • Grant permissions to control the shared screen and stop presenting via the toolbar at the top of the desktop.
  • If this is a chat, you will be given the option to turn this into an audio call.

Screen Sharing via Audio or Video Call

  • Select the share icon to the right of the microphone. You will be presented with the option of selecting your desktop/window, open PowerPoint and other documents, or browse. When choosing browse, you will have the ability to search additional options for sharing.
  • Select the appropriate window or document and share.
  • To stop sharing, select the screen sharing icon in the toolbar that now has an X to stop sharing.
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Tech Tip: Adjusting the call quality in Skype for Business

Learn how to adjust your Skype for Business settings on your local device to improve call quality.

Remote Access Knowledge BaseFor supporting documentation (Adjusting the Call Quality in Skype for Business), please visit the Remote Access Document Library > Skype for Business folder.

While using Skype for Business on your personal smart device (iOS or Android), you may experience poor quality of the calls. The quality can be affected by the signal strength of your Cellular or Wi-Fi connection and network traffic, in addition to the device itself. So, what can you do to improve the quality?

  1. Make sure the Skype for Business app is updated to the latest version.
  2. Wear headphones with a built-in microphone.
  3. Don’t overload your internet with other tasks.
    1. Turn off devices that are not in use, but actively connected to Wi-Fi.
    2. Limit online streaming from video games and/or streaming entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  4. If necessary, use your device data plan, if possible, instead of Wi-Fi.
    1. Change the settings within Skype for Business from VoIP (Voice over IP) to Wi-Fi or Cellular.
    2. Skype for Business defaults to the VoIP setting. This uses your Internet bandwidth to make and receive phone calls. If you are struggling with quality of those calls, you may need to turn VoIP off.
  5. Talk to your Internet provider about increasing your bandwidth, if possible and at what cost.

iOS and Android

  • Select your initials or Picture in Skype.
  • Select Settings > Voice Settings
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