8 Tips for an Effective Online Class – Best Practices for Zoom
As we all find ourselves at home more as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, one thing is for sure: we’re all relying on technology more than ever before to continue to teach classes, hold meetings, and connect with our colleagues, friends, and families.
There are many different video conferencing platforms available to meet online, but many teachers of all grade levels turned to Zoom – the CEO even offered the platform for free to all K-12 schools! If you’re using Zoom to teach your students these days, we’re here to offer you a list of tips and best practices for Zoom:
1. Get Set Up and Learn the Program
Before you begin teaching your classes, get ready by creating a workspace and making your computer ready. It’s best if you can hardwire your computer to the Internet. Wi-Fi will work, but hardwiring will be faster and tends to be more reliable. You’ll also want to download the program and make sure your system’s microphone and speakers are working. Spend some time learning about how the platform works; even consider doing a practice run. You’ll feel much more comfortable teaching if you’re not worried about the logistics.
2. Log In Early
Just like you would in a regular teaching environment, be sure to log in early and give yourself a few minutes to set up. Make sure you have all the materials you need, the program is working, and you’re ready to go.
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each class and greet your students the same as you would do in person. Ensure everyone has working audio and can see what you’re presenting. One of the best practices for Zoom is to share your face and introduce yourself at the beginning of class. This will help create a friendly and open environment. It’s important to make sure everyone feels welcome and heard.
Once the class begins, one of the common best practices for Zoom to ask the students to mute their microphones. This cuts down on the extra noise and helps everyone to focus.
5. Screen Sharing
If you’re teaching a class that you would normally have a presentation or PowerPoint for, you can use the screen sharing feature in Zoom to do the same as you would in the classroom. Ask a student to read the slides occasionally so they stay engaged and you don’t feel like your doing all the talking. When you are teaching small groups or working one on one with a student, you can give the other participants the ability to share their screen. This way, you can see what the student sees and act as a guide through the lessons more easily. Learn more about screen sharing here.
Be sure to stop periodically and ask the class if they have any questions. Students can unmute their microphones to ask verbally or typing a question in the chat box. Be sure to check your chat box periodically to make sure there are no questions you’ve missed. Likewise you should ask the students open-ended questions so that you can assess if your students are retaining the information. Learn more about the chat feature in Zoom here.
7. Make it Interactive
Zoom offers several tools to make the classroom more interactive. Encourage students to use the digital, non-verbal tools in the Participants window. Shown in the picture, students will find the buttons like “raise hand”, “slower”, “faster”, etc. Another interactive tool on zoom is the live polls feature. Students can answer questions about different topics right in the Zoom meeting. Zoom also offers breakout video rooms where students can collaborate together in smaller groups. Best practices for Zoom include getting the students involved just as much as you would in an in-person classroom.
8. Be Patient
And finally, just be patient and give yourself and your students some grace. We’re all still learning how to use online teaching platforms such as Zoom, and these are uncertain times for us all.
All of the Digital Workshop Center classes are now being taught remotely as we do our part to keep our community safe and healthy. The Digital Workshop Center exists to give students an opportunity to learn valuable new skills for today’s changing workforce. Please click here to learn more about the Digital Workshop Center and see a full list of the classes and certificate programs we offer. If you find yourself unemployed or underemployed in light of COVID-19, now might be a great time to learn a new skill. Please contact us with any questions.