I will start with a session about how to efficiently and politely use the online tools.
In the online lecture last week, I decided to use Zoom’s breakout rooms. The students loved it and I really think it is a great tool to create a private working space for the students. In fact, I think it works even better for the students than my usual in-class group assignments. However, many of the students wasted almost their complete time in trying to figure out tech stuff, like sharing your screen, connecting via laptop and phone, etc.
Another big problem I am facing right now is students not switching on their cameras. When I asked at the beginning of the lectures who has a camera and who doesn’t, all said they have one. But when I ask now to switch them on, at least half of over 30 students simply do not. I tried to explain them that it is simply not polite and not very useful for the lectures – I need also visual feedback how they are doing.
So, in summary, if I ever need to teach fully online again, I will start with a session on advanced tool usage and what we call netiquette – how to behave politely and efficiently in online lectures. More concretely, these should include:
- Switch on your camera, position it correctly
- Switch off your microphone, unless you want to say something
- Put your full name
- Use the “raise hand” and other available buttons
- Use the breakout rooms, call for help, return back to main room and back to breakout room
- Use the chat
- Share your screen
- Connect with two devices: your laptop and your phone, share the screen of your laptop
- Use polls
Of course, this is very Zoom-centric. However, most of the video conferencing tools have now one or more of these features, which are indeed very useful. If you want to use some additional tools, it is even more important to practice them before (e.g. for polling).