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Tips for Virtual Class Sessions
Web conferencing systems like Wimba Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate, or Adobe Connect are powerful tools for live, synchronous communication online. However, delivering a virtual lecture or facilitating a live online discussion can feel like learning to drive a stick-shift car. Managing content, students, and software simultaneously can be overwhelming.
Below is a list of tips and recommended best practices for leading successful virtual class sessions. Please feel free to add your tip(s) to the list!
Give students the date as early as possible
Make the link easy to find in your course
Provide a time for students to test their system ahead of time
Use a large, bold, simple font
Have no more than 4 to 6 bullets per slide
Use plain backgrounds that contrast well with the text
Do not use animations
Use slides to guide discussion (even if you do not present information)
Run the set up wizard
Test your presentation ahead of time
Turn off anything with notifications, like Email, Skype, or Instant Messaging
Dim or turn off any lighting behind you
Use overhead lighting or lighting behind the web cam
Remove distracting décor from behind you
Post “Do Not Disturb” notices
Turn off phone ringer
Dress like a news anchor
Wear Darker or muted colors (no whites, pastels, or bright colors). Wear solid colors or simple patterns
Consider writing a script for your presentation
Practice your presentation in the web conferencing tool, including all features
Delivering the Session
Join the session early (20-30 minutes)
Post a welcome page
Greet students as they enter
Encourage students to test their microphone before the session begins
Use the timer, if one is available, to count down to the start of your session
Set a reminder to begin the session archive
Speak slowly and clearly
Look into the camera, not at your slides
Avoid quick movement
Repeat text chat questions and comments for the archive
Ask students to raise their hand to speak
Have students introduce themselves when they begin speaking
Turn off your microphone when a student is talking to avoid feedback
Use a second monitor for application sharing so that you can still monitor the text chat
Take time to stop and ask questions
Use features like polls or breakout rooms to encourage students to actively participate
Start simple and add more features as you become more comfortable
Don't let distractions fluster you
Leave time for questions
Have a solid exit line so that students know they can close the session
Plan to stay 15 minutes after the end for individual questions
Provide a summary at the end of the session
If you've shared a tip above, please add your name, institution, and email address to the list below so that we can publicly acknowledge your contribution. Thank you for sharing your tips!
Stephanie Richter, Northern Illinois University,
help on how to format text
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