9 Steps to Effectively Conduct an Online Class
Conducting an online class is a different experience for educators because the Internet has the capacity to create its own learning environment. The traditional lecture-assessment formula that works well in in-person teaching environments might not work as well here. Instead, a session that focuses on interaction and active participation from the students is likely to keep attention intact. Here are some tips to keep in mind to enhance the effectiveness of online classrooms categorized by before, during & after the session:
1. Alert students in advance
Be sure to schedule the class before time and inform the students well in advance so that they can keep themselves ready. If there is any reading or visual material that the student should have completed before attending the class, make sure that this is communicated too.
Also, instruct students to join the classroom at least 5 minutes prior to the scheduled time of the class to save on settling time.
2. Optimal class strength
An online classroom dynamics are no different from a physical classroom. To keep the classroom lively and interactive, a class strength of lesser than 25 students is recommended. If a larger number of students have to be taught, it is advisable to divide the classroom into smaller chunks and conduct multiple shorter sessions. This way, the teacher can monitor attention and ensure better learning.
3. Have a proper fixed setup
Find a cozy corner in your home to set up your classroom that has adequate lighting and relatively noise-free. Even if you do not have a phone-tripod, set the laptop/ phone in a stable position to minimize distractions from moving camera and mic. Always better to use a headphone with mic attached. The whiteboard and marker, body-mounted microphone, pen pointer are additional tools that are commonly used to make the classroom lecture effective.
During the session
1. Be familiar with the teaching aids available
Use a combination of audio visual aids to ensure that the students are engaged in the class. Sticking to only vocal mode of communication can bore the student. Familiarize yourself with the tools provided by the e-learning platform to share multimedia content.
2. Monitor attention
Use tools like Polls that are available on most e-classroom platforms to present short quizzes to the students. Use them throughout the lecture and make the questions short and fun to answer. You can also use the microphone option to ask questions to specific students. This will make the session interactive, therefore promoting active listening.
3. Time Management
Do not schedule very long sessions like you would in an in-person classroom. Dividing the session into smaller blocks that alternate between lectures and interactive elements is ideal. Use break-rooms to promote discussion. Keep dedicated time post-lecture for doubts and clarifications (Q&A). Preferably use a countdown timer on view to maintain the pace.
1. Collect Feedback
Ask for feedback from the students immediately after the session. The Poll option, chat option or directly voicing out the feedback are good methods of communication. Make sure to consider the feedback for the next session.
2. Communicate what’s next
Make sure to give the students a heads-up about upcoming classes and plans for assessments. Make sure to leave some practice exercises for the students to work on to imbibe what they picked up in class.
Recording the class session and reviewing it is a good practice to identify methods that worked and areas to improve on. This step goes a long way in enhancing your efficiency as a teacher in this new digital world.
Here are some important points to keep in mind while conducting an online class to make sure that the e-classroom is a productive learning space for students. With a certain conscious practice, you will pick up the habits in no time and will make your virtual classes fun and engaging too.
Best wishes for your next virtual classes.