Tips & Considerations
- The typical 3 hour lecture can be exhausting online. Reduce a 3 hr face-to-face lecture to 1 hr or 1.5 hrs live on Zoom. Break up lectures with activities to ensure students remain engaged.
- Consider whether recorded or live lecture delivery is needed. Avoid using all recorded lectures as this can take away from the course experience.
- Review the guide on running a live Zoom lecture session, Zoom’s own guide to teaching on the platform, and Zoom’s best practices for securing your virtual classroom.
- Synchronous lectures will be most familiar to students who are used to face-to-face sessions. Synchronous sessions are good for real-time discussion, answering student questions as they arise and creating a sense of community.
- Keep synchronous activities within the formally scheduled class time. This will help prevent conflicts with other courses.
- Break up synchronous lectures periodically to ensure students are engaged and following along. Provide opportunities for participation, comprehension checks, practice and interaction. Enable small group discussion online using breakout rooms in Zoom, or include Zoom polls. See more tips on blending in-person and online learning
- Even with synchronous lectures, ensure they’re recorded, transcribed and shared via Canvas after the session ends.
- Be sure to obtain permission from all participants before recording any class sessions in Zoom. Remind participants each time a recording is made and let them know what you plan to do with the recording (e.g., post in Canvas, etc).
- Your students might be more spread out geographically, often across multiple time zones. If so, synchronous activities might be harder for students to attend.
- Asynchronous lecturing has its benefits as well, and students often become more open to this format once they’ve had a chance to learn through this style.
- Asynchronous or pre-recorded lectures allow students to engage with the course material more flexibly at their own pace and allow instructors the opportunity to revise and polish delivery.
- Break lecture content into smaller 10 to 20 minute recorded clips interspersed with opportunities for interaction, reflection and practice.
- It can be time-consuming to prepare pre-recorded lectures. Consider where your time is best spent. There may be other readily available resources available that would allow you spend your time on other aspects of the course such as introducing, framing and providing comment on these materials, responding to student questions, moderating discussions etc.
- Intersperse pre-recorded lecture content with additional activities that allow students to engage with the content, with you and with their peers. Possible activities include Canvas discussions forums, break-out room sessions at non-lecture times, student polling, or peer-to-peer discussion and feedback. See the Learning Activities section for more ideas.
- Are there any existing resources (such as Open Educational Resources, etc.) that cover some of the material you normally teach in class? This might save time on lecture delivery of basic concepts so that you can focus on adding your expertise in other areas. Be mindful of copyright rules if uploaded content is not your own. Open educational resources (OER) are a good source of shareable materials which offer more flexible forms of copyright to facilitate the sharing of content.
- Discuss online etiquette and expectations in your first class (e.g., should students virtually ‘raise their hand’ in Zoom before participating?, how should the chat function be used?, etc.) and periodically revisit the topics as needed. Here are some norms to cover with students to get started:
- Enter the classroom with your microphone switched off (note: this can be automatic setting established by the instructor.)
- Turn on your web cam. Even though you are participating remotely, it’s important for the instructor and other students to be able to see you for both attendance and participation purposes. Having the webcam on also promotes better engagement for all.
- Avoid Zooming from a mobile device as the functionality is limited.
- Change your screen view setting to show your full name rather than an email address (this serves as your name card).
- Avoid distracting activities, such as conversing with people in the background, eating or drinking on camera. Ensure the microphone is muted when doing any of these activities and keep them to a minimum.
- To participate, raise your hand using the Zoom tool, wait to be called on, and then unmute before speaking.
- Use the chat function to ask questions during the lecture (note: the chat function can be used in a variety of ways such as promoting participation, so instructors should become familiar with this feature).
- Dress appropriately!
- Here’s a short humorous video that can start the class discussion about Zoom etiquette.